- Animals that are held in the "stray hold" area in a shelter are not allowed to be viewed or photographed by the public. Is this a violation of rights, under Section 1983?
- What is the Texas Humane Legislation Network?
- What do we do?
- What does it mean that we are a 501(c)(4) nonprofit?
- Do we have the authority to seize animals in distress?
- Can we remove animals from hoarding situations?
- Can we assist with emergency animal evacuations?
- How do I report animal cruelty?
- How do I report dog fighting?
- What is a puppy mill?
- What is a large scale commercial breeder?
- How do I report a puppy mill?
- Does the Texas Humane Legislation Network provide spay/neuter services?
- Is the Texas Humane Legislation Network No-Kill?
- What are the current Texas Animal Laws?
- How can I find my legislators?
Animals that are held in the "stray hold" area in a shelter are not allowed to be viewed or photographed by the public. Is this a violation of rights, under Section 1983?
USC §1983 prohibits a governmental entity (including a city animal shelter) from depriving a citizen of a constitutional right. Federal courts have held that it is a violation of the right of free speech for a shelter to prohibit a person who has gone into a shelter from taking or publishing photos of shelter conditions because this is the same as commenting on shelter conditions which is a form of speech. The courts have held that a shelter may also not prohibit a person who has published photos from going back into the shelter again because this is retaliation for the person’s exercise of the right of free speech. These cases dealt people who have gone inside a shelter. However, we are unaware of any court holding that an animal shelter is required to admit the public into the shelter. In other words, members of the public do not have a constitutional right to go inside an animal shelter. But once a person is inside a shelter he or she may not be prohibited from taking photos or videos. And the shelter may not selectively exclude people who have taken photos and published them in the past from going back inside the shelter. Under existing case law we think it would be a violation of Section 1983 to prohibit people from bringing cameras or cell phones inside an animal shelter if the public is allowed to go inside the shelter. As a practical matter, it would take a civil rights lawsuit under Section 1983 to force a shelter to allow admission to a shelter and the taking of photographs.
We are a grassroots, nonprofit animal welfare organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals through legislation, education and advocacy. Since 1975, we have returned to the Texas Capitol each legislative session to pass good bills for animals, and defeat bad ones. Click here to see our Legislative Victories.
Our primary focus is lobbying for animal protection at the Texas Legislature. In addition, we do educational outreach to inform the public about animal welfare issues. We also evaluate legislators on their voting records, and endorse political candidates who show themselves to be strong on animal welfare issues.
As a 501(c)(4), we are unique in that we are able to act as a political voice for animals across Texas. This allows us to engage in unlimited lobbying as it relates to animal welfare. Please note, because we are a lobbying organization, contributions to the Texas Humane Legislation Network are not tax deductible.
No, we do not have law enforcement powers, therefore we cannot seize animals. If you believe an animal is being abused or neglected, report the situation to your local law enforcement or municipal animal services agency as soon as possible.
No, we do not have the legal authority, equipment or personnel required to remove animals from hoarders. If you believe animals are being hoarded, report the situation to your local law enforcement or municipal animal services agency as soon as possible.
No, we do not have the equipment or personnel necessary to assist animals during natural disasters or other emergencies. For assistance with emergency animal evacuations, contact your local first responders, municipal animal services agency or humane society as soon as possible.
If you believe animal cruelty is taking place, or has taken place, contact local law enforcement as soon as possible. Be prepared to give details regarding the location, type of animal(s), and date(s) involved.
A puppy mill is a commercial dog breeding operation where profit takes priority over the health and well-being of the breeding animals and their offspring. Typically, but not always, puppy mills are large scale operations closed to the public. Since the passage of HB 1451, large scale commercial dog breeders (as well as large scale commercial cat breeders) operating in Texas must obtain a license, maintain a standard of care for their animals, and pass periodic inspections. Prior to HB 1451, there was no state law regulating such facilities; thus conditions and treatment of the animals used for breeding in these operations went sight unseen.
We do not provide spay or neuter services. Since the passage of HB 3250 - commonly known as the Animal Friendly License plate fund - money from the sale of those vanity license plates fund spay/neuter programs across Texas. For more information on affordable spay/neuter programs in Texas, go here.
As a practical matter, since we do not operate a shelter, we are not in a position to make decisions regarding the euthanasia of individual animals. From a philosophical standpoint, we believe it is important to work with stakeholders who hold a variety of viewpoints, including shelter managers, animal control officers, rescue groups and veterinarians in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for shelter pets. While some stakeholders have incorporated the term “No-Kill” into their name and branding, others engaged in the same efforts have not while achieving the same results. We are less concerned about the specific name a stakeholder goes by, and more concerned about achieving real protections for shelter pets.