Dear THLN Members-
The 83rd Texas Legislative Session is drawing to an end and we wanted to give you the latest update as of May 10, 2013.
HB 279 - Relating to the penalty for theft of a pet ("Pet Theft Bill"). This bill elevates the theft of a pet to a state jail felony, regardless of the value of the pet. THIS BILL DIED IN THE HOUSE CRIMINAL JURISPRUDENCE COMMITTEE. THLN's Position: SUPPORT.
HB 297 - Relating to appeals regarding dangerous dogs ("Dangerous Dog Appeal Bill"). This bill provides an appeal to dangerous dog determinations notwithstanding municipal ordinances to a district court or a county court at law from a municipal court, and providing for a jury trial. THIS BILL DIED IN THE HOUSE COUNTY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE. THLN's Position: SUPPORT.
HB 852 - Relating to the sale and purchase of shark fins or products derived from shark fins; creating an offense ("Shark Fining Bill"). This bill prohibits a person from possessing, selling, offering for sale, trading, purchasing, or transporting a shark fin. THIS BILL PASSED THE HOUSE AND IS CURRENTLY PENDING IN THE SENATE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE. THLN's Position: SUPPORT.
HB 1015 - Relating to the regulation of big cats and nonhuman primates; providing penalties ("HSUS Dangerous Wild Animal Bill"). This bill prohibits ownership of big cats and primates in counties of more than 75,000, as well as it grandfathers in owners as of September 1, 2013, among other exceptions. THIS BILL DIED IN THE HOUSE CULTURE, RECREATION & TOURISM COMMITTEE. THLN's Position: SUPPORT.
HB 1449 - Relating to licensing and regulation of dog and cat dealers; providing penalties and imposing fees ("Dog and Cat Dealers Bill"). This bill establishes a program for the licensing and regulation of retail dealers who sell dogs and cats. THIS BILL DIED IN THE HOUSE LICENSING & ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES COMMITTEE. THLN's Position: OPPOSE.
HB 2434 - Relating to prohibiting introduction or distribution of certain records of field trials or the process of hunting or catching wildlife; providing a civil remedy and creating an offense. This bill would allow a landowner to sue a person in civil court if that person films or records anyone who is lawfully engaged in field trials, hunting, or catching wildlife on the landowner's property. It also provides that that person could face a Class B misdemeanor with punishment of jail time up to six months and a fine up to $5,000 or both. This bill is similar to the so-called "Ag Gag" bills that are being considered throughout many other states. THIS BILL DIED IN THE HOUSE CALENDARS COMMITTEE. THLN's Position: OPPOSE.
HB 2471 - Relating to the exception of certain information related to the humane disposition by a local government of an unclaimed stray animal from required disclosure under the public information law. ("Exempting Adoption Records Bill"). Except in certain circumstances, this bill would require that the personal information (such as name, address, telephone, email, etc.) of a person who takes ownership of an unclaimed stray animal from a local government animal shelter remain confidential. THIS BILL DIED ON THE HOUSE FLOOR WHEN TIME RAN OUT ON THE LAST DAY FOR VOTING ON HOUSE BILLS. THLN's Position: SUPPORT.
HB 2981 - Relating to the procedures and duties of animal shelters and rescue organizations; providing penalties ("The Shelter Access Bill"). This bill establishes certain housing standards for animals in shelters and prohibits animal shelter adoption discrimination by age, breed, type, mix, appearance or size. It also allows shelters to transfer animals to rescues before the hold period is up, provisions for caring for un-weaned animals, and notification procedures to rescue organizations when animals are to be euthanized. It also provides for various reporting procedures. THIS BILL DIED IN THE HOUSE CALENDARS COMMITTEE. THLN's Position: THLN REMAINED NEUTRAL ON THIS BILL AND BELIEVES THE DIFFERENCES IN THE BILL BETWEEN THE PROPONENTS AND THE OPPONENTS SHOULD BE RESOLVED BY THOSE STAKEHOLDERS, NAMELY THE RESCUE ORGANIZATIONS AND THE MUNICIPAL ANIMAL SHELTERS.
HB 3748 - Relating to the costs associated with proceedings regarding cruelly treated animals; authorizing fees and costs ("The Cruelty Costs Bill"). This bill allows courts to order a person found to have cruelly treated his animal(s) to pay the county or municipality's attorney's fees. THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE HOUSE AND IS CURRENTLY PENDING IN THE SENATE CRIMINAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE. THLN's Position: SUPPORT.
THLN BILL: SB 360 - Relating to methods used by an animal shelter to euthanize a dog or cat ("The Gassing Bill"). This bill prohibits the use of the gas chamber as a method of euthanasia in shelters, requiring euthanasia by injection on shelter dogs and cats. THE BILL PASSED BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE AND WAS SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR ON MAY 10, 2013.
SB 408 - Relating to the confidentiality of certain complaints to and investigations by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation ("TDLR Confidentiality Bill"). This bill would make complaints or an investigation against a person conducted by Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation confidential until the filing of formal proceedings. THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE SENATE AND IS CURRENTLY PENDING IN THE HOUSE LICENSING & ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES COMMITTEE. THLN's Position: SUPPORT.
SB 555 - Relating to provisions in protective orders regarding pets and other companion animals; providing a penalty. ("Pets in Protective Order Bill"). This bill would technically fix the current law to add "actual or constructive care" to "possession" so that the county attorneys will enforce the law. THIS BILL HAS PASSED THE SENATE AND IS CURRENTLY PENDING IN THE HOUSE JUDICIARY & CIVIL JURISPRUDENCE COMMITTEE. THLN's Position: SUPPORT.
THLN BILL: SB 654 - Relating to the enforcement of water conservation and animal care and control ordinances of a municipality by civil action or quasi-judicial enforcement; providing civil penalties ("The Dallas Civil Enforcement Bill"). This bill allows municipalities to bring civil actions to enforce "animal care" and "water conservation measures" ordinances through quasi-judiciary courts. THIS BILL HAS PASSED BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE AND IS BEING SENT TO THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE FOR HIS SIGNATURE.
SB 1358 - Relating to animal encounter training for peace officers ("The Peace Officer/Animal Training Bill"). This bill would make animal encounter training mandatory for peace officers due to the high number of dog shootings in Texas in recent years. THIS BILL IS PENDING IN THE SENATE CRIMINAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE. THLN's Position: SUPPORTSB 1395 - Relating to the regulation of dangerous wild animals ("The Estes/Larsen Dangerous Wild Animal Bill"). This bill provides additional exemptions to the Dangerous Wild Animal Act for members of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, the American Sanctuary Association or the Zoological Association of America. THIS BILL IS IN THE HOUSE CALENDARS COMMITTEE WHICH WILL DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT IT GETS A FLOOR VOTE. THLN's Position: OPPOSE.
We want to thank each and every one of our members for their continued efforts and support this session. The letters, the calls, the personal visits have made a world of difference this session. We would also like to thank the THLN Central Texas Chapter, especially Stacy Kerby, President, for being our boots on the ground supporters and always attending hearings and signing cards. We will continue to keep you apprised of these bills throughout the session.
This mid-session report update is current as of 05/10 but, as you know, during the session things change hourly. Bills can always be checked on www.capitol.state.tx.us/.
Skip Trimble and Shelby Bobosky
THLN Legislative Co-Chairs
Help animals today by speaking up and improving Texas animal laws!
Bill No. HB 858
Bill No. SB 360