Four New Bills Promoting Animal Welfare Pass into Law



Four New Bills Promoting Animal Welfare Pass into Law

AUSTIN, Texas – On June 18, four historic animal welfare bills passed into law. During this legislative session, the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN) pushed for all four bills: SB 876, HB 4164, HB 3660, and HB 598

“As the only Texas-based, Texas-funded animal protection advocacy group that has been working across the state for decades, this session has been incredible for animals, the people that love them, and our communities,” said Shelby Bobosky, Executive Director of THLN. “Texas has effectuated change for thousands of animals with the passage of four major bills, and we could not be more thankful to the authors, advocates, and legislators in both chambers who dedicated themselves to promoting animal welfare in Texas.”

The four bills are as follows: 
-SB 876 by Senators Flores and Whitmire and Representative Buckley reforms and strengthens the Texas Licensed Breeders Program and will halt puppy mills across the state. 
Effective September 1, 2023.

-HB 4164 by Representative Cortez and Senator Whitmire defines a service animal as one specially trained to assist a person with a disability. The law also increases the fine for masquerading an untrained pet as a service animal from $300 to $1000, and fraudsters might face 30 hours of community service for organizations serving persons with disabilities.
Effective September 1, 2023.

-HB 3660 by Representative Vasut Senator Zaffirini, filed in response to a request for Attorney General opinion in Brazoria County, was passed to ensure that Trap-Neuter-Return programs could not be deemed “reckless abandonment” with criminal charges. T-N-R programs control feral cat populations through spay/neuter, improve health via vaccinations, and prevent unnecessary euthanizing of the animals.  
Effective immediately. 

-HB 598 by Representative Shaheen and Senate Sponsor Whitmire prevents previous perpetrators of animal cruelty from possessing a companion animal and establishes an enhanced offense for repeat offenders to prevent future violence.
Effective September 1, 2023.

“THLN was instrumental in passing the Animal Cruelty Bill in 1997, then strengthening it four more times,” said Bobosky. “In 2017, THLN led a successful effort to strengthen our state’s animal cruelty law, considered one of the most effective animal cruelty laws in the United States. 2023 only continued years of momentum.”

“Texans should be proud of this progress and view it optimistically as an example of what’s to come in the next few years. Improving the lives of animals and where they reside should be a priority for all of us, and this session and the Texas Legislature agreed,” concluded Bobosky. 

To learn more or to schedule an interview, contact Cara Gustafson at 561-797-8267 or [email protected]


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