GUEST COLUMN: Abbott’s reasons for vetoing dog legislation were clear

Originally Featured in The Lufkin Daily News


The “Doggone Shame” article was dead wrong — claiming the only opposition to SB 474 was from “dog fighters and unscrupulous breeders who are making campaign donations under the table.”

Be assured that our organization is none of the above and it’s ridiculous to insinuate that Gov. Greg Abbott was “taking campaign donations under the table” for his veto. His reasons are quite clear and show that he is well aware of the radical “Animal Rights Agenda” to end all use, breeding, sales and ownership of animals for any reason, including pet ownership. A meatless and petless society. No interaction with animals, no Texas rodeo, circus, zoo, etc.

The loss of the governor’s beloved 13-year-old Border Collie “Oreo” was surely painful and we were delighted when he adopted a Golden Retriever puppy named “Pancake” to become a member of his family. Since the “Animal Rights” Movement is opposed to purposeful breeding animals for any reason, these purebred dogs would never have been born. The #AbbottHatesDogs is really a low blow.

Abbott’s reasons for his veto were clear: “Texans love their dogs, so it is no surprise that our statutes already protect them by outlawing true animal cruelty. Yet SB 474 would compel every dog owner, on pain of criminal penalties, to monitor things like the tailoring of the dog’s collar, the time the dog spends in the bed of a truck, and the ratio of tether-to-dog length, as measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. Texas is no place for this kind of micro-managing and over­criminalization.”

SB 474 is redundant as tethered dogs are already regulated locally by all major Texas cities and statewide by Texas Penal Code 42.092 Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals which defines “Necessary food, water, care, or shelter:” as including food, water, care or shelter provided to the extent required to maintain the animal in a state of good health.

There has been a “Tethering Law” on the books for many years; deemed “unenforceable” by all municipalities immediately upon passage. Guess who wrote it? Texas Humane Legislation Network. Their bills are always multiple pages of gibberish “micro-managing and over-criminalization of animal use” as Abbott pointed out. SB 474’s Criminal Justice Impact Statement says “This bill creates a criminal offense, and increases the punishment for an existing criminal offense.” All of these extremist bills originate in California and migrate to other states.

Under the guise of animal welfare, SB 474 regulates “Outdoor and Unattended” Dogs and will have many unintentional consequences for rural and low-income dog owners. Advanced dog obedience training and participating in competitions could require leaving a dog tethered unattended for an indeterminate time, and is required by many disciplines — service dogs, drug-sniffing dogs, military dogs, medical assistance dogs, and rescue dogs.

Former HSUS president Wayne Pacelle has clearly articulated: “One generation and out. We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals — creations of human selective breeding.” See for more quotes.

Every legislative session we meet and oppose these extremist groups in Austin: Humane Society of United States, their Texas partner “Texas Humane Legislation Network,” PETA, Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), ASPCA, and numerous small spin-off vegan groups. ALDF has attempted to establish “personhood” for animals in our courts for 30 years — giving animals legal rights equal to humans — and equates pet ownership by humans to “slavery.” Rhode Island passed a state law declaring pet “owners” to only be “pet guardians,” taking away the ability to love and protect our pets from all harm. Pets are legally our property, but it’s a constant battle.

Ingrid Newkirk: (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) says: “For one thing we would no longer allow breeding. People could not create different breeds. If people had companion animals in their homes, these animals would have to be refugees from the animal shelter and the streets ... But as the surplus of cats and dogs declined, eventually companion animals would be phased out and we would return to a more symbiotic relationship — enjoyment at a distance.”

“Transforming America” is not only about cow farts. It’s our pets. THLN says they will be back next session for their fifth attempt to get this onerous bill passed and will never give up. Nor will Responsible Pet Owners Alliance. Please join us.

Mary Beth Duerler is the executive director of the Responsible Pet Owners Alliance, an animal welfare organization formed to promote and preserve the human/animal bond and our historic working relationship with animals.

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