New law will prevent people with animal cruelty convictions from owning pets

Originally Published by: KTRE
Published on: 
August 17, 2023
Written By: Tyre White

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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - A new law will make it illegal for people with animal cruelty convictions to have a pet or live in a house with a pet for at least five years.

Offenses include dogfighting, cockfighting, attacking an assistance animal, or cruelty to a non-livestock animal. Executive director of the non-profit animal shelter SPCA, Ron Hornsby, said this law will change how they screen adopters.

“We’ll be asking in our applications, have you ever been convicted of animal cruelty or an offense relating to it, and hopefully, we can reduce those individuals who may want to adopt through us.”

The first violation of this law will result in a class C misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine. A repeated offense will be a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000.

Hornsby believes the law can keep animals out of the wrong hands.

“So you have a lot more work to do to try and weed out undesirables so we can ensure we still get the right homes for those animals.”

Despite the extra work, Hornsby said animal protection laws in Texas are heading in the right direction.

I do think it is a good right step, moving forward, for the safety and protection of animals, absolutely without a question, and hopefully, we get a few more like that as well.”

HB 598 will go into effect on September 1.