Karen Rankin

  • Webinar Update on New Laws and Service & Emotional Support Animals

    Animal Law Expert and Animal Lawyer Randy Turner gives an update on changes to laws and service animals and emotional support animals.  

    Under Texas law and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), people with disabilities may bring their service animals to all public accommodations, such as government buildings, hotels, restaurants, stadiums, and stores. These laws also require those who operate transportation services to allow service animals. But recent trends show confusion with emotional support animals and the varying definitions.

    When you RSVP, you will automatically land on a page with the webinar. 

    WHEN
    June 01, 2028 at 6pm
    rsvp

  • Katy Pet Store Accused of Sourcing Puppies from 'Horrible Hundred' Puppy Mills

    Houston Chronicle, May 17, 2021

    Katy Petland, a pet store that sells puppies, is under fire from the Humane Society of the United States for selling puppies from puppy mills rife with cruelty allegations.

    The HSUS issues its "Horrible Hundred" report each year of puppy mills that operate under "gruesome conditions" and identifies the pet stores that bought puppies from those puppy mills. This year's report released May 10, accuses Petland stores of purchasing and then reselling the animals bred under inhumane conditions.

    "The annual Horrible Hundred report provides a sampling of problem puppy mills and puppy brokers based on state and federal inspection records, complaints from the public, and undercover investigation findings,'' said Kristen Peek, media relations for HSUS. "This year's report uncovers dogs suffering across the country in puppy mills, many of which are licensed and all of which are still in business despite years of animal care violations, including citations for injured and emaciated dogs, dogs and puppies exposed to extreme weather, and dogs found living in filthy and miserable conditions."

    The pandemic made conditions even worse for the animals, said John Goodwin, senior director of HSUS's Stop Puppy Mills campaign. "While the USDA paused many of their in-person inspections during the pandemic, dogs were left more at risk than ever," he said. "Public records and our undercover work show that Petland and other pet stores continue to buy commercial breeding operations where dogs languish in miserable conditions."

    Elizabeth Kunzelman, media relations for Petland, refuted the HSUS' claims that the corporation purchased puppies from puppy mills.

    "Every year, the Washington D.C. fundraising giant, Humane Society of the United States -not to be confused with your local Humane Society or shelter- publishes this highly exaggerated report of allegations without ever having stepped foot in most of these kennels," she countered. "In fact, in their own report, they acknowledge that they were not actually on site."

    Kunzelman said that when HSUS issued its report, Petland began conducting an internal study to make sure their puppies were sourced from humane breeders.

    "In order to target Petland, HSUS sprinkles in some good breeders with misrepresented information to make them all appear negligent," she said. "HSUS alleges eight of the 100 breeders listed are linked to Petland, and some of the suggested links are questionable and/or outdated at best. Additionally, much of the information provided goes back more than seven years with no violations since. The 70-page report is rife with misinformation and false statements about Petland."

    Kunzelman accused the HSUS of making claims against Petland despite not having visited all the breeders in question. "Unlike HSUS, at Petland we actually visit breeders and work with them on their continuous education programs," she said. "At Petland, we care about where American families will obtain their next pet and we support responsible American breeders."

    Goodwin argued that the numbers spoke for themselves, adding that Petland is the only national chain retailer that still sells puppies from mass breeders.

    "Dozens of pet stores across the country, including at least 21 Petland stores, purchased puppies from dealers in this year's report," he said. "This flies in the face of Petland's claim that they only purchase from top quality breeders."

    Local animal advocacy groups rallied behind the HSUS' findings, stating that the report is further proof of the proliferation of cruelty in puppy mills.

    Houston PetSet, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to alleviating the homelessness and suffering of Houston's companion animals, is currently backing legislation that would issue more stringent reporting practices for puppy retailers like Petland.

    House Bill 1818 would require Petland to maintain thorough documents regarding the source of the puppies and submit to regular inspections by animal services.

    "Animal homelessness is a crisis in our community and HB 1818 would alleviate some of the burdens that local rescues and shelters are currently shouldering," said Tena Lundquist Faust, Co-President of Houston PetSet. "Not only would this bill prevent both humans and their pets from unnecessary suffering, it would also prevent the unnecessary euthanization of otherwise unwanted animals. In Texas, more than 100,000 animals are put down every year, and HB 1818 could help bring that number down significantly."

    [email protected]


  • Safe Outdoor Dogs Bill Passes Out of Texas House and Senate

    SB 474 clarifies existing law and establishes basic standards of shelter and care for dogs restrained outdoors.

    May 19, 2021

    Austin, Texas – The Texas Legislature has passed SB 474 by Chair Nicole Collier (D-Dallas) and Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville) out of both chambers. A top legislative priority for the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN), the Safe Outdoor Dogs bill will establish basic standards of shelter and care for dogs left outdoors and provide much-needed clarification to existing law to promote the safety of animals and the people around them.

    "Our Texas legislators are taking a critical step toward protecting outdoor dogs and improving public safety, while still respecting the freedoms of Texas dog owners," said Stacy Sutton Kerby, Director of Government Relations for THLN. "We are thrilled and so thankful for both the authors and the over 90 joint-authors and co-authors."

    The legislation also ensures dogs have access to drinkable water and can move around without being trapped in standing water or any other dangerous substance. Along with preventing exposure to extreme weather, the legislation strikes the 24-hour waiting period in the current statute. This will allow law enforcement to address critical situations immediately before tragedy happens. 

    The bill also includes key exemptions for dogs restrained in public places like parks and campgrounds, those used for farming, field trials, and hunting tasks, dogs restrained on a trolley system, and those temporarily unattended in an open-air truck bed. 

    "We are so thankful to Chair Collier and Senator Lucio for their tireless leadership on the Safe Outdoor Dogs bill and for all the Texans who reached out to their legislators urging them to protect Texas dogs and the people around them," finished Kerby. 

    To learn more or to schedule an interview about the Safe Outdoor Dogs bill, contact Cara Gustafson at 561-797-8267 or [email protected]

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  • CALL TO ACTION: We need ALL Capitol Crusaders in the Austin area to come to the Capitol to support HB 1818!

     

    The Senate Committee on Business & Commerce will have a hearing on HB 1818 tomorrow morning (5/18), and we need to show as much support as possible for this bill! Please sign a card at the kiosk if you can - no need to stay for the hearing. 

     

    WHEN: Tuesday, May 18, between 7 AM to 8 AM ONLY

         

    WHERE: Kiosk outside the Senate Chamber on the 2nd floor of the Capitol. Do not go in the Senate Chamber. If you wish to stay for the hearing, please go to the 3rd floor Senate Gallery to watch the hearing. 

     

    WHAT DOES HB 1818 DO? It will BAN the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores.

         
         

    PARKING:Free public parking at 1201 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX 78701. The first two hours are free.

      COVID PROTOCOLS: Masks are advised but not required in the Capitol building. If you are signing in to support HB 1818 at the kiosk and do not plan to stay and watch the hearing, you won't need "proof" of being COVID-19 free. If you plan to go into the Senate Gallery to watch, be prepared to show COVID-free proof (vaccine card or the bracelet given at the COVID testing tents) if they ask.

  • HB 1818 Passes House, Becomes One Step Closer to Stopping Puppy Mill Sales in Texas

    Under the strong leadership of Rep. Patterson, the bill would create a civil penalty for pet stores selling puppies and kittens from puppy mills.

    April 28, 2021

    AUSTIN, Texas -- Today, the Texas House passed HB 1818, which would help stop the pipeline of puppy mill animals to retail pet stores in Texas. A top legislative priority for the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN), HB 1818 would require pet stores to source animals from local animal control agencies, animal shelters, and rescue organizations.

    "Currently, we see hundreds of Texans every year purchase animals who are sick, make their families sick, and cost them thousands of dollars in vet bills or balloon payments to retail pet stores," said Shelby Bobosky, Executive Director of THLN. "HB 1818 would protect consumers from unknowingly purchasing sick and ill-bred puppies and kittens, while also cracking down on cruel puppy mill practices."

    The majority of retail pet stores source their animals from out of state and many from puppy mill breeders. Currently, pet stores have no specific regulatory requirements beyond local ordinances, and often do not provide the health or vaccination history of an animal to its new owner. However, municipal shelters and nonprofit rescues must disclose this information per state law, providing the new owner with a more transparent process and overall healthier animal.

    The bill would not affect licensed, legitimate breeders, as only 4% sell their animals through retail pet stores. It would also not affect counties with a population of less than 200,000 as smaller communities may not have the number of animals needed to supply retail pet stores. 

    "In closing, we want to extend a huge thank you to Representative Patterson for his hard work on HB 1818 and his dedication to Texas animals."

    For additional information, visit thln.org or contact Cara Gustafson at 561-797-8267 or [email protected] 

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  • Safe Outdoor Dogs Legislation Passes 4-0 Out of Senate Committee on Criminal Justice

    SB 474 would clarify existing law and establish basic standards of shelter and care for dogs restrained outdoors.

    April 14, 2021

    Austin, Texas – Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice passed SB 474 by Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) on a vote of 4 to 0. A top legislative priority for the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN), SB 474 would establish basic standards of shelter and care for dogs left outdoors and provide much-needed clarification to existing law to promote the safety of animals and the people around them.

    "Yesterday's vote is a critical step toward protecting outdoor dogs, improving public safety, and still respecting the freedoms of Texas dog owners," said Stacy Sutton Kerby, Director of Government Relations for THLN. "We are grateful to Chair John Whitmire and the members of the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice for their support on this important legislative issue."

    The legislation also ensures dogs have access to drinkable water and can move around without being trapped in standing water or any other dangerous substance. Along with preventing exposure to extreme weather, the legislation strikes the 24-hour waiting period in the current statute. This will allow law enforcement to address critical situations immediately, before tragedy strikes. 

    The bill also includes key exemptions to respect dog owners' choices and the variety of ways in which dogs accompany Texans outdoors. Exemptions include dogs restrained in public places like parks and campgrounds, those used for farming, field trials, hunting tasks, dogs restrained on a trolley system, and those temporarily unattended in an open-air truck bed. 

    "We thank Senator Lucio for his leadership on the Safe Outdoor Dogs bill, and we look forward to continuing moving through the legislative process, where we already see strong, bipartisan support," finished Kerby. 

    To learn more or schedule an interview about Safe Outdoor Dogs legislation, contact Cara Gustafson at 561-797-8267 or [email protected] 

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  • Letter to the Editor: Protect Dogs and People

    From The Dallas Morning News, March 22, 2021

    The Texas Legislature must pass HB 873 by Rep. Nicole Collier of Fort Worth to protect dogs kept outdoors and the public around them. The legislation ensures dogs have adequate shelter from extreme temperatures and access to drinking water and can move around without being trapped in standing water.

    As an animal cruelty investigator, I have seen firsthand the danger inhumanely restrained dogs pose, often to unsuspecting children. These dogs suffer from behavioral problems and become aggressive when unable to retreat from perceived threats. HB 873 will fix the current, broken law, allow law enforcement to intervene in dangerous situations, and protect Texans and Texas animals.

    Monica Ailey, Fort Worth
    President, Animal Investigation & Response


  • Letter to the Editor: Safe for Them, Safe for Us

    From The Pittsburg Gazette, April 1, 2021

    Last month's bitter winter weather sadly claimed the lives of hundreds of Texas Dogs. These dogs perished un­necessarily in the storm. As a volunteer for Texas Humane Legislation Network, we received many phone calls and pictures from across Texas of dogs freezing and dying. One picture imprinted on my mind is of one such dog in our own Camp County. The dog was chained outside without shelter. It's unfathomable to suffer freezing to death. Most importantly, from a human safety perspective, dogs living on the end of a chain are more aggressive and unpredictable. Children have been attacked and some fatally injured by their family dog who lived chained outside.

    I want to tell you about an important way you can help make our community safer while helping Tex­as dogs in 2021. Help make our community Safe for Them, Safe for Us. I'm asking for your support of HB 873 & SB 474, The Safe Outdoor Dogs Bill, which will hopefully be voted on and passed during this current legislative session.

    Among other things, this bill strikes the current mandatory 24-hour waiting period required by the current state statute. In effect, it will allow Ani­mal Control Officers and Law Enforcement to immediately remove a dog from a perilous situation. To me, that is HUGE!

    The bill also defines shelter for dogs on restraints so that now Law Enforcement, Animal Control Officers, owners, and judges can now define shelter. Without this bill, shelter remains with no definition, and some judges rule that a broken, wet doghouse is "adequate shelter."

    Because you are a citizen who cares about the wel­fare of our animals and the safety of our communities, your support of this bill would certainly be impactful to our local representatives. PLEASE call or email to­day and be the voice for those who have no voice. Ask our representatives for their UNWAVERING support of HB 873 and SB 474. Call now, Legislation is in session. Five minutes of your time could save lives.

    Your Representative is Cole Hefner, reach him at [email protected] or 512-463-0271.

    Your Senator is Bryan Hughes, reach him at [email protected] or 512-463-0101.

    "I'm not telling you it is going to be easy; I'm telling you it's going to be worth it." -unknown

    Rhonda Braudis, Legislative Ambassador, THLN


  • Safe Outdoor Dogs Legislation Passes 7-2 Out of House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee

    Safe Outdoor Dogs Legislation Passes 7-2 Out of House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
    HB 873 would clarify existing law and establish basic standards of shelter and care for dogs restrained outdoors.

    March 23, 2021

    Austin, Texas – Yesterday, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee passed HB 873 by Chair Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth) on a vote of 7 to 2. A top legislative priority for the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN), HB 873 would establish basic standards of shelter and care for dogs left outdoors, and provide much-needed clarification to existing law to promote the safety of animals and the people around them.

    "Yesterday's vote is a critical step toward protecting outdoor dogs, improving public safety, and still respecting the freedoms of Texas dog owners," said Shelby Bobosky, Executive Director of THLN. "We are grateful to the members of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee for their support on this important legislative issue."

    The legislation also ensures dogs have access to drinkable water and can move around without being trapped in standing water or any other dangerous substance. Along with preventing exposure to extreme weather, the legislation strikes the 24-hour waiting period in the current statute. This will allow law enforcement to address critical situations immediately, before tragedy strikes. 

    The bill also includes key exemptions to respect the choices of dog owners and the variety of ways in which dogs accompany Texans outdoors. Exemptions include dogs restrained in public places like parks and campgrounds, those used for farming, field trials, and hunting tasks, dogs restrained on a trolley system and those temporarily unattended in an open-air truck bed. 

    "We thank Chair Collier for her leadership on the Safe Outdoor Dogs bill and we look forward to seeing it move through the legislative process, where we are already seeing strong, bipartisan support," finished Bobosky. 

    The bill will now be considered by the Calendars Committee before it would move to a vote on the House floor and ultimately over to the Senate.

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

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  • Safe Outdoor Dogs Legislation to Be Heard in House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Today

    Safe Outdoor Dogs Legislation to Be Heard in House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Today
    HB 873 would have prevented unnecessary deaths in recent winter storm

    March 8, 2021

    Austin, Texas – Today, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee is hearing HB 873 by Chair Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth). HB 873 includes key elements to protect dogs, including from extreme outdoor temperatures, which could have prevented unnecessary deaths during last month's winter storm. The legislation would establish basic standards of shelter and care for dogs left outdoors, and provide much-needed clarification to existing law to promote the safety of animals and their surrounding communities.

    "We received hundreds of calls, texts, and emails as the temperature dropped last month, including reports of dogs freezing and dying," said Shelby Bobosky, Executive Director of THLN. "Our Safe Outdoor Dogs bill would have prevented many of these unnecessary deaths and would have made it easier to intervene in life-threatening situations."

    Along with preventing exposure to extreme temperature, the legislation also ensures dogs have access to drinking water and can move around without being trapped in standing water or mud. The legislation strikes the 24-hour waiting period in the current statute so that law enforcement can address critical situations immediately, instead of only after tragedy has struck. 

    "We are very thankful to Chair Collier for filing and supporting the Safe Outdoor Dogs bill. As seen in last month's tragedy, it is not enough to provide temporary fixes like free dog houses. We must clarify the law to require adequate shelter," said Bobosky. "As summer approaches and we prepare for extreme heat conditions, HB 873 could help prevent future death without infringing upon the freedom of Texas dog owners."

    If the bill is voted out of committee, it will move to the Calendars Committee to be scheduled for consideration by the House floor.

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

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  • Webinar Wednesday: A Deep Dive into Texas Animal Bills

    PRESENTER: Jaime Olin

    With so many bills filed each session, it can be difficult to know which ones really matter, and how they will impact Texas animals if passed. This webinar will explore several key pieces of legislation that will be at the Capitol in 2021, including the Safe Outdoor Dogs bill, the Licensed Breeders Program, the Working Animals bill, and the Possession Ban bill. We’ll talk about the details and importance of each bill, the implications to animals, and answer any of your questions so you’ll be armed with all the relevant information as we make our way into the Session.

    After signup below you will receive an auto-response email with a link to the webinar.

     

    WHEN
    February 28, 2029 at 12pm
    rsvp

  • Volunteer

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    THLN is looking for enthusiastic, self-motivated individuals to join in our mission to advocate for Texas animals by effecting systemic change. If you’ve got a passion for animals and want to contribute to making a tangible difference in thousands of Texas animal’s lives, volunteer with us and become part of the most powerful statewide network for animals.

    With a variety of volunteer opportunities available, you’re bound to find something that suits your interests, talents and schedule.

    Please fill out the form linked below to get started, and make sure to check out our upcoming events!


    Step 1: Please complete the form below and then click 'Next' to answer some questions about where you would most like to help us.  PLEASE NOTE: YOUR APPLICATION WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED COMPLETE UNTIL THE QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED.

    Become a volunteer