Karen Rankin

  • THLN Announces Endorsements in the 2022 Primary Runoff Election

    Endorsed candidates were selected based on the following criteria:

    • What is their voting record on animal-related bills?
    • How did they respond to questions about important animal welfare issues?
    • Are they running an effective campaign?

    The following 2022 Primary Runoff candidates have earned THLN's endorsement:

    SD27 Morgan LaMantia  

    HD60 Glenn Rogers 

    HD70 Jamee Jolly  

    HD76 Suleman Lalani  

    HD100 Venton Jones    

    HD133 Shelley Torian Barineau  

    HD147 Jolanda Jones

    A Primary Runoff election is held when none of the candidates receives 50% or more of the vote to represent their party in the March Primary. The top two vote winners from the March Primary then face each other in the May Primary Runoff...and in Texas, these Runoffs are VERY important. Please don't sit this one out!

    Early voting in the Texas Primary Runoff begins Monday, May 16, and ends Friday, May 20.

    Runoff election day is Tuesday, May 24. 

    Thank you for supporting Humane Candidates! We'll see you at the polls!


  • THLN and Humane Tomorrow Honor Representative Stucky in Denton

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    FEBRUARY 21, 2022

    Contact:

    Cara Gustafson

    [email protected]

    (561) 797-8267

    THLN and Humane Tomorrow Honor Representative Lynn Stucky in Denton

    Rep. Stucky remains a consistent proponent of commonsense animal welfare.

    DALLAS -- On Saturday, the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN) and Humane Tomorrow co-hosted an event at the Glenn & Shirley Hulcher Family Animal Care Center in Argyle honoring Representative Lynn Stucky of Denton.

    “We wholeheartedly endorse Rep. Stucky for re-election as he has remained an unwavering supporter of commonsense animal welfare policy,” said Shelby Bobosky, Executive Director of THLN. “He co-sponsored and was instrumental in the passage of the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act that went into effect in January.”

    In his time in the House, Rep. Stucky also voted to end the sale of pet store puppy sales that would close the puppy mill pipeline in Texas and helped pass animal cruelty enhancements in 2017. Rep. Stucky also served as the main veterinarian who worked civil seizure cases in Denton County for many years after THLN helped pass civil seizure legislation.

    “As one of three veterinarians in the Texas House, other representatives follow Rep. Stucky’s lead when it comes to animal welfare legislation. Since being elected, he has had a 100% scorecard for our animal welfare bills,” finished Bobosky.  

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  • THLN Announces Endorsements in the 2022 Primary Election

     

     

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    February 11, 2022

    Contact:
    Cara Gustafson
    [email protected]
    (561) 797-8267

     

     THLN Announces Endorsements in the 2022 Primary Election
    THLN endorses candidates who have proven to be animal welfare advocates.

    AUSTIN, Texas -- This week, the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN) released their list of endorsements for the 2022 Primary Election in Texas. 

    THLN endorses candidates based on their overall voting record and platform, performance on animal protection issues as an incumbent, and their previous animal welfare record at the local level. Since 1975, THLN has passed essential legislation improving the lives of Texas animals, always with the support and dedication of key elected officials. The list of endorsements demonstrates who THLN believes will fight the hardest for Texas animals in the 2023 legislative session and beyond.

    "We strongly believe that animal welfare issues are nonpartisan and endorse both Republican and Democratic candidates who have proven they care about the welfare of Texas animals," said Stacy Sutton Kerby, Director of Government Relations for THLN. "We encourage Texas voters who care deeply about animal issues to consider our endorsements because without these advocates back in the Capitol in 2023, it will be much harder to pass animal welfare laws," finished Kerby.

    THLN's 2022 Primary Election endorsements are as follows: 

    Texas Senate
    John Whitmire (D-SD 15)
    Phil King (R-SD 10)
    Tan Parker (R-SD 12)

    Texas House
    Ron Reynolds (D-HD 27)
    Erin Zwiener (D-HD 45)
    James Talarico (D-HD 50)
    Glenn Rogers (R-HD 60)
    Lynn Stucky (R-HD 64)
    Jeff Leach (R-HD 67)
    Mary González (D-HD 75)
    Claudia Ordaz Perez (D-HD 79)
    Giovanni Capriglione (R-HD 98)
    Rhetta Bowers (D-HD 113)
    Greg Travis (R-HD 133)
    Lacey Hull (R-HD 138)

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  • Houston City Council Passes Four New Humane Ordinances

    THLN, Houston PetSet Celebrate Houston City Council’s Passage of New Updated City Ordinances 
    Ordinances include addressing sheltering standards, microchipping, and pet store practices.

    January 19, 2022

    HOUSTON, TEXAS – Today, the Houston City Council passed a range of new updated city ordinances including ones that are related to animal welfare and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner allocated $1 million to go towards spay and neuter efforts in the city. The Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN) and Houston PetSet have been working with the City of Houston on the ordinances to address a myriad of challenges when it comes to animal sheltering and animals in the streets. 

    These ordinances will support animal welfare organizations such as Houston’s city-run shelter, Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC), and will change the landscape of animal welfare in Houston for the better. The ordinances include:

    -Updating the sheltering standards for outside animals. Owners are now given a clear definition on dog houses, restraints and these changes will help dog owners understand how to tether and house their dogs.

    -Implementation of microchips. Loose dogs in the streets will be able to be returned home without ever entering the shelter.

    -Cleaning up the dangerous dog ordinance. Houston neighborhoods will become safer with a clearer ordinance. 

    -Implementation of the Humane Pet Store ordinance. Current Texas state law does not adequately protect consumers, puppies, or kittens from pet stores selling commercially bred animals with undisclosed health defects. The new ordinance protects consumers and animals alike. 

    “THLN is in full support of these ordinances and is so thankful to the City Council, Chairwoman Alcorn and her staff, and leaders at BARC for understanding and supporting these transformational changes,” said Shelby Bobosky, Executive Director of THLN. “It is our hope that the people of Houston support these ordinances and BARC Houston in their efforts to keep the animals and people of Houston safer,” finished Bobosky. 

    “These proposed ordinances are so important for the people and pets in the city of Houston,” said Tama Lundquist, Houston PetSet Co-President. “Having these ordinances will reduce the number of animals in our shelters by disallowing dogs from puppy mills to be sold in stores. Houston PetSet and dozens of our rescue partners are so happy for the leadership of Chairwoman Alcorn, BARC and THLN for supporting these ordinance changes to improve the welfare of pets and pet owners in the city of Houston,” finished Lundquist.  

    “We would also like to thank Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner for allocating $1 million to BARC for spay/neuter services,” said Bobosky. “Mayor Turner recognizes that spaying and neutering is incredibly important to the safety of the City of Houston."

    For more information about the ordinances, or to schedule an interview please contact Cara Gustafson at 561-797-8267 or [email protected]

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    The Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN) is a 501c4 non-profit with over 45 years of experience at the Texas state capitol. THLN’s mission is to promote the humane treatment of animals through legislation and advocacy. THLN was instrumental in passing the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, making dogfighting illegal, creating humane standards for Texas shelters, establishing the Animal-Friendly license plate program, and enhancing the animal cruelty law. To learn more about THLN, please visit THLN.org.

    Houston PetSet’s mission is to end the homelessness and suffering of companion animals and elevate their status in society. We envision a world where companion animals do not suffer and are valued by society.  

     


  • Dallas City Council Committee Takes First Steps to Pass Humane Pet Store Ordinance

    Ordinance will close the puppy mill pipeline to Dallas and protect unsuspecting Texas families from deceptive financial practices. 

    December 6, 2021

    DALLAS, TX -- On Monday, December 6, the Dallas City Council Committee on Quality of Life, Arts, & Culture held a briefing agenda at 3 p.m. Led by Chair Council Member Adam Bazaldua, one of the briefing agenda items was the Dallas Humane Pet Store Ordinance. Since January, the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN) has been working to pass the ordinance and ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores to prevent cruel breeding practices. Joined by the Humane Society of the United States, THLN presented to the committee to raise awareness, garner support, and ultimately pass this important Ordinance in early 2022.

    “Similar to laws in over 30 states, the Humane Pet Store Ordinance will prohibit the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores and stop hundreds of sick puppies from being brought into Texas from puppy mills across state lines,” said Shelby Bobosky, Executive Director of THLN. “It will protect consumers from ending up with unhealthy puppies and illusory practices that lock unknowing Texans into years-long, deceptive financial commitments and high-interest rates on top of exorbitant vet bills.”

    This Ordinance would also support dozens of local, Dallas-based humane pet stores that do not sell puppies but rather rehome thousands of dogs who need loving families.

    “Over the years, our THLN hotline has regularly received complaints of Dallas retail stores selling sick or unhealthy puppies. We now have an opportunity to end a cruel practice that hurts puppies and unsuspecting Texans simply trying to get a new pet,” said Bobosky. “We are so grateful to Chair Bazaldua and Mayor Pro Tem West for their support and attention to such a vital animal welfare issue right here in our community.”

    After the Council Committee members have been briefed, it is THLN’s hope that the Committee will ask for the Ordinance to move forward to the Dallas Animal Services Shelter Commission in January 2022, then to the Dallas City Council for their consideration in February 2022.

    “We applaud Chairman Bazaldua and Mayor Pro Tem West for their support of this important ordinance and look forward to working with the City Council to ensure its passage,” said Lauren Loney, Texas State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. “The values of Dallas cannot be reflected by continuing to allow the sale of puppies from cruel puppy mills to unsuspecting local consumers.”

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

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  • Safe Outdoor Dogs Act Headed to Governor

    Safe Outdoor Dogs Act Headed to Governor’s Desk at the Close of the Third Special Session
    The act clarifies previous law and establishes basic standards of shelter and care for unattended dogs restrained outdoors.

    October 19, 2021

    Austin, Texas – Late last night, SB 5, the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, passed out of both chambers and is now heading to the Governor’s desk. A top legislative priority for the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN), the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act establishes basic standards of shelter and care for dogs left outdoors and clarifies existing law to promote the safety of animals and the people around them.

    After the Safe Outdoor Dogs bill passed both chambers and was subsequently vetoed by the Governor during the regular legislative session earlier this year, THLN worked with the Governor’s office to ensure all of the items in his veto proclamation were addressed. The current bill is similar to the one filed during the regular session and still maintains its purpose of protecting dogs and the people around them from inhumane tethering.

    "The passage of the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act is a critical step toward protecting restrained 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 to our bill authors Representative Jared Patterson and Senator Lucio Jr. for their tireless efforts to get this bill to the finish line. We are hopeful that Governor Abbott signs it into law.”

    The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act will ensure 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 Safe Outdoor Dogs Act removed the 24-hour waiting period that previously prevented animal control and law enforcement officers from taking immediate action. Going forward, officers will be able to assist tethered dogs in distress as soon as they arrive on the scene. 

    The law 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 via a trolley system, and those temporarily unattended in an open-air truck bed. 

    "This was a tough legislative session for everyone. We are especially grateful for the effort legislators and supporters made to get this law passed," finished Kerby.  

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

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  • SB 5/HB 104 Safe Outdoor Dogs Act | 2021 Special Session

    SB 5/HB 104 AKA The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act has passed the Senate! This session is moving quickly, as expected, and we would like to clear up any confusion surrounding the bill.


  • Governor Abbott Includes Safe Outdoor Dogs On Third Special Session Agenda

    Legislation would be similar to SB 474 that passed during the regular session but would address the concerns in the Governor's veto proclamation.

    September 9, 2021

    Austin, Texas – On Tuesday, Governor Abbott released his agenda for the third special session and included legislation similar to the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, which the Governor vetoed during the regular legislative session. 

    "Governor Abbott’s inclusion of the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act on the special session agenda is a huge step toward passing this bill before the next regular session in 2023," said Stacy Sutton Kerby, Director of Government Relations for the Texas Humane Legislation Network. "We are hopeful that we will be able to address the Governor’s concerns and ensure a safer future for dogs across Texas."

    The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act establishes basic standards of shelter and care for dogs left outdoors and clarifies the existing law to promote the safety of animals and the people around them. The bill was a top legislative priority for THLN and had the support of over 100 co-authors during the regular legislative session, as well as law enforcement and thousands of Texans across the state.

    "There is no doubt that we would not have had a second opportunity to pass the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act this year without the dedication of our thousands of supporters across Texas and our legislative champions on both sides of the aisle,"  said Kerby. “We will continue to fight and improve the lives of restrained outdoor dogs.”

    To learn more or to schedule an interview about the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, contact Tori Varyu at (425) 577-2072 or [email protected] 

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  • Big Cat Safety Act

    Tackling Tigers: Why the Big Cat Public Safety Act is Critical to Protecting Communities, Big Cats, and Ending Wildlife Trafficking in the U.S.

    Texas is a hot spot for the private possession, breeding, and trafficking of big cats such as lions, tigers, and cheetahs. The problems flowing from private possession are myriad, including the threat to public safety, a lack of information about the number and location of big cats, and the attendant cruelty that results when big cats are owned by individuals who lack the expertise and resources to care for them properly. 

    Outside of Texas, some states ban private ownership altogether, some regulate in part, and others have no regulation. In short, this regulatory patchwork fails to protect public safety and big cats. The problem requires a federal solution and the time to do it is NOW.

    Please join us as Carney Anne Nasser-Garcia, an expert on big cat ownership, will explain how HR 263 - the Big Cat Public Safety Act - will protect the public, first responders, and big cats by prohibiting private ownership.

    Carney Anne is the "go-to person in the country for laws about big cat ownership.” She became the second full-time animal law professor in the world when Michigan State University hired her to be the founding director of the law school’s animal law clinic. She is the attorney who pitched the wildlife trafficking case against notorious "Tiger King" Joe Exotic to federal prosecutors and investigators.

    Nasser-Garcia is a frequent contributor to media outlets like National Geographic, Al Jazeera, Dr. Oz, The New York Times, and global wildlife meetings like the CITES treaty meetings. After over a decade working in academia and the nonprofit animal protection community, she now serves as an independent expert consultant for NGOs, government agencies, investigative journalists, and lawmakers and is about to embark on a one-year research fellowship in animal law and policy at Harvard University. She hosts a podcast called Tiger Talk which she takes listeners behind the scenes of the big cat trade through discussions with other experts in the protection and conservation of big cats.

    Nasser-Garcia lives in New Orleans with her husband, three sons, and two grumpy rescued Shih Tzus.

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

    WHEN
    January 01, 2025 at 4:00pm
    rsvp

  • Statement on Governor Abbott’s Veto of the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act (SB 474)

    The bill received overwhelming support from both parties and rural lawmakers

    June 21, 2021

    Austin, Texas – The Texas Humane Legislative Network’s (THLN) Executive Director Shelby Bobosky released the following statement regarding Governor Abbott’s veto of Senate Bill 474. The bill would have provided much-needed clarification to existing law to establish basic standards of outdoor shelter and restraint for dogs.

    “THLN and its thousands of members across Texas are devastated by the veto of the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act. Governor Abbott says that the current Texas statute already protects dogs, but this bill – which was carried with active support from sheriffs, law enforcement and animal control offers – would have clarified the vague language that makes the statute completely unenforceable. SB 474 contained simple fixes to protect dogs that are left outside on heavy chains with no shelter or water in a state that experiences extreme high and low temperatures. All the elements Governor Abbott cited as “micromanagement” were carefully negotiated compromises that addressed concerns from lawmakers in both parties to strike the right balance for our diverse state. The passage of the bill in both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support from rural, urban, and suburban members was the result of six years of tireless effort by THLN and all stakeholders who care for dogs inhumanely restrained outdoors. The issues that this bill intended to address will not go away, and neither will we. Preventing animal cruelty while making our state a safer place is one of the few nonpartisan issues facing the legislature and animal advocates are reliable primary and general voters.”

    To learn more or schedule an interview, contact Tori Varyu at (425) 577-2072 or [email protected] 

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

    Animal Law Expert and Animal Lawyer Randy Turner provides an update to 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 receive an email with a link to the webinar. 

    WHEN
    June 01, 2027 at 6:00pm
    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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