FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Governor Signs Bill to Strengthen Animal Cruelty Laws: SB 762 Will Increase Punishment for Offenses Such as Torture, Killing and Poisoning
Austin, TX (June 10, 2017) – Last night, Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation that would increase the punishment for violent animal cruelty offenses and address loopholes that have allowed animal abusers to avoid prosecution, said the Texas Humane Legislation Network.
Senate Bill 762 authored by Sen. Jose Menendez (San Antonio) and sponsored by Rep. Moody (El Paso) will strengthen Texas law by increasing the punishment for certain types of violent offenses – such as torturing, cruelly killing, poisoning, or causing serious bodily injury to an animal – to a third-degree felony with a penalty of imprisonment of two to 10 years.
Until now, an abuser could receive a sentence as little as 180 days for dousing a dog with accelerant and setting it on fire, an all-too-common form of abuse that has been seen in cities like Dallas, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, and others.
“The days of negligible prison sentences for the most heinous and violent acts of cruelty against our companion animals are officially a part of Texas history,” said THLN’s Executive Director Laura Donahue. “Moving forward, the punishments will fit the crime.”
The nonprofit organization, which advocates for strong, enforceable laws that will prohibit cruel acts against animals, has been working with Sen. Menendez and Rep. Joe Moody, who carried the companion bill in the House, on this legislation long before the 2017 session started.
Menendez represents the San Antonio area and Moody is from El Paso.
“Their districts, like so many across Texas, have a high rate of animal cruelty incidences, and these two lawmakers have been passionate and committed to addressing the issue,” Donahue added.
Reports of extreme animal cruelty cases have been on the rise in the past few years, demonstrating that this is a far-reaching problem that will only get worse without adequate deterrents in law, she said.
“The link between animal cruelty and domestic violence is well documented,” Donahue said. “When animals are safe from harm, communities are safer.”
Laura Stromberg Hoke