THLN has worked for decades to educate the public and lawmakers that certain types of animal abusers must be prohibited from possessing animals to prevent further cruelty. For example, people convicted of animal hoarding suffer delusions they are caring for the animals in their possession. In reality, hoarders continually collect animals while depriving them of basic needs like food and water. Animal hoarding is a severe mental illness with a nearly 100% recidivism rate, and the only way to prevent hoarders from engaging in further cruelty is to prohibit their access to animals.
As another example, intentional violence toward animals is a reliable predictor the abuser will escalate to hurting humans. Decades of data show a strong correlation between animal abuse, family violence, and other forms of community violence. The National Sheriffs' Association identifies animal cruelty as "a gateway crime" because it is the number one predictor the abuser will graduate to committing assault, domestic violence, and homicide. In addition to predicting future behavior, engaging in animal cruelty is also a strong indication that the perpetrator is suffering from a mental health disorder or is the victim of abuse.
A victory for Texas animals and communities: In 2021, THLN helped pass SB 48 / HB 91, known as "the Animal Possession Ban." The new law codifies judges' authority to prevent people convicted of animal cruelty from having further contact with animals. Additionally, a judge may order psychological counseling for offenders. The Animal Possession Ban interrupts abuse so that animals, people, and the communities they live in are safer.
To download the THLN Fact Sheet for the Animal Possession Ban, go here.