Volunteer Spotlight: “Citizen Lobbyist” Bella Grace, age 11

Earlier this month, Bella Grace and her mother Kimberly spent 45 minutes with the Round Rock mayor, police chief, and animal control supervisor. (The meeting was only scheduled for 30 minutes.)

They met to discuss the possibility of a strengthening the city’s existing dog tethering laws.

All of these local leaders seem pretty fired up about working with Bella Grace, who is 11 years old and a fifth-grader at Hill Country Christian School. Police Chief Allen Banks honored her with an engraved coin, making her an honorary member of the Round Rock Police Department. She was also asked to kick off the evening’s City Council meeting by leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

Local leaders have said passing a full ban on tethering may take time, but strengthening the code is a definite possibility—and that is in large part due to Bella’s passion and advocacy.

So, what’s next?

The mayor and city manager will be meeting to discuss the next steps, but as of Bella Grace’s meeting earlier this month, a Humane Education Program around tethering has been funded by the city of Round Rock. Bella will be working closely with Police Chief Banks on the program. (In 2015, Banks led the department in creating “BARK” -- the Be Alert of Residential K9s program -- to allow citizens to alert officers to the presence of pets in a home.)

In the meantime, Bella Grace and her mom are also working with THLN to make sure a Humane Education Program can serve as a future model in other critical cities.

Until we can get the Texas Legislature to pass our humane tethering bill, it is critical for citizens across the state to educate their local leaders about the awful realities of inhumane tethering. We are so grateful to Bella Grace and her mother for taking this issue to their local leaders—and for making a real difference for all animals.

We are so proud to kick off the new year with a spotlight on this bright, young volunteer!

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  • Dawn Gatlin
    Good job! I am in the process of scheduling a meeting with my local house rep Cecil Bell. Can you share some of the research and resources that you used to educate your local community on teathering?