Well, unfortunately the bill passed the senate in its entire and highly inefficient form. Now as the bill is going back to the house and then to the governor, I’d like to ask again for people to support increased ENFORCEMENT and not waste more resources on these additional cumbersome laws. Our problem is total lack of enforcement. TEXAS LEGISLATORS, please WAKE UP and help these abused animals and not your politics!
This article was posted today in the Tyler, Texas paper regarding a recent raid that really emphasizes my points I was trying to make in my previous post. (CLICK HERE to read the full article). This quote sums it up:
“more than 70 small-breed dogs seized in a raid this morning are a mixture of various breeds. The owner has been selling the dogs at First Monday trade days for an undetermined period of time.”
The article goes on to say that neighbors reported that the dogs have been a problem for years. For those not familiar with East Texas, First Monday trade days is at Canton, which I referred to in my first post. This is my point. Neighbors have undoubted complained about this problem for years and yet why was nothing done until just now? It is not for the lack of laws as this lady was abusing animals and keeping them in filthy, cruel, conditions for years. It is the lack of enforcement.
Here is the existing Texas law against cruelty to animals from the Texas Penal Code Sec. 42.09
§ 42.09. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS. (a) A person commits an
offense if the person intentionally or knowingly:
(1) tortures an animal;
(2) fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, care, or shelter for an animal in the person’s custody;
(3) abandons unreasonably an animal in the person’s custody;
(4) transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner;
(5) kills, seriously injures, or administers poison to an animal, other than cattle, horses, sheep, swine, or goats, belonging to another without legal authority or the owner’s effective consent;
(6) causes one animal to fight with another;
(7) uses a live animal as a lure in dog race training or in dog coursing on a racetrack;
(8) trips a horse;
(9) injures an animal, other than cattle, horses, sheep, swine, or goats, belonging to another without legal authority or the owner’s effective consent; or
(10) seriously overworks an animal.
“Necessary food, care, or shelter” includes food, are, or shelter provided to the extent required to maintain the animal in a state of good health.
“Cruel manner” includes a manner that causes or permits unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering.
How is it, I ask, that the legislature expects to stop these cruel human beings that are already violating this existing law by adding additional laws the further burdens that already overburdened enforcement branch of the government? The biggest problem is that even when there are complaints made, the follow-up on the complaints is seriously lacking. Worse still, where there is follow-up the punishment is more like a slap on the wrist.
The website “Animals Abused & Abandoned” notes that even when you DO report abuse, you cannot assume that it was followed-up on. The recommend the following:
“Don’t assume the situation was addressed. Always follow-up with the officer in charge of the case to inquire about progress of the investigation. If dissatisfied, request to have a meeting to discuss the situation further or ask to speak to a supervisor. You may be the only hope for this animal. His life could depend on you.”
This is just too true. How many thousands of people have seen the obvious puppy millers that show up at First Monday in Canton and at Trader’s Village in Arlington. It is common knowledge, but despite neighbor reports and the common knowledge of where these people are and what they do, it already takes YEARS for enforcement, if ever. If somebody can convince me that this Texas HB 1451 will change this at all, I would completely support it. I have a sneaking suspicion that despite my friend’s report on Jim Bob Weems, that he likely continued to operate. I would really like to find out.
Here is what I would like to see in a bill. Increased CRIMINAL punishment for animal cruelty. These people get caught and just do it again because there is no real consequence to their actions. Increased support of ENFORCEMENT. I would also support a bill that targets specific animal cruelty issues surrounding puppy mills and backyard breeders.
Unscrupulous breeders are inevitably exposed because they must sell to the public. There are enough conscientious people out there where they WILL be found out. Where we are falling apart is on the FOLLOW-UP on these complaints and the PUNISHMENT for the violations.
Unfortunately Texas HB1451 is only going to draw more resources away from the real and well-known violators in order to monitor and tax the people who are most dedicated to animal welfare and care.