Important Legislation for Texas Pets!

Pawsitively Texas HB 3450Friday, we were excited to announce great legislation for Paws! See: the blog post announcing HB 3450.

This week, we learned Texas Humane League Network is opposed to this legislation designed to bring shelter reform and compassion to our Texas animal shelters. In an email to one who questioned why, she was referred to as “a pain in the neck.” They wish to wait two years, so that more debate and input can be added to the bill. I have to ask “WHY?!” they take that position as well. They want shelters, whom they refer to as “stakeholders” in this bill to have input. If we wait two years to debate, how many pets will have been needlessly killed? Houston reportedly kills 80,000 annually; in 2009-2010, we know Dallas killed over 24,000 pets; that’s just two shelters in Texas. How about shelters like Humble that have no adoption policy at all, or the shelters that never have anyone give voice to the animals in need of adoption. Or the shelters that automatically kill specific breeds, including ones that were once America’s more popular family dog? I’m personally not a big fan of laws to govern people; but sometimes new laws must be enacted when people are incapable of doing the right thing on their own.

Supporters of Texas CAPA include Ryan Clinton of, Nathan Winograd of No Kill Advocacy and Bett Sundermeyer of No Kill Houston.

Bett’s article includes the THLN statement of no support for HB 3450 and their reasons why. It also includes the email exchange where a THLN referred to someone who inquired about their opposition as “a pain in the neck.”

To make your own decision, you can read the entire bill by going to this Texas Legislature link, you will then need to key in: House Bill 3450, and a .pdf will download. But please consider this … if not now, when? If not us, who? Who will speak for the animals? Who will take a stand to rid shelters of barbaric kill methods? Who will take a stand to say we simply can not kill our way out of this problem?

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  1. Exactly! NOW is the time for all citizens to speak out and be heard. Everyone must speak up and support this bill now. Do not wait. The Public Health committee needs to hear your support so they will be encouraged to move this bill along instead of letting it die in committee. If the bill dies, we will have to wait 2 more years to try again.

    We have created really easy ways for people to support this bill and have posted them on our website. Please take a few minutes to do this.

    Thank you,
    Bett Sundermeyer

  2. I don’t know…I read the bullet points on the bill and it seems like it makes the shelters and the rescue groups work against each other. I think maybe people who have problems with it are not necessarily opposed to the ideas behind it. Everyone likes the idea of no kill but those of us in the trenches with hundreds more animals coming in than going out would like to know where those animals are supposed to go when they run out of space for them? And should a shelter hand over a dog who’s been aggressive just because a rescue says they want it? This bill sounds like it would force shelter personnel to do so. I just see a lot of potential problems with it that I’d like to have the answers to before it becomes a law.

    • Ann, please read the bill again carefully. This bill would require shelters to work with rescue groups. This is necessary because many are not doing this now. I hear this every day from rescuers all over the US.

      A study found that over 70% of rescue groups had been turned away from at least one New York kill shelter. So those kill shelters killed animals that rescues were willing to save at their own cost. This is insane and needs to stop. (And there are certain requirements for the rescue group to be “qualified” to pull animals from the kill shelter.)

      Also, dangerous dogs are not included in those animals that shelters would be required to release.

      This is a great bill which is based on brilliant model legislation written by the leading No Kill advocacy group in the nation… an organization run by people who have lead Open Admission, No Kill shelters so they no intimately what works and what does not.

  3. I am the biggest animal lover you can imagine, but I have problem and always will with no kill animal shelters. Unless a law is pass one day for people to require a permit to adopt an animal. This problem will never go away. And I also have a problem when I go to a shelter with seeing a dog that has been there for 3 or more years. That dog will probably never be adopted, because most people want puppies, so why keep him there, why make that dog stay day after day hoping to be taken home every time someone passes by and besides we can’t save them all. So I guess i’m not for that bill, i’m for a bill that will stop backyard breeders and that will start asking every pet owner to have a license for the ones they own. And unless you are a license breeder than you have to have your pets spayed and neutered or you would have to pay a fine. I would totally be in favor a bill like that.

    • Joan, this is NOT what the No Kill model of sheltering is about. We do not want animals to languish in shelters for months or years. The successful No Kill model of sheltering, which is based on the No Kill Equation, designed by Nathan Winograd works to move animals efficiently through the shelter system. When Nathan Winograd ran the Thompkins Co. NY SPCA, it was an open admission No Kill shelter responsible for animal control in 10 municipalities. He has said that the average length of stay for animals was 8 days.

      There are many “marketing” ideas that shelters could be using to move animals through the system so they do not languish in shelters. You should check out Bonney Brown’s webinar on Animal Ark. She is a brilliant “marketer” of shelter pets (and runs an open admission, no kill shelter)

      By the way, please do some research on licensing and mandatory spay/neuter laws in other communities. After passed, these types of punitive laws have been proven to RAISE kill rates in shelters. We don’t have to recreate the wheel. We now have ample opportunity to see what is working and what is not working to stop the killing in our shelters. We don’t have to repeat the failures of others.

  4. Joan,

    I have some questions for you regarding several of your statements. They are:

    1) “Unless a law is pass one day for people to require a permit to adopt an animal. This problem will never go away.” Are YOU going to go door-to-door to check that people have the proper permit for that dog or cat in the yard? If they don’t have the permit, are you going to file suit against them in court (hire more DAs to prosecute) or seize and kill the adult pet that no one will adopt because most people want puppies?

    2) “And I also have a problem when I go to a shelter with seeing a dog that has been there for 3 or more years….” I fostered and found a home for a dog from the Lockhart shelter that was born and lived there for 2 years. She and her family have been very happy together for over 3 years now. How many dogs and cats have YOU fostered?

    3) “every pet owner to have a license for the ones they own. And unless you are a license breeder than you have to have your pets spayed and neutered or you would have to pay a fine.” Again, what are you going to do to the pet owners who don’t comply? How much more in taxes are you willing to pay to hire the officers to write the citations, seize the animals, prosecute the offenders?

    4) “and besides we can’t save them all.” Why can’t we?

  5. I think a proposal to change our methods is a wonderful idea, but in this article you have posted you should also put the information about who we should contact to lend our support of this proposition. Who do I need to contact to let our government know this is much needed legislation to protect innocent animals?

    • Hi Patty, thanks! In the articles, there are links for a sample letter, a link to a petition, and links to the Public Health reps responsible for voting on the Bill.

  6. What about the shelters that won’t allow adoptions, period, or won’t allow shelter walkers to come in and take pictures of the dogs because they are too busy and don’t have time to answer the phone? Those are the ones that concern me and this is a step in the right direction. I am for it!

    • I like the idea that that breeders will be regulated (plumbers need a license to practice, right?) and animals should live in proper conditions, but I think it fails miserably by not targeting ALL breeders. Too many problems associated with backyard breeders. In general, I’m not big on more laws, (and laws that may never be really enforced) but I believe sometimes we have to have laws and guidelines to help people do the right thing if their own personal moral compass doesn’t. What do you think about it?

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