The 75th Texas Legislature created the Animal Friendly
license plate in 1997. I understand that it was quite an uphill battle.
The intent was to raise money to fund low cost or free spay and neuter
programs throughout Texas; to help stop the killing of unwanted animals
across our great state. $20 from the sale of each set is deposited in
the Animal Friendly account in the state treasury.
However, the State may disburse the money only after
$500,000 has been credited to the account. This goal must be met by
September 2004 or all the money raised will revert to the state's
general fund. This means that before any grants can be made, 25,000 sets
of plates must be sold.
These plates have been available now for 2 years. As of
November 17, 1999, a pitiful 7,513 sets were sold. At this current rate
of sales, it will be a very close call for this goal to ever be met. And
that's giving Texans 7 years to meet this seemingly easy goal - 7
years!! We Texans should be ashamed of ourselves! We should have met
this undemanding goal within the first year! Does this mean that in this
State of 18 million people, there aren't 25,000 car owners willing to
spend 25 bucks for a set of license plates? That's just over 1/10th of
1% of our population. Surely more than 1/10th of 1% of our population
care about animals? Maybe not. It sure looks like Texans don't care.
What kind of message are we sending to our legislature
with our apathy? How much more difficult is it going to be to get
animal-friendly legislation passed in the future when our elected
officials see by our actions that Texans don't care about animals? On
the other hand, what message would be sent to our lawmakers if this goal
is achieved in 3 years instead of 7? Now THAT would make an impact with
our lawmakers when future animal-related bills come before them!!
More importantly, the sooner we reach that goal, the
sooner money can begin to be disbursed to fund spay/neuter programs. The
sooner this happens, the sooner we can slow the cycle of death to
unwanted animals. (Did you know that in Texas there are animals
euthanized by shooting them in the head because a bullet is cheaper than
an injection?) And along with more spay/neuter programs comes higher
visibility of the issue. Higher visibility translates into increased
awareness. And the license plates themselves tell others that the driver
cares about animals. The plates themselves increase awareness. We need
to begin to end to this killing NOW - not in 7 years. And judging from
our pathetic 2 year history, sadly there is a chance that it may never
happen at all.
Each of us must do something to help stop the killing.
It is simply the right thing to do. Therefore, I am sending this email
as a concerned citizen to animal welfare organizations throughout Texas
and across our great nation in hopes that each of you can spread the
word to buy these plates.
Below is a link for the Application to order the tags
from TxDOT. I encourage each organization to send the Application to
everyone on its mailing list who resides in Texas. If you mail out a
newsletter, you can reprint the application. If you have a website, post
something or prominently link to a site that does. And for those of you
who, over the years, have been able to garner those ever-valuable media
contacts, I would hope that this issue is important enough to you to
call in those chips and try to get them to spread the word even further.
What else can you do personally? Post the applications
at pet supply stores and veterinarian's offices. Tell everyone you know.
And, for those of you who don't have these plates adorning your own
cars, SHAME ON YOU! Order them TODAY! And after you buy a set for your
car, keep a few applications in your glove box because you'll find that
people will compliment you on the plates frequently. When they do, hand
them an application.
There are so many compelling reasons to buy these
plates. Won't you please help to stop the killing?
I would like to thank each of you for being responsible
human beings and for helping to protect God's other creatures.
With best regards,
Terry A. Berger
Attorney at Law
Here is a link to the TxDOT Application for Animal
Friendly License Plates:
TxDOT Special Plates (Austin): 512.374.5010.
Here is a link to artwork of the Animal Friendly plates.
(Right click on the image and then click on SAVE IMAGE AS. Then place
the image in a directory where you will later be able to find it.)
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