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18 February 2001 Issue
Help Needed To Pass Dangerous Wild Animal Bill H.B 1362

 

from Robert L. Trimble - catlynco@swbell.net

Texas is currently one of only a handful of states that has no regulation over the private ownership of dangerous wild animals (big cats, bears, coyotes, jackals, great apes, etc.) and this lack of regulation is compromising both the public's safety and the animals' welfare. In just the past two years, numerous incidences have occurred in Texas in which people (primarily young children) were killed or maimed by these animals. In fact, during that time more human attacks by these animals occurred in Texas than the rest of the entire United States combined. These incidences are in addition to the high number of reported incidences of animal escapes, abuse, neglect and improper care.

To help end these tragedies, Representative Toby Goodman of Arlington has introduced H.B.1362 which will regulate the private ownership of these animals. This bill will require an owner to: (i) register his animal with the local animal control authority; (ii) house the animal in a secure enclosure of adequate size; (iii) humanely care for the animal in accordance with standards already established in the Federal Animal Welfare Act; and (iv) maintain a minimum of $100,000 of liability insurance to cover any damage, injury or death caused by the animal. You can read the full text of the bill at
www.house.state.tx.us

H.B. 1362 will be heard before the House Committee on County Affairs very soon - perhaps as early as next week. Special interest groups (owners, breeders, exhibitors and trainers of these animals; roadside zoos, circuses and several rich ranch owners) who oppose this bill are poised to make a huge effort (including hiring highly paid and influential lobbyists like former House Speaker Gib Lewis) to defeat this bill. We must counter with a massive grassroots effort or we will fail. There will be many battles in this war and we must respond each time. The first battle is to get this bill approved by the County Affairs Committee.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

1. Attend the Committee hearing and sign up as supporting the Bill.

2. Call and write every member on the County Affairs Committee and ask that they support H.B. 1362. It is best to call and then follow with a letter. The next best thing is to write. Unfortunately, emails and faxes for the most part never reach the representative or are ignored.

3. When calling and/or writing the Committee Member you may wish to point out the following:
* You are alarmed and concerned about the number of attacks on humans by these animals, especially children.
* You want these animals registered so you will know where they are so you can take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family from an attack by one of these animals.
* You want the people who own these animals to be held responsible for the damage they do and you want them to be financially responsible through liability insurance like people who drive cars.
* You also want to make sure that these animals are caged in a proper manner so that they don't escape and that they are treated in a humane manner.
* Point out to them that Texas is one of only a few states who don't regulate these animals and as a result Texas has more incidences of animal attacks on humans than the rest of the United States combined.

PLEASE ACT TODAY; IF YOU DON'T WE WILL SURELY FAIL.

The mailing addresses of all Committee Members is State Capitol,
P.O. Box 2910, Austin, Texas 78768-2910 and their phone numbers
are as follows:

Chair: Tom Ramsay - 512-463-0680
Vice Chair: Glenn Lewis - 512-463-0716
Members: Betty Brown - 512-463-0458
Warren Chisum - 512-463-0736
David Farabee - 512-463-0534
Harvey Hilderbran - 512-463-0536
Mike Krusee - 512-463-0670
John H. Shields - 512-463-0658
Ignacio Salinas, Jr. - 512-463-0590

When writing, address your correspondence as follows:

Address: Honorable [Full Name]
Salutation: Dear Representative [Last Name]

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ROUND TWO FOR THE DANGEROUS WILD ANIMAL BILL - THIS TIME IN
THE SENATE

Now that you've acted on our plea for help with the House version of the Dangerous Wild Animal Bill (S.B. 235), we also need help on the Senate side! Please read carefully and act promptly.

To address this problem in the Senate, Senator Chris Harris of Arlington has introduced S.B.235 which will regulate the private ownership of these animals. This bill will require an owner to: (i) register his animal with the local animal control authority; (ii) house the animal in a secure enclosure of adequate size; (iii) humanely care for the animal in accordance with standards already established in the Federal Animal Welfare Act; and (iv) maintain a minimum of $100,000 of liability insurance to cover any damage, injury or death caused by the animal.
You can read the full text of the bill at www.house.state.tx.us

S.B. 235 will be heard before the Senate Committee on State Affairs very soon (probably next week). Special interest groups (owners, breeders, exhibitors and trainers of these animals; roadside zoos, circuses and several rich ranch owners) who oppose this bill are poised to make a huge effort (including hiring highly paid and influential lobbyists like former House Speaker Gib Lewis) to defeat this bill. We must counter with a massive grassroots effort or we will fail. There will be many battles in this war and we must respond each time. The first Senate battle is to get this bill approved by the Senate Affairs Committee.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

1. Attend the Committee hearing and sign up as supporting the Bill.

2. Call and write every member on the State Affairs Committee and ask that they support S.B. 235. It is best to call and then follow with a letter. The next best thing is to write. Unfortunately, emails and faxes for the most part never reach the representative or are ignored.

3. When calling and/or writing the Committee Member you may wish to point out the following:

* You are alarmed and concerned about the number of attacks on humans by these animals, especially children.
* You want these animals registered so you will know where they are so you can take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family from an attack by one of these animals.
* You want the people who own these animals to be held responsible for the damage they do and you want them to be financially responsible through liability insurance like people who drive cars.
* You also want to make sure that these animals are caged in a proper manner so that they don't escape and that they are treated in a humane manner.
* Point out to them that Texas is one of only a few states who don't regulate these animals and as a result Texas has more incidences of animal attacks on humans than the rest of the United States combined.

PLEASE ACT TODAY; IF YOU DON'T WE WILL SURELY FAIL.

The mailing addresses of all State Affairs Committee Members is State
Capitol, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, Texas 78711-2068 and their phone
numbers are as follows:

Chair: Florence Shapiro - 512-463-0108
Vice Chair: Carlos Truan - 512-463-0120
Members:
Ken Armbrister - 512-463-0118
John Carona - 512-463-0116
Troy Fraser - 512-463-0124
Mario Gallegos - 512-463-0106
Chris Harris - 512-463-0110
Frank L. Madla - 512-463-0119
Eliot Shapleigh - 512-463-0129

When writing, address your correspondence as follows:

Address: Honorable [Full Name]
Salutation: Dear Senator [Last Name]

If you have any questions call or need further information on how you can
help or fax the Texas Humane Legislation Network at 214/357-2250.

Go on to Earth Day
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