from Robert L. Trimble -
Great news! The Dangerous Wild Animal Bill (H.B. 1363)
passed the House County Affairs Committee [of Texas] on February 21,
2001 by a vote of 6 to 1 with 2 members being absent. This was a big win
- due in large part to your calls and letters. Thanks.
We must now focus our attention on S.B. 235, the Senate
version of the Dangerous Wild Animal Bill. This bill will be heard
before the Senate Committee on State Affairs very soon (perhaps as early
as Thursday, March 1, 2001). This will be our first battle in the Senate
and it is critical that we get our bill approved by the Senate Committee
on State Affairs. Just as they did with the House Committee, special
interests groups, particularly commercial breeders, exhibitors and
trainers of these animals will oppose this bill and make every effort to
exempt themselves from its application claiming that they are already
regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture ("USDA") under
the Animal Welfare Act ("AWA"). If they get exempted from our bill it
will "gut" the bill since most of the problems are with USDA license
WHAT THE BILL DOES:
S.B.235 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) care for the animal in
accordance with animal husbandry 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
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 won't reach the
senator or will be ignored.
3. When calling and/or writing a 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
properly cared for.
• Texas is one of only a few states which 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.
• USDA license holders should not be exempt from this
bill. The USDA's regulations do not require insurance, do not require
notification if the animal escapes, do not specify structural or sizing
standards for cages and there are not enough USDA inspectors to
regularly inspect all of these license holders.
PLEASE ACT TODAY; WE HAVE THE MOMENTUM BUT WE CAN'T LET
The mailing addresses of all State Affairs Committee
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711-2068
and their names and phone numbers are as follows:
Chair: Florence Shapiro - 512-463-0108
Vice Chair: Carlos Truan - 512-463-0120
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 call or fax the Texas Humane Legislation
Network at 214/357-2250.
Go on to Important
Warning About Kitchen Towels & Pets
Return to 28 February 2001 Issue
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