Animal Writes
28 February 2001 Issue
Dangerous Wild Animal Bill Update

from Robert L. Trimble - [email protected] 

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 holders.


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


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.


The mailing addresses of all State Affairs Committee Members is
State Capitol
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.

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