Little by little, day by day, people are finally seeing the importance of strengthening the laws against animal abuser. More and more states are working to protect our pets. Thank you Texas for taking this step! If the pets and animals could thanks you, they would too! 😀

Stiffer penalties for animal abusers and more protection for pets will become the law in Texas effective Sept. 1.

Humane Society officials say the new animal-cruelty laws will close gaps that had previously allowed abusers to go unpunished.

Homeless dogs and cats have protection for the first time, owners are required to give animals adequate water, and those who abet dogfighting will face tougher sentences.

“In the past, prosecutors didn’t have the laws to go after many of the abusers, and so those animal-cruelty cases were not reported,” said Robert “Skip” Trimble of the Texas Humane Legislation Network in Dallas. “Now, these new laws have closed some tremendous loopholes.”

Reckless harm

Currently, prosecutors must prove that a person intentionally or knowingly harmed an animal. But the new law allows for a conviction if the person “recklessly” harms an animal, whether the abuse is intentional or not.

Trimble gave this example of what prosecutors face with the current law:

In Beaumont, a man was charged with animal cruelty after he tied his horse to the back of his truck and drove 35 to 40 mph. The horse fell and was dragged, critically injuring its legs. Eventually, it died.

During his trial, the man told jurors that he was training the horse.

Jurors announced that they couldn’t reach a decision because they couldn’t decide whether the owner had intentionally or knowingly injured the horse.

Active, passive cruelty

Humane society experts say animal cruelty can be divided into two categories: active and passive. Passive cases typically involve neglect, and active ones involve malicious intent.

“If a person is capable of aggressive acts on animals, they could also be very dangerous to other people,” said Dale Bartlett of the Humane Society of the United States in Washington, D.C.

Other changes in the Texas animal-cruelty laws:

Make it a felony to kill, administer poison to or cause serious bodily injury to an animal without the owner’s consent.

Add water to the list of required care for an animal.

Protect homeless dogs and feral cats from abuse.

Increase the penalty for dogfighting from a Class A misdemeanor to a state jail felony and increase the punishment for attending a dogfight from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor.

Area animal control officers say the new laws will arrive at the peak of the busiest season for animal-cruelty calls.

“Most of our animal cruelty calls will be the lack of food, water and shelter,” said Debra Brantner, Hurst animal services supervisor. “In this heat, it wouldn’t take long for a dog to begin to suffer.”

Cruelty escalates

Experts say those who abuse pets are also likely to batter their domestic partners.

As many as 71 percent of battered women report that their partners threatened or killed the family pet.

More than half of the young students accused of shootings at schools in the United States were known to persistently abuse animals.

Serial killers Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert DeSalvo and others committed animal cruelty before attacking people.

SOURCE: The Humane Society of the United States

New laws

In Texas, people commit animal cruelty if they intentionally, knowingly or recklessly:

Torture an animal or in a cruel manner kill or cause serious bodily injury to an animal (state jail felony)

Kill, cause serious bodily injuries or administer poison to an animal belonging to another (state jail felony)

Cause one animal to fight another (state jail felony)

Use a live animal as a lure in dog races (state jail felony)

Trip a horse (state jail felony)

Fail to provide necessary food, shelter, water or care (Class A misdemeanor)

Abandon an animal (Class A misdemeanor)

Transport or confine an animal in a cruel manner (Class A misdemeanor)

Seriously overwork an animal (Class A misdemeanor)

Punishments

State jail felony: a maximum of two years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine.

Class A misdemeanor: a maximum of a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

SOURCE: Texas Penal Code

Source – Star-Telegram

Personally I’d like to see the felony jail time increased to at least five years at a minimum but it’s still a step in the right direction!

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