The First to Fall Under the New Texas Animal Abuse Law
Just hours after the new Texas animal laws went into effect on September 1, Harris County had their first case. This new, and well overdue, law lowers the burden of proof and makes it easier to prosecute someone for animal cruelty. It defines what ‘cruelty’ is and gives greater protection to companion animals, dogs and cats.
The first case that will fall under this new law is that of Bolo, a young Rottweiler who almost lost his life at the hands of his owner. Concerned neighbors call the police after hearing the dog’s cries of pain.
When the police arrived a horrific scene awaited them.
“The dog was suspended by its neck by [a] metal chain, choking to death and the guy was beating it with a broken baseball bat,” said Lt. Mark Timmers of the Houston Humane Society.
The chain which was embedded in the dogs neck and the broken baseball bat are now part of evidence against the owner. The puppy, along with four other dogs, were removed and the owner was charged under the state’s new felony animal cruelty law. the DA accepted the case “without reservation.”
“Under the new law, the owner can be prosecuted if he kills or causes bodily injury to an animal in a cruel manner,” said Harris County Prosecutor Belinda Smith. “In this particular case, this crime happened the day the new law came into effect.”
For Bolo, a very lucky circumstance. Although he is as well considered ‘evidence’ in the case, he will have a chance at a new life and a much brighter and “a kinder, gentler future.”
His owner, on the other hand, if convicted, could face up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Some details on the New Texas Animal Cruelty Law
HB2328 – This Animal Cruelty statute is now much stronger in terms of protecting animals than it was in the past. It is now a crime to;
- commit acts of cruelty to stray and feral dogs and cats
- “recklessly” commit cruelty to an animal (prosecutors will no longer have to prove that a person intended to commit cruelty)
- kill or cause serious bodily injury to animals “in a cruel manner”—which is defined as “a manner that causes or permits unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering” (it will no longer be necessary to prove “torture”)
- fail to provide water to an animal in a person’s custody.
Heinous crimes of cruelty towards animals can now be tried as a FELONY punishable by up to $10,000 in fines or 2 years in jail or BOTH. Under this new law, minors (under the age of 18) can be forced to undergo psychological counseling.
There were also a couple of other bills passed in Texas that are victories for companion animals;
HB916 increases the penalty for dog fighting from a Class A misdemeanor to a state jail felony and increases the punishment for people who attend dog fights.
HB1141 prohibits an owner from tethering a dog outside between the hours of 10 pm to 6 am and also prohibits tethering for more than 3 hours. It also prohibits tethering outside during extreme weather conditions such as:
- The outdoor temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit
- A heat advisory has been issued by a local or state authority of jurisdiction
- A hurricane, tropical storm or tornado watch or warning has been issued for the area by the National Weather Service OR any combination of these factors.
Source – ABC13
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!