Saving Dogs From Cruelty

Pets, children, and disabled adults could be saved by a stranger from a hot car without civil liability for damages. Texas House Bill 401 is beginning to make it's way through legislation.

"A Good Samaritan should not be penalized for coming to the aid of a dog or any animal that is in distressed," President of the Wichita Falls Texas Humane Legislature Network, Jan Herzog said.

If this bill is passed the legislation states a person can enter a motor vehicle if they feel they need to save a life under these conditions

  • The motor vehicle is locked.
  • There is no way for the individual or animal to escape without help.
  • The break in was in good faith had reason the believe the animal or person was in trouble. Unnecessary damage was not done.
  • Law enforcement has been notified.
  • The citizen does not use unnecessary force.
  • The rescuer must remain with the animal or person until they are secure with law enforcement, an owner or family member, or a note must be left describing the circumstances with contact information.

You can read all of H.B. No. 401 here.

The Texas Humane Legislation Network has introduced HB 1156 and HB 1357 focusing on preventing animal cruelty in Texas.

A dog that is tied outside must have adequate shelter, reachable drinking water, a tethering device length at least five times the length of the dog, and it must be attached to a collar or harness constructed of nylon, leather or similar material. According to HB 1156 this would give statewide minimums for tethering and provide a more effective way to enforce the law.

"It is a very common sense law that would not effect ranching or hunting dogs at all," Herzog said.

The Family Violence and Violent Animal Cruelty Bill, HB 1357, would strengthen punishments for animal cruelty.

"We've had some cases that are so horrific you can barely even stand to talk about them," Herzog said.

Herzog has worked with the Texas Humane Legislation Network since 1975.

"We have seen a lot of things happen its always a roller coaster because so few bills get through," Herzog said.

Overall she said Texas has and continue to improve animal treatment laws.

"We're cautious optimistic we never get our hopes up too high until it's a done deal," Herzog said.