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Governor Abbott vetoes animal cruelty bill

Texoma animal experts and caretakers are speaking out tonight.... about a bill Texas governor Abbott vetoed this week
Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 10:58 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Texoma animal experts and caretakers are speaking out about a bill Texas Governor Abbott vetoed this week.

“It has been years in the making for this bill. Law enforcement officers, sheriff’s associations and animal control officers all supported this bill, so to say we were devastated is an understatement,” said Jan Herzog, Coordinator of P.E.T.S. Underdog Express Program.

The bill would have made it illegal for dog owners to leave a dog alone outside while restrained unless the owner could provide proper shelter, water and shade.

It also used language to specify exactly how tight collars should be and stated owners could not use a chain to restrain a dog.

“There was a question about if the dogs got water. So it could be green, covered with moss or slime and have bugs in it but if it’s water, it’s water,” said Herzog.

Making these restrictions more enforceable and easier to convict neglectful owners.

“As the law is now, law enforcement have to give 24 hours notice then come back. So as most people can figure out 24 hours is plenty of time for a dog to die,” said Herzog.

Herzog is a representative of the Texas Humane Legislative Network, a state group that helped write the proposed bill.

“Our people had been in touch with the governor’s office all through the session and there was ample opportunity for the governor to reach out and say ‘I have a problem with this or this,’ we never heard anything,” said Herzog.

The governor said he passed on the bill because Texas already has an animal cruelty law. In a statement, the governor said this new bill would be micromanaging to owners.

That’s why they were trying to re-write it because places like the county who don’t have ordinances like we do here in the city and are able to be more stringent, it really affects them,” said Nicki Bacon, Administrator for the Wichita Falls Animal Services.

Nicki Bacon said they continue to see tons of animal cruelty cases and they’ve created a special system where residents can call in and report neglect or cruelty they see being done to animals.

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