Unlawful restraint of dogs could become criminal offense

Senate Bill 5 awaits Governor Abbott’s signature
Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - For Kimber Hopkins, one of the founders of Emily’s Legacy in Wichita Falls, taking care of dogs is a way of life.

“We always want our animals to feel a part of the family; a beloved part of the family,” Hopkins said.

In the eyes of Texas, however, taking care of dogs, and more specifically providing adequate shelter for them is only a health and safety code and it’s one that’s rarely enforced.

“There are more fines for livestock than there are for domesticated animals,” Hopkins said.

But, there’s reason to wag your tail as change could be on the horizon thanks to Senate Bill 5.

If signed by Governor Abbott, it would amend the current health and safety code and make it a criminal offense if owners fail to provide adequate shelter for dogs.

“We cannot stay in the old mentality that, 50 years ago, it was okay to think, they’re just animals,” Hopkins said.

Animal rights activists around the state, like Hopkins, believe making the change to a criminal offense would mean more enforcement and in turn, save more lives; lives that will forever be Hopkins’ way of life.

“These wonderful animals that can change your lives and for people to just have no consideration for them, it’s kind of disheartening,” Hopkins said.

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