Own A Dog over 40lbs? Act Now Before A Law Changes Your Rights! HB 1982

 

fencedThere’s been rumors about a proposed bill that would severely limit freedoms of dogs weighing over 40lbs. After some investigation by concerned citizens, it is actual the real deal so we need to act now to ensure this over-reaching proposal doesn’t become law. Basically, your dog can be declared VICIOUS and contained  in your own yard..AND it gets worse…

All dogs 40 pounds and over will be mandated to be on lead at all times and must be in a secure enclosure meant for dogs declared dangerous; they must have a DANGEROUS DOG sign on the yard fence even if the dog has done NOTHING–if it is 40 pounds or more.

HB 1982 Expands dangerous dogs laws to include vicious dogs based on physical nature and will allow dogs to be declared vicious even if it is in it’s own yard!

1.  This bill expands the definition of dangerous dogs to include a category of vicious dogs. A dog could be determined to be vicious based on the dog’s “physical nature” and “vicious propensity” and it being capable of causing serious bodily injury or death. This determination could be made without regard to the actual dog’s temperament or history. So, if someone thinks your dog looks scary, you are in the crosshairs of this proposed law.

2.         The definition of a vicious dog would include one that without reasonable provocation habitually acts in a way that the owner should know it is likely to bite or attack. What does this mean–the dog goes to the fence and barks, goes to the door and barks, looks out the window and barks? What this means is totally left up to the imagination and makes this law ripe for abuse.

3.         The definition of vicious dog would include one that commits unprovoked acts in its enclosure that causes someone to reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily injury to that person. That means your dog in its OWN yard can be declared “vicious.”

4.         The definition of vicious would include one that acts in a highly aggressive manner in its enclosure and appears to a reasonable person that it is able to escape. That means that if someone even thinks your dog could get out, your dog can be declared vicious even though it is NEVER gotten out.

5.         This bill would allow the court to destroy a dog that causes serious bodily injury to a trespasser in its own enclosure if the trespasser is less than 15 years of age. The law currently provides an exception for destroying the dog if the trespasser was at least 8 years of age. This addresses a dog in its own yard. Unfortunately, it today’s world many felons are teenagers.

6.         This bill would expand the felony dog bite bill and make the penalties stronger. Currently, if someone ’s dog gets out and causes serious bodily injury or death, the owner can be charged with a third degree felony for serious bodily injury and a second degree felony if it is death. This bill would make it a second degree felony if the victim of the attack causing serious bodily injury was under 15 or over 65. This felony bill is already strong enough. A 2nd degree felony can put someone in prison for up to 20 years and a 3rd degree felony can put someone in prison for up to 10 years.

7.         This bill would add a new law that requires that an owner of a dog that weighs 40 or more pounds has to be on a leash in the immediate control of a person, or in a residence, or in a secure enclosure in cities with a population of more than 1 million. A secure enclosure is one that is required for dangerous dogs. So, essentially, all dogs 40 pounds or more are treated like they are already dangerous in terms of the enclosure that is required regardless that they have NEVER done anything.

 

Why this Bill should be OPPOSED:

1.         This bill would allow for declaring a dog vicious based on its “physical nature.” That is an attempt to target breeds of dogs and is breed specific legislation by a different name. This determination could be made with no regard for the dog’s actual temperament or history.

2.         This bill would allow for a dog to be declared vicious based on things it allegedly does in its own enclosure without the dog ever getting out. This law would punish people who contain their dogs in an enclosure and yet, this is exactly what we want them to do instead of letting the dogs run loose.

3.         The bill would allow the unfair targeting of dogs that have not done anything other that perhaps bark at the fence to be declared vicious which subjects the owner to the same requirement as owners of dangerous dogs that have bitten someone and caused injury.

4.         Dangerous dog cases are often more about the relationships of neighbors than about dogs. This bill would allow a neighbor to say he or she is fearful that a fenced dog might get out or that it might cause them injury for a dog that is contained within an enclosure. This is a subjective standard that is fraught with possibility for unfairness.

 

5.         Requiring that owners of dogs weighing 40 pounds or more to have a secure enclosure for their pets is tantamount to saying that all such dogs are dangerous and should be treated as if they have been declared dangerous without them ever doing anything.=2 0″Secure enclosures” by state law are those for dogs already declared dangerous.  This would mean that these dog owners would have to construct a “secure enclosure” for dogs that have never done one thing. Here is what a “secure enclosure” means that all owners of dogs 40 pounds and over would have to comply with:

                       (4)  “Secure enclosure” means a fenced area or structure that is:

(A)  locked;

(B)  capable of preventing the entry of the general public, including children;

(C)  capable of preventing the escape or release of a dog;

(D)  clearly marked as containing a dangerous dog; and

(E)  in conformance with the requirements for enclosures established by the local animal control authority.

So, you have to put a sign saying DANGEROUS DOG on your fence for your dog despite that it has done NOTHING–AND, you have to comply with local requirements for “secure enclosures.”

Some local requirements include enclosures with tops, concrete flooring, and size requirements. AGAIN, I know this sounds crazy, but this is for ALL dogs weighing 40 pounds or more. This law would be unfairly enforced against dogs like American Pit Bull Terriers, Rotties, Akitas, German Shepherd Dogs, Dobies, Huskies, Malamutes, Mastiffs, Chow-Chows, etc.

6.         Requiring 40 pound dogs or over to always be on a leash in the immediate control of a person, in a residence or in a secure enclosure, prevents those dogs from ever going to a dog park or participating in events that are off lead or allow the dog to be separate from the handler which include tracking (dogs are on leads up to 30’ in length), search & rescue efforts (dogs on long leads and move ahead of handler), herding, hunting, and being used as working dogs and police dogs. Most dogs used in all of these activities are over 40 pounds.

7.         This bill would prohibit hunters from using a dog that is 40 pounds or over. Hunting dogs are typically over 40 pounds and include all sorts of dogs.

8.         This bill is way too restrictive and vague and needs to be defeated in its entirety. Our laws are strong enough. Current law provides that if your dog makes an unprovoked act  while outside it enclosure that someone says put them in fear of being injured, your dog can already be declared dangerous even if it did not bite, scratch or even touch someone. It is a subjective standard.

 

CALL TO ACT

FAX & CALL. Email is not a good way to communicate and some of them are blocking it now.

Be sure to put:  OPPOSED TO HB 1982 or VOTE NO ON HB 1982 in bold, large letters as your subject title.  (Getting your position in writing is important.)

 

Bill’s Author: Trey Martinez Fischer, San Antonio

(512) 463-0616

(512) 463-4873 Fax

 

 Bill Status Hotline

877-824-7038 (in Texas only, toll-free)

512-463-2182 (outside of Texas)

Hotline hours and availability Session:

Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., or until the Legislature adjourns for the day.

Interim: Telephone lines are closed.

COUNTY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

Clerk:  Revlynn Lawson

Phone: (512) 463-0760

 

The Capitol Address for ALL Representatives (if you want to send mail):

PO Box 2910, Austin, Texas 78768

 

Rep. Garnet Coleman (chair)

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist147/coleman.php

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0524 F AX: (512) 463-1260

Rep. Geanie Morrison (Vice Chair)

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist30/morrison.php

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0456  FAX:  (512) 476-3933

 

 

Rep. Leo Berman

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist6/welcome.htm

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0584    FAX (512) 463-3217

 

 

Rep. Valinda Bolton

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist47/bolton.php

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0652   FAX (512) 463-0565

Rep. Joaquin Castro

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist125/castro.php

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0669   FAX (512) 463-5074

Rep. John E. Davis

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist129/davis.php

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0734  20FAX (512) 479-6955

Rep. Marisa Marquez

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist77/marquez.php

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0638    FAX (512) 463-8908

Rep. Ralph Sheffield

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist55/sheffield.php

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0630  FAX (512)322-9054

 

Rep. Wayne Smith

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist128/smith.php

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0733   FAX  (512) 463-1323

 

Texas Legislature Online Bill Look-Up

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/BillNumber.aspx

5 Responses to Own A Dog over 40lbs? Act Now Before A Law Changes Your Rights! HB 1982

  1. Alicia

    April 10, 2009 at 10:23 am

    This bill scares me on a level that I can’t even put into words. I won’t even go into the BSL part of it, as that soapbox could go on all day. Please, people, if you love your dogs, and if you care about all of the wonderful dogs and their people that would be affected by the passing of a bill of this nature, take the time to write to your representatives. We can sit here and talk about the unfairness of it, but if we don’t act, then we are as guilty as the lawmakers that are proposing this nonsense.

  2. Kimberly Hale

    April 10, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I strongly urge everyone to read this carefully. After, you read it read it again. Once you have read and feel you fully understand the nature of its contents take a walk. How many dogs do you see in your neighborhood? Any idea how much those dogs weigh? Are you certain that you can without DNA testing correctly identify the breed of that dog? Can you judge a dogs behavior or personality strictly based on what you see in backyard? Are you familar enough with animal behavior? When passing laws that limit or even porhibit the ownership of specific breeds one must look at human nature. Do you remember the civil rights movement? We were all supposed to learn not to judge a book by its cover! Would you be comfortable saying a black or a mexican could not live in your neighborhood? Breed specific law is animal racism and
    its genocide. What about your overweight beagles? Animal lovers will not stand idly by while our family members are discriminated against. We will stand and fight for fairness. Every pet spayed and neutered. Every pet licensed. Every pet kept indoors. Every pet given an equal chance to live a happy long life. If you are looking to stop a crime stop the breeding. Stop the puppy mills. Stop the cycle of 19,000 animals being put to sleep every 24 hours in the United States. ” For in the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught.” african conservationalist… I believe the author of this bill needs an education!

  3. Wendy

    April 22, 2009 at 7:06 am

    WOW…is this country becoming a communist country? Pretty soon they will tell us when we can shit and when we can’t!

  4. Roxanne

    April 22, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Wendy –
    That is the liberal agenda for you, first they protect the criminals then they take away our rights to defend ourselves…

    All –

    It is not enough to write to these officials – your vote counts. If you are able go to their office with a tape recorder and get them on tape saying that they oppose this legislation, that is the most effective manner to accomplish anything now.

  5. Kim Palma

    May 2, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    I can’t believe how idiotic these people are!

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