New animal welfare laws are in effect 

by SOURCE Texas Humane Legislation Network

Austin—Three new animal welfare bills became Texas law on Sept. 1. During the 2023 legislative session, the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN) advocated for all three bills: SB 876, HB 4164, and HB 598. 

“With the passage of three monumental bills, Texas is taking a giant step forward to making our state more humane for thousands of animals and the families they belong to,” Shelby Bobosky, executive director of THLN, said. “We could not be more thankful to the dedicated lawmakers who authored these bills, the thousands of advocates who supported these bills, and legislators in both chambers who voted for them.”

The three laws are as follows: 

-SB 876 by Senators Flores and Whitmire and Representative Buckley reforms and strengthens the Texas Licensed Breeders Program and will prevent animal cruelty from happening in large-scale breeding facilities before it begins.

-HB 4164 by Representative Cortez and Senator Whitmire defines a service animal as one specially trained to assist a person with a disability. The law also increases the fine for masquerading an untrained pet as a service animal from $300 to $1000, and fraudsters might face 30 hours of community service for organizations serving persons with disabilities.

-HB 598 by Representative Shaheen and Senate Sponsor Whitmire prevents previous perpetrators of animal cruelty from possessing a companion animal and establishes an enhanced offense for repeat offenders to prevent future violence.

“While there is always more to achieve in the realm of animal welfare, Texans should be proud of this progress and look forward to what’s to come in the next few years,” Bobosky said. “As always, THLN remains a voice for Texas animals, as well as a resource to help Texans understand and abide by these new laws.” 

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