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Texas Dog-attack bills pushed

Discussion in 'Laws & Legislation' started by cheekymunkee, Mar 11, 2007.

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  1. cheekymunkee

    cheekymunkee Top Dog

    The resolution to amend the constitution to allow BSL in Texas passed in Garland so we will see where it goes from there. There are a LOT of dog bills up for consideration, some of them very scary. The one calling for BSL is in areas of 3 million people are more ( Houston) but the one Garland would like to see pass is for all cities to be able to make their own laws.


    Dog-attack bills pushed

    Web Posted: 02/20/2007 02:18 AM CST

    Peggy Fikac
    Austin Bureau

    AUSTIN — From a San Antonio girl fatally injured by the pit bull she was trying to help to a young boy mauled to death by two dogs in Harris County to an elderly Milam County woman killed by a canine pack, dog attacks have raised alarm around the state.

    Now, state lawmakers are pushing bills to deal with bad dogs and their owners more harshly and to crack down on people who sell animals by the roadside.

    "It's not anti-dog. It's pro-human. I'm trying to protect humans from being severely injured or killed by these vicious animals," said Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, of his Senate Bill 405 to require tighter control of dogs and to do away with the "one free bite" the animals can inflict before owners face criminal liability.

    Other lawmakers are pushing bills to drastically increase criminal penalties for owners whose dogs cause serious bodily injury or death, currently a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

    The owner of a dog that, unprovoked, kills someone could be charged with a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison under House Bill 1355 by Rep. Dan Gattis, R-Georgetown. Serious injury could draw a third-degree felony charge, punishable by two to 10 years.

    The charges would apply to owners who are criminally negligent or knew a dog was dangerous but failed to secure it.

    "I don't want to put any extra burdens on responsible pet owners that have these animals that are treating them right. I want to put the responsibility on those who are bad actors and are not responsible," Gattis said.

    Lawmakers can cite some terrible recent examples. Gattis calls his proposal, "Lillian's Law," for Lillian Stiles, 76, who was mauled to death in her front yard in Milam County in East Central Texas. The owner of the dogs was charged with criminally negligent homicide, but Gattis said a stronger, more specific law is needed.

    Wentworth said he was asked to act by Stiles' sisters, and he cited the death of 10-year-old Amber Jones, fatally attacked by the dog she was trying to free after its collar got hooked on a chain link fence.

    "We want to see a ban, we want to see these dogs taken out of populated areas," said Sharon Marsh, Amber's aunt.

    Marsh said her family realizes that changing current laws might be an uphill battle.

    "We've been calling it AJ's law," she said of recent proposals. "That's the only thing that keeps us going straight, knowing that a child's death was not in vain and that something good came out of it."

    Under a bill by Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, a dog attack resulting in death could mean a third-degree felony charge for the owner, and a serious-injury attack would be a state jail felony carrying a sentence of up to two years.

    Shapleigh said he was spurred to act after a woman in his district was attacked by two pit bills and hospitalized for weeks. He said he hopes stricter laws can persuade owners to keep dangerous dogs away from people.

    "It shouldn't be when you walk you are in fear for your life," said Shapleigh, who has a list of dog attacks in his Senate colleagues' districts.

    Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, wants to give Harris County the power to ban dangerous pets in Senate Bill 349 and is pushing another measure, Senate Bill 254 that has been expanded to allow the state's four largest counties — Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant — to regulate animal sales by the roadside and in parking lots in unincorporated areas.

    "Dangerous dogs, unvaccinated animals and animals that are not spayed or neutered are commonly distributed on roadsides," Ellis said, calling it an area of the law "where we simply have not focused much attention in the past."

    Local officials applauded the Legislature's attention to the problem.

    "I don't like child predators, whether they're man or animal," said Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack.

    Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said he would welcome the authority to regulate roadside sales of animals, although he's not certain what sort of county manpower he'd need to enforce such regulations.

    "We'd have to come up with a strategy on that," Wolff said, adding he wants a crackdown on owners of dangerous dogs. "We've had too many incidents of serious bites and deaths."

    Animal welfare advocates such as Dallas lawyer Skip Trimble of the Texas Humane Legislation Network don't oppose strong penalties for owners of dangerous dogs but say they want to ensure fairness. Trimble, speaking for himself and not the network, singled out Gattis' measure as one that "seems to balance the interest of the dog owner and public safety."

    Patt Nordyke, executive director of the Texas Federation of Humane Societies, had questions about allowing county commissioners to declare a pet "dangerous," as Ellis wants to do. She called Wentworth's bill "pretty good," but questioned its requirement that a dog be destroyed if its owner is convicted after an attack, rather than leaving that decision to a judge.

    She'd also like to see a statewide crackdown on roadside dog sales.

    "If this would go through as a state law, I would think I just died and went to heaven," she said.

    Nordyke emphasized that the fault for attacks lies with dogs' owners.

    "What I think they need to bear in mind is that there aren't, per se, bad dogs," she said. "There are bad owners. I think there should be more accountability for owners."
    ChiaPit likes this.
  2. cheekymunkee

    cheekymunkee Top Dog


    As far as people to write to, here are the ones in my zipcode that I have been bombarding. edit to add websites, email them there.

    Garland, TX
    Dallas County

    Governor Rick Perry
    Office of the Governor
    P.O. Box 12428
    Austin, Texas 78711-2428
    Office of the Governor Fax: (512) 463-1849

    Texas U.S. Senators
    U.S. Senators represent the entire state. Texas' current U.S. Senators are Senator John Cornyn and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. See their websites for current contact information.

    Texas U.S. Representative
    Congressional District 5--Congressman Jeb Hensarling
    District Address: 132 CANNON HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING
    Phone: (202) 225-3484
    District Offices

    100 E. Corsicana St., Ste. 208
    Athens, TX 77571
    Phone: (903) 675-8288

    6510 Abrams Road, Ste 243
    Dallas, TX 75231
    Phone: (214) 349-9996

    Texas State Senator
    Senate District 2--Senator Bob Deuell
    Capitol Office: EXT E1.706
    Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0102
    Capitol Address: P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station
    Austin, TX 78711
    District Address: 18601 LBJ Freeway, Ste. 400
    Mesquite TX 75150
    Phone: (972) 279-1800
    State District Offices

    Texas State Representatives
    House District 113--Representative Joe Driver
    Capitol Office: CAP 4S.6
    Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0574
    Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
    Austin, TX 78768
    District Address: 201 South Glenbrook Dr.
    Garland TX 75040
    Phone: (972) 276-1556

    House District 107--Representative Allen Vaught
    Capitol Office: EXT E2.404
    Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0244
    Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
    Austin, TX 78768
    District Address: P.O. Box 2910
    Austin TX 78768

    House District 101--Representative Thomas R. Latham
    Capitol Office: EXT E1.312
    Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0464
    Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
    Austin, TX 78768
    District Address: P.O. Box 2910
    Austin TX 78768
  3. simms

    simms CH Dog

    As much as I hate to see this coming. I'm also releived in a sense that they will be cracking down on road side sales....I suspect that all the trade days will be next, newspaper ads.

    close the circles folks.....this breed is not for everyone! The use of verifiable refferences are critical! If you cant Cull,dont breed .....leave it to those that can and will.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2007
  4. Scratchy

    Scratchy Guest

    Damn Garland is in Dallas County and I live in Dallas County. I'm close to Richardson. We don't have many problems with dogs where I'm at, but I do have to say that people like my neighbor who has a bulldog that had 4 pups keeps getting loose and I even took him to home depot to buy stuff to repair his fence and secure his dogs and somehow they still manage to break free.:confused: Anyway, I'm not worried about it because I pay my rent on my property and my landlord is very opposed to many laws. Hell he loves my dogs and never made me pay for having them here. When we first looked at this house he said that the yard would be big enough if we had any dogs. In a few years I see America being strictly a communist country. A 3rd world country indeed.

    NOTE: I had to vent
  5. cheekymunkee

    cheekymunkee Top Dog

    Trade days & Flea Markets SHOULD be next! You can go there & buy any breed of parvo ridden dog you can think of. That is one thing I am happy about, I am sick of seeing "PITT BULL PUPPYES" on the back of pick ups with a mangy, wormy puppies running around in Walmart parking lots.

    And Scratchy, you better be DAMNED worried about it! What your landlord thinks isn't going to matter once the city steps in & makes him raise your fence to comply & you are forced to take out a huge insurance policy on your dog just to be able to keep it or any number of things they can force upon us if we sit back & let them. Rent, own or homeless, this will affect ALL of us. The bill that Ellis is pushing is only for larger cities such as Houston or Dallas but there are some on the table that would allow BSL in ANY town.

    Write or email the people I listed! Use this link to find out who represents you & make your voice heard! FIGHT FOR YOUR DOGS!! If you need sample letters to send, let me know & I will post some tomorrow. The worst thing you could do is sit back & do nothing. My dogs & my rights to own them mean more to me than that.

  6. simms

    simms CH Dog

    Sample letters would be great. spring break and this is my busy season. thanks for what your doing!
  7. cheekymunkee

    cheekymunkee Top Dog

    No problem. I've owned this breed too damned long to let some yahoo in a suit take them from me. I'll post some up in just a it.
  8. cheekymunkee

    cheekymunkee Top Dog

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The Honorable .....
    city, state, zip


    Dear Representative (last name),

    This letter is in response to the proposed legislation regarding regulating vicious dogs with use of breed specific legislation in the state of Texas.

    To say "Pit Bulls", Rottweilers and other specific breeds are dangerous does not address the real problem - irresponsible owners.

    The State of Texas could better address the root cause of the problem by increasing funding for local animal control departments, animal shelters, education, and spay/neuter programs. Local governments clearly need more funding and manpower in order to enforce leash laws and to reduce the number of abused, neglected and homeless animals. ANY dog can become a problem for the public if the dog is allowed to run loose and is not supervised.

    Under breed-specific laws, criminal, neglectful owners continue to own and mistreat "Pit Bulls" and Rottweilers because this element of society does not care about liability insurance or the law. Or, they will just find another type of dog to abuse.

    (Optional: A brief explanation of how this affects your family. If you are a constituent - a person residing in the distinct - say so)

    The state of Texas needs non-breed specific legislation that is competent to regulate the irresponsible owners and protect those who maintain their dogs safely and humanely. As a responsible owner, I ask you to seriously consider the impact of breed-specific legislation.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns regarding this issue.

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Sincerely,[/font]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif](your name)[/font]


    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]To say "Pit Bulls", Rottweilers and other specific breeds are dangerous does not address the real problem - irresponsible owners. [/font]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Let's address the root cause of the problem by increasing funding for local animal control departments, animal shelters, education, and spay/neuter programs. The neighborhood where this tragedy occurred clearly needs more resources to enforce leash laws and to reduce the number of abused, neglected and homeless animals. ANY dog can become a problem for the public if the dog is allowed to run loose and is not supervised. [/font]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Under breed-specific laws, criminal, neglectful owners continue to own and mistreat "Pit Bulls" and Rottweilers because this element of society does not care about liability insurance or the law. Or, they will just find another type of dog to abuse...[/font]

    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]88888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888[/font]

    The Honorable John Q. Official
    State Capital

    Re: House/Sentate Bill No. [or] Proposed orginance on

    Dear :

    I am writing to you about House/Senate Bill No. [or] the proposed ordinance on [specify details of ordinance]. I am strongly opposed to this [bill/ordinance] and ask that you vote against it. Passage of this bill will not address the root cause of the problem, and it will have a negative impact on responsible, law abiding dog owners while those who do not abide by the law will simply continue to do so.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.



    [font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][/font]
    simms likes this.
  9. cheekymunkee

    cheekymunkee Top Dog

    Dear :

    I am writing in response to the pending resolution regarding regulations specific to [targeted breed] with the use of breed specific legislation in [your town].

    ANY dog can become a problem for the public if the dog is allowed to run loose and is not supervised. The key word is responsible. Webster's definition of responsibility is: Being legally or ethically accountable for the welfare or care of another. To say [targeted breed] are dangerous does not address the real problem - irresponsible owners.

    Please reconsider and retract your breed specific resolution. Please do not punish responsible owners who maintain their dogs as companions and members of the family; dogs that do not pose a threat to anyone. Why should we be punished simply because irresponsible owners of the same breed of dog have not "ethically and legally" protected others from injury?

    Please provide our community with non-breed specific legislation that is competent to regulate the irresponsible owners and protect those who maintain their dogs safely and humanely. Please provide definitions for vicious and/or potentially dangerous with measurable actions which cannot be questioned or misinterpreted due to bias.

    The irresponsible owners do not care what breed of dog they lose the right to own - they'll find another breed of dog to fit their needs. As a responsible owner, I ask you to seriously consider the impact of breed-specific legislation.


    Dear :

    To be useful, legislation must be effective, enforceable, economical, and reasonably fair. Recently, a resolution has been placed before you that fails all of these tests. This legislation is motivated by fear and lack of relevant knowledge. It is discriminatory, impractical, and unenforceable. Worst of all, it will not solve the problem. I urge you to vote against it.

    The proposed bill would restrict the ownership of certain types of dogs, specifically [targeted breed]. These breeds have been the subject of irresponsible and sensationalist reporting across the country. The media and the inexperienced would have you believe that these breeds are vicious and should be prohibited.

    The plain fact is that there is no relationship between the type of the dog and the number of incidents. If your town has 100 German Shepherds and 1 Poodle, you'll soon learn that the German Shepherds are responsible for 100 times as many incidents as the Poodles. Does this mean that German Shepherds are intrinsically vicious? Of course not.

    Taken as a whole, [targeted breed] have proven their stability and good canine citizenry by becoming 'Search & Rescue dogs, Therapy dogs working inside hospitals, and family companions for years. A five year study published in the Cincinnati Law Review in 1982, vol. 53, pg 1077, which specifically considered both Rottweilers and "pit bulls," concluded in part that: - statistics do not support the assertion that any one breed was dangerous, - when legislation is focused on the type of dog it fails, because it is ... unenforceable, confusing, and costly. - focusing legislation on dogs that are "vicious" distracts attention from the real problem, which is irresponsible owners.

    In light of the studies, the facts, and the discriminatory nature of the proposed legislation, we urge you to take the following actions:

    1. Reject the current legislation, which is contrary to fact and distracts from the real issue: responsible ownership.

    2. Work to establish reasonable guidelines for responsible pet ownership, and encourage legislation that supports owner responsibility without reference to specific breeds.

    Study after study shows that ANY dog, regardless of breed, will be whatever its owner makes of it....nothing more, nothing less. Owners can and should take responsibility for their pets. We suggest that the appropriate policy is "blame the owner, not the dog." If a dog attacks a person, the law should treat it as though the owner attacked that person.

    Voting for this proposal as it stands will harm both the law abiding, responsible dog owners and the victims, but it won't solve anything.

  10. cheekymunkee

    cheekymunkee Top Dog

    If you know someone on this board who is from Texas but may not see this thread ( and even if their not), pm it to them. Email these posts to everyone you know, get them involved! Let's send out a message (NICELY PLEASE) that we ain't putting up with this shit. ;)
  11. miakoda

    miakoda GRCH Dog

    I'm writing a letter & going to use an aunt & uncle's address. ;)
  12. Scratchy

    Scratchy Guest

    Sorry you're so upset but I'm a big believer that Americas screwy politicians will do what they please regardless of what we want. IMO, money is the only motivator. We wont get into my political views, but say what you will, I'll do all I can to ensure the privacy of my property and my family because all my life my family has stuck by me and vice versa. Where were these MFs' when my cousin went strangely missing, or when my uncle died by a hit and run. Still all unsolved cases. Guess what, my dogs on my property will be one more unsolved case. The reason I took a OTH from the Corp is because when I needed some of my Marines to assist me with a very minor problem, they weren't there. I started to see a trend. This government thinks they can keep taking from us and not give anything. I want to be free. Fuck freedom!

    BTW: I'm not living in an area with snooty people. My neighbors all around me mind there own business and the reason I mentioned my landlord is because he could care less about any stupid laws
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2007
  13. cheekymunkee

    cheekymunkee Top Dog

    Thanks Mia!

    Scratchy, I am NOT upset. It's called reality & it is the reality that we are facing. I am telling you what is very likely to happen. Like the laws or hate them, if they knock on your door there will not be a damn thing you or your landlord can do about it but stand there & watch them take your dogs for non-complience. Sit back & watch it happen if you want but do NOT cry about it if they do ever knock on your door. It doesn't matter what your neighbors are like. My neighbors LOVE my dogs & would never cause harm to come to one of them. But, I do not put it past AC or Code Enforcement to sit in the alley watching people's yards. I fight for my rights, you don't want to? That's on you.

    We were VERY successful in beating Ellis' bill last year, we just have to do it again. The laws WILL change, we just have to keep BSL out of the picture.

    Believe me, I DO understand what you are saying but face it. Freedom? That went out the door with the Patriot Act.
  14. Scratchy

    Scratchy Guest

    If you think a few letters and words of discouragement will help then go ahead and while you're at it, might as well stuff the envelope with some benjamins for a little incentive. Let them knock on my door and let them watch my yard. That doesn't mean they're guaranteed to get to my dogs. Regardless of how this has effected someone else I don't so many dogs that I can't bring them in. I have two as of now and if a few months it will be three. I can keep three dogs in my house. It's big enough and by the way, no-one can see through my fence or over it unless they get a ladder and my dogs let me know when someone is even walking across the street. You can say I supervise their every move. I'm sorry for those who aren't as fortunate to do so, but I am. Like I said I'm sorry this is happeneing and I hate to see people affected by it, but we're all different in how we fight or battles. GL!
  15. cheekymunkee

    cheekymunkee Top Dog

    Yeah, we ARE all different, some of us stand up & fight for our rights, some of us roll over & play dead. And you know what? Letters DO help! So do votes. By banding together & fighting for our rights we defeated one of these bills last year and we very well might do it again this year. You REALLY need to wake up to the reality this breed faces. It is obvious you really don't know the impact BSL has on us as pit bull owners. You might just want to utilize google & see that reality for yourself, or you can sit back, do nothing & let the government lead you around by the nose & take even MORE rights from you. As for me & my dogs, we don't go down without a fight. I love this breed too much to cur.
  16. Scratchy

    Scratchy Guest

    I wouldn't ASSume what someone you never met knows or doesn't know. I stand where I am and fight my fights different. I know my rights are always going to be in question. Hell, I don't even know all of them now, seeing as how they add new laws whenever they damn well please. Like I said, I have my ways to make sure that I can still have my dogs no matter what and if no-one else does then that's them. I do hate to see people affected by BSL, but from my experience letters and phone calls seem to never work. Hell even rallying hasn't helped. Like I said don't assume what one knows or hasn't been through.
  17. cheekymunkee

    cheekymunkee Top Dog

    So, how do you fight? What have you found to be an effective way to fight BSL? I am really curious, as is EBA, ADOA and many other organizations that exist SOLELY to fight BSL & protect the rights of dog owners. Please, let them know what they are doing wrong & that they are wasting their time. You might want to let Marty know that as well, being as he IS the EBA contact for his area.
  18. Scratchy

    Scratchy Guest

    Please, once again do not assume. I haven't said that anybodys way is wrong. I'm just stating that I simply will not adhere to any of the negative laws pertaining to this breed. Law makers have the last word regardless of what the people say. I just that you do not place words in my mouth through making assumptions or exaggerating what I've said. Thanks!
  19. ChiaPit

    ChiaPit Top Dog

    Cheeky, thanks for all the info, I have sent and will continue to send letters opposing BSL. I may only have one dog that is currently targeted, and not a yard but I will fight just as hard for those with yards as I will fight for her... I think when we become divided and see ourselves only as one and quit seeing the big picture is when we allow our rights to be taken away.

    As far as the rest of my opinion, I will keep it to myself.
  20. cheekymunkee

    cheekymunkee Top Dog

    And I did not assume anything, I asked you a question. YOU stated in your post "but from my experience letters and phone calls seem to never work. Hell even rallying hasn't helped." I simply asked how you fight ( since you stated you did ) & what you have found to be an effective way to fight BSL.

    And, if it DIDN'T help, BSL would have already been a reality for us. As I have stated repeatedly we won this battle last year. Had we kept silent it would have passed.

    And, like it or not, you don't HAVE to adhere to any laws. They will take care of that for you. It will not matter if you have one dog or one hundred.

    You chose not to write letters, send emails & call? No problem, don't do it. But do NOT discourage people who work their asses off fighting for YOUR rights to own YOUR dogs.
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