Animal lovers everywhere should rejoice at this new law that has gone in effect, although some might argue it doesn’t go far enough in punishing those convicted of harming defenseless animals.
The Texas law bans anyone convicted of animal abuse from owning an animal for five years after the first conviction. State Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, authored the bill.
How might it be strengthened? Well, the law allows the offender to live in the same house with an animal; that’s a non-starter, for me at least. The five-year ban might be too lax as well, particularly if the offender is convicted of a particularly heinous crime.
The law does contain some provisions to impose against chronic offenders of the prohibition. According to the Texas Tribune: If an offender is found to have an animal during those five years, they could be charged with a Class C misdemeanor, or as much as a $500 fine. If the offender is repeatedly in possession of an animal, the charge is raised to a Class B misdemeanor, increasing the possible fine to $2,000 and adding the possibility of up to 180 days in jail.
I am an unabashed lover of animals. I love dogs and cats. I have been a “parent” to both species. At this moment, I am Daddy to Toby the Puppy and Granddaddy to two kitties, Marlowe and Macy; all of these family members are living with me. I also have two more grandpuppies who live in Allen with my son and his family.
This is a serious law and I am glad to see it on the books. I congratulate Rep. Shaheen for sticking with it through two legislative sessions.
There might be reason down the road to toughen it up. For now, this is a good start in protecting our precious furry friends.