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The Texas House County Affairs Committee offer only vague definitions of the term “vicious dog” in new Bill 1982.

On Monday April 6, The Texas House County Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on House Bill 1982, a measure that would impose numerous new restrictions on dog owners and offer only vague definitions of the term “vicious dog”. 

The American Kennel Club supports reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs.  The AKC also believes that dog owners should be responsible for their dogs. Many of the provisions in HB 1982, however, are unnecessary and vague.  This legislation would unreasonably impact many responsible dog owners. 

AKC has many concerns with HB 1982, including, but not limited to: 

  • Vague definitions of “vicious dog”, including a dog that “because of the dog’s physical nature and vicious propensity is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury…”  The AKC supports laws that establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as “dangerous” based on stated, measurable actions.  The language in HB 1982 implies that dogs are by nature vicious and would likely result in unfairly labeling dogs that have not caused harm.
  • Limitations on ownership of “vicious” dogs, including requiring someone to be at least 21 years old to own a “vicious” dog.  It also includes prohibitions on allowing vicious dogs in public parks or schools, even on a leash.  The AKC supports laws that establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous.  The vague definitions in HB 1982, however, would likely result in limitations on responsible owners with well-behaved dogs.
  • Requirements that all residents of a city with a population of 1 million or more people keep any dog that weighs over 40 pounds on a leash in immediate control of a person, or kept inside a residence or a secure enclosure.  The AKC believes all dog owners should be responsible for their dogs and comply with local animal control lawsBasic leash, nuisance, and animal control laws should apply to all dogs, regardless of size.

 How You Can Help 

  • Attend the House County Affairs Committee hearing on Monday, April 6.  Ask the committee to oppose House Bill 1982.  The hearing information is as follows:

Texas House County Affairs Committee

Monday, April 6, 2009 2:00 p.m.
Room E2.130

Texas State Capitol

N. Congress Avenue
(between 11th and 15th Streets)

Austin, Texas
 

  • If you are unable to attend the hearing, contact the members of the County Affairs Committee and ask them to oppose House Bill 1982.  The contact information is as follows:

Representative Garnet Coleman (Chair)
Phone: (512) 463-0524
Fax: (512) 463-1260
Click here to send an e-mail to Representative Coleman

 Representative Geanie Morrison (Vice-Chair)
Phone: (512) 463-0456
Fax: (512) 476-3933
Click here to send an e-mail to Representative Morrison

 Representative Leo Berman
Phone: (512) 463-0584
Fax: (512) 463-3217
Click here to send an e-mail to Representative Berman

 Representative Valinda Bolton
Phone: (512) 463-0652
Fax: (512) 463-0565
Click here to send an e-mail to Representative Bolton

 Representative Joaquin Castro
Phone: (512) 463-0669
Fax: (512) 463-5074
Click here to send an e-mail to Representative Castro

 Representative John Davis
Phone: (512) 463-0734
Fax: (512) 479-6955
Click here to send an e-mail to Representative Davis

 Representative Marisa Marquez
Phone: (512) 463-0638
Fax: (512) 463-8908
Click here to send an e-mail to Representative Marquez

Representative Ralph Sheffield
Phone: (512) 463-0630
Fax: (512) 322-9054
Click here to send an e-mail to Representative Sheffield

 Representative Wayne Smith
Phone: (512) 463-0733
Fax: (512) 463-1323
Click here to send an e-mail to Representative Smith

 

For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail doglaw@akc.org

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