Texas animal advocacy groups are applauding the introduction of legislation that will ensure the humane care and treatment of dogs and cats in the custody of large scale commercial breeders.
The Large Scale Commercial Breeder Bill, HB1451, is supported by The Texas Humane Legislation Network, The Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®). The bill would establish animal welfare standards for large scale commercial breeders producing puppies and kittens for sale in pet stores, directly to the public and via the Internet.
The bill has the support of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association.
“Veterinarians believe Texans should have the right to choose where they obtain their pets, whether from a responsible breeder, shelter or rescue group. However, veterinarians would also like to see some basic compassionate care standards put in place for the currently unregulated commercial breeding industry that preserve the freedom to do business, while guaranteeing the care necessary to create healthy, well-balanced companion animals and beloved family pets,” said Elizabeth Choate, director of Government Relations at TVMA.
Texas has no existing laws regulating commercial breeding operations, which can house animals in overcrowded, filthy and inhumane conditions, often with no veterinary care or human interaction. The bill applies to operations with 11 or more adult intact female dogs or cats bred for the purpose of selling the offspring.
“Hundreds of commercial breeders operate entirely free of state oversight, and the breeding dogs and cats at these facilities are vulnerable to neglect and abuse,” said Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, the bill sponsor. “Texas can and should do better for our companion animals.”
The bill requires commercial breeders to obtain a license from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and allows TDLR to conduct inspections. It requires wholesome food and clean water, proper ventilation and lighting for animals confined indoors, and structurally sound and protective shelter for animals confined outdoors. The bill also ensures adequate sanitation conditions, provides confined animals enough space to easily sit, stand, turn around and lie down in a normal manner, and requires appropriate treatment and veterinary care.
Also supporting the bill is a Girl Scout Troop from Corinth, Texas. They are speaking out against puppy mill cruelty and collecting signatures to present to lawmakers urging them to pass legislation to regulate this industry.
Also, several hundred Texans are expected to lobby elected officials Thursday in the annual lobby day set up by THLN, The HSUS, and ASPCA.
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