Texas Humane Legislation Network
For immediate release: May 31, 2003
For more information contact:  Cile Holloway (972) 668-9962 or (214) 537-3531
or Robert "Skip" Trimble (214) 855-2960 or (214) 212-5736
Texas Animal Felony Cruelty Law in Crisis
The "Loco" Law Could be Repealed
Austin, TX -- An unfriendly amendment to repeal a landmark animal protection law has been tacked on to a House bill that was written to protect animals.  If this amendment passes, the "Loco" bill, also known as the Animal Felony Cruelty bill, signed into law on June 6, 2002 by Governor Rick Perry, will be repealed and even the most egregious acts of animal cruelty will once again be reduced to a misdemeanor offense in Texas. 
House Bill 1119, sponsored by State. Rep. Toby Goodman (R-Arlington), is a bill intended to assist county and municipal authorities in their efforts to seize animals that are being starved or otherwise cruelly treated. This bill facilitates seizure of the animals, shortens the judicial process, and allows counties and municipalities to recover their court costs and other expenses related to the seizures. The bill in its original form laid out by Rep. Goodman was endorsed by both county and municipal governments. 
Recently, however, an amendment was placed on HB 1119 by Senator Kyle Janek to repeal the 2002 Animal Felony Cruelty law. Aggravated acts of animal cruelty that are now punishable by state jail sentences under current law include: torturing, killing, seriously injuring, or poisoning an animal; causing one animal to fight with another; using a live animal as a lure in dog race training or in dog coursing on a race track. 
One of the most influential special interest lobbyists in Austin is actively working Senate Conference Committee members, urging them to keep the amendment on HB 1119.  He is said to be telling Committee members "If you kick a dog, you could be convicted of a felony, so we need this amendment."  It is obvious that the 2002 Cruelty law is written to address acts of a much more serious nature. 
"Who's interest does it serve to repeal the Animal Felony Cruelty law other than people who profit from criminal activities involving animals such as cock fighting or dog fighting?" questioned Cile Holloway, president of the Texas Humane Legislation Network. "The repeal of this law would be a great injustice not only to the animals, but to descent, law abiding citizens whose pets could become victims of cruelty," she added.