MAC needs your help to oppose HB 1046

houseHB 1046, the bill that would allow appeals in civil seizure cases involving cruelty to animals will be heard before the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee at 2:00 pm, Monday, March 16, 2009, in Room E2.010, the Capitol Extension Building, Austin, Texas.

Thank you to those who responded to our original Action Alert to oppose this bill. Your calls, letters and emails have been duly noted by the members of the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee and are having a BIG impact. Now’s the chance to put the final nail in this bill’s coffin!!

Background
Under current law when law enforcement officers seize cruelly treated animals the trial to determine whether or not the owner will be divested of ownership is held within 10 days in a Municipal or Justice of the Peace Court and the decision of that court is final and not appealable. HB 1046 will change that and allow the owner to appeal the Municipal or Justice Court’s decision and get an entirely new trial.

Action Needed
Please contact or re-contact the members of the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee and ask them to oppose HB 1046. A sample email is below if you need help getting started. Also, if possible, please come to Austin to sign in as opposing this bill. You will not be asked to testify, all you have to do is sign a card and turn it in to the clerk.

Talking Points

$HB 1046 will make the seizure and disposition of cruelly treated animals by law enforcement officers much more difficult and much more expensive.

– If this bill passes, many small towns and lesser populated counties (where starving horses and puppy mills most often are) will not have the resources to pursue these types of cases.

– Allowing appeals will cause additional expense to the cities and counties to keep and care for the animals during the appeal process which could last for months. Also during this time, the seized animals (which often total in the hundreds and are almost always malnourished and sick) will suffer longer and cannot be adopted or, when necessary, be euthanized.

– Taxpayers should not have to pay the expense of keeping cruelly treated animals.

Contact Information
The members of the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee and their contact information is as follows:

Representatives Email 512 Phone/Fax

Todd Hunter (Chair) todd.hunter@house.state.tx.us 463-0672/463-2101

Bryan Hughes (Vice-Chair)bryan.hughes@house.state.tx.us 463-0271/463-1515

Roberto Alonzo roberto.alonzo@house.state.tx.us 463-0408/463-1817

Dan Branch dan.branch@house.state.tx.us 463-0367/322-9935

Will Hartnett will.hartnett@house.state.tx.us 463-0576/463-7827

Jim Jackson jim.jackson@house.state.tx.us 463-0468/463-1044

David Leibowitz david.leibowitz@house.state.tx.us 463-0269/320-0555

Tryon Lewis tryon.lewis@house.state.tx.us 463-0546/463-8067

Jerry Madden jerry.madden@house.state.tx.us 463-0544/463-9974

Armando “Mando” Martinez mando.martinez@house.state.tx.us 463-0530/463-0849

Beverly Woolley beverly.woolley@house.state.tx.us 463-0696/463-9333

PLEASE CALL, WRITE/FAX OR EMAIL EACH OF THEM TO OPPOSE THE BILL. ASK YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS TO DO THE SAME. AS ALWAYS, PLEASE BE COURTEOUS AND POLITE WHEN COMMUNICATING WITH THE REPRESENTATIVE AND THEIR STAFF.

Thank you for speaking out for the animals of Texas.

Elaine Munch, President
Metroplex Animal Coalition

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As it stands now, when law enforcement officers seize cruelly treated animals the trial to determine whether or not the owner will be divested of ownership is held within 10 days in a Municipal or Justice of the Peace Court and the decision of that court is final and not appealable. HB 1046 will change that and allow the owner to appeal the Municipal or Justice Court’s decision and get an entirely new trial.

HB 1046 will make the seizure and disposition of cruelly treated animals by law enforcement officers much more difficult and much more expensive. That’s a big problem. If this bill passes, many small towns and lesser populated counties (where starving horses and puppy mills most often are) will not have the resources to pursue these types of cases and the cruelty and associated criminal activities will flourish.

In the short term, allowing appeals will cause additional expense to the cities and counties to keep and care for the animals during the appeal process which could last for months. Also during this time, the seized animals (which often total in the hundreds and are almost always malnourished and sick) will suffer longer and cannot be adopted or, when necessary, be euthanized. Further, they’ll clog our municipal shelters and our animal services departments will be unable to do what they should be focused on – rounding up stray and aggressive dogs and providing temporary shelter for homeless animals.

And finally there is the question of money. Taxpayers should not have to pay the expense of keeping cruelly treated animals. InDallas, the cost for housing a healthy homeless animal for 72 hours is about $150. Imagine what the cost would be to care for abused, injured, frightened animals in need of extensive vet care for days, weeks, even months. Don’t place that burden on the taxpayer. Not when the owners of these animals have already been given their day in court.

PLEASE oppose HB 1046!

Thank you for your time and your efforts on behalf of the great state of Texas!

Jane Doe
Dallas, Texas

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