Message from RPOA HB 2981

**Please make sure you read the comments on this bill from someone I consider a well versed expert on animal shelter issues.

TX-RPOA E-News
>From RPOA Texas Outreach and
Responsible Pet Owners Alliance
Crossposting is encouraged.
April 21, 2013

Re: TX HB 2981 breaks new ground in many ways and gives cities legal
ownership of impounded animals “vested absolutely after a hold period” –
length not defined. And regulates rescuers for the first time in state law.

George Armstrong, chairman of our RPOA Austin Area Chapter, testified
Tuesday (April 17) on our behalf at public hearings expressing RPOA support
of HB 2981 by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, relating to the procedures and duties of
animal shelters and rescue organizations, and HB 3749 by Rep. Jessica
Farrar, relating to the guidelines for animal shelters.

Then we were informed that the Introduced Bill HB 2981 was simply a “place
holder” and we were unable to obtain a copy of the 13 page Committee
Substitute Bill immediately. So we’re back to “tentative” support while we
study the “real” bill. The state website still doesn’t have the substitute
bill nor the Witness List posted but Rep. Rodriguez’ office can be contacted
for a copy at the state’s website: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us

RPOA is an “Alliance” in the truest sense of the word as we wear many hats
in Texas. As an “umbrella” organization, our membership includes many other
IRS 501 (C)(3) organizations.

The first thing we did upon organizing in 1991 was to form a network of AKC
purebred dog rescuers — individuals who did not want their breed
relinquished to animal shelters and ultimately be killed. We quickly
expanded the program to form the only statewide All Species Purebred Rescue
of Unwanted Pets in the U.S. Our rescuers are not “animal rights”
extremists dedicated to ending ALL breeding of pets! We support responsible
breeders who love and care for their animals.

Our Rescue List can be found at: www.responsiblepetowners.org . For more
information on this program, contact our new Rescue Chairman Juan Vasquez at
Vunveq@aol.com .

We could write a book about our experiences with humane societies (no
affiliations with HSUS!) and municipal shelters, especially San Antonio
Animal Care Services, whose director once told us they want to keep the
purebreds to “make their facility look better.” Our problems are legion.

Will a new state law change things? Or will there be “unintended
consequences” as usual, such as fewer rescue groups taking in dogs or cats
from city animal shelters to relieve their burden as this bill claims?

RPOA was not contacted by anyone about HB 2981, which appears to have been
written by Best Friends Animal Society in Utah and promoted by two Texas
lobbyists. The bill reflects municipal interests more than the rescuers who
are defined as IRS 501 (C)(3) organizations only. Particularly disturbing
is the proposed wording: “On expiration of the hold period [length
undefined], ownership of the animal vests absolutely in the animal shelter.”
Situations sometimes occur in life when owners aren’t even aware their
dog/cat has been impounded by city shelters nor that the shelters exist and
where they are located.

We are seeking feedback from rescuers in the state as to how this bill will
affect them before taking a definite position. Contact us at rpoa@texas.net
.__________________________________________________________

I interpret this as a possible BAD BILL but I’m not well versed in shelter issues and not certain exactly how far they can carry this towards the ‘animal rights issue’ ..I will send in my response to RPOA and others to see if my concern is shared…

Disclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinion of others…Stay tuned  -B

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~ by topcatsroar on April 22, 2013.

2 Responses to “Message from RPOA HB 2981”

  1. The intent of HB 2981 is to make it unlawful for a public animal shelter to kill an animal when a qualified rescue group is willing to save him/her. For anyone who has worked in rescue, we all know that kill shelters kill animals that people have offered to save. It happens all the time. I’ve heard so many stories like this that I’ve lost count. BARC used to have a vet nicknames “Dr. Death” who would kill animals simply out of spite if she did not like the rescue who was trying to save the animals. This kind of thing has even happened to me.

    I wrote about it here:
    and here: http://anokilladvocate.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/rescuers-your-input-is-needed-to-convince-texas-legislators-to-save-lives/

    Kill shelters have too much power and can do pretty much anything they want with animals once they are in their clutches. This bill is trying to put brakes on some shelter killing.

    Texas desperately needs more laws that regulate shelters and protect the animals. Right now, about the only thing Texas law states is when and how they can be killed. We need a lot more than this.

    HB 2981 would also make it illegal for any animal shelter to kill an animal based on its breed, age, or appearance when a qualified adopter is ready and willing to adopt it. This would particular affect Pit Bulls type dogs who are slaughtered more often than other breeds. This is also desperately needed.

    I wrote more about this bill here:
    http://anokilladvocate.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/action-alert-please-take-a-few-moments-to-help-save-shelter-pets-in-texas/

    This bill would also require that kill shelters give rescuers at least 24 hours notice that an animal is at risk of being killed to give them time to pull the animals. Pretty common sense stuff but a lot of kill shelters do not do this. They just kill, kill, kill,

    This bill is not aimed at rescue groups. That was never the intent. However, all the kill shelter directors and their supporters are fighting this bill. They have made up all sorts of excuses to fight it because if it passes, they know that they will lose a little bit of power to slaughter shelter pets.

    They have claimed that they “never” turn down rescue offers, which is an absolute lie.

    They have also claimed that a huge number of rescuers are hoarders. We also know that this is a lie.

    They have also said things like “if we are ‘forced’ to turn an animal over to a rescue group, we can protect it”. It doesn’t seem to matter that, under this scenario, the only other option is DEATH. The animal will be DEAD.

    In order to try to “appease” the opposition of kill shelters, they have created a few requirements for the rescue groups such as being a 501c3.

    Houston alone is killing approximately 80,000 animals per year and every year rescuers are turned down while kill shelters kill those animals. Dogs that look like Pit Bulls are NEVER given a chance at adoption at 3 of the 5 kill shelters in Houston. They are just systematically killed.

    Personally, I think a few requirements of rescue groups is worth it to potentially give them legal rights to save hundreds of thousands more shelter pets in Texas.

  2. BTW: The vesting of ownership clause was added because kill shelters have claimed that the reason that they do not vaccinate shelter pets is they are not the “owner”. Anyone who works in shelters knows that vaccinations, on intake or very early after intake, is crucial to keeping the spread of disease down. As we know, once a shelter pet gets sick in a kill shelter, they are dead. So, vaccinating saves lives in many ways.

    Personally, I do not believe the kill shelter directors excuses that this is why they have not been vaccinating. I believe that a large number of them just do not care. They plan to kill most of the animals anyway, so why bother to vaccinate.

    But, again the kill shelters are throwing out anything they can think of to fight this bill, because it will force them to save more lives.

    As an example, at a stakeholder meeting, one kill shelter director said he was opposed to the bill because “if this bill passes, the community will expect us to save more lives.”

    Heaven forbid the community expect him to do his job.

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