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TX: Way to Go!!!

Discussion in 'Dog Ordinances & Laws' started by simms, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. simms

    simms Good Dog

    Today is a great day and a Victory for Justice for all Texas animal owners !!!

    Senate Bill 408 (Amended with HB 1046): Provides Appeals for All Texas Animal Owners in Cruelty Seizures.

    This is a great day for Texas animal owners! Senate Bill 408 now officially includes HB 1046 and will make available an appeal to all Texas animal owners if their animals are seized based on alleged cruelty. It will go into effect on September 1, 2009 for all cases on that day or later.

    HB 1046 was intended to correct an injustice in the current law that provides if an owner's animals are seized and at the hearing are awarded to a humane organization or ordered killed, then there is no appeal. Appeals are currently only available if the animals are oredered sold at auction.

    HB 1046 was amended to Senate Bill 408 and has now officially become a part of that Bill because all ten (10) conferees (five from the House and five from the Senate) signed off on its addition!

    Here is how the new law works:

    1. An appeal is available to any owner who is divested of ownership of his/her animals in a Cruelty Seizure hearing. This is true if the animals are ordered auctioned, given to a humane organization or euthanized. This is new because it allows for appeals for animals ordered to be given to humane organizations or ordered euthanized.

    2. The owner has 10 days to appeal from the time the Order divesting him/her of ownership is issued. (This is a new time limit.)

    3. The appeal is to a county court or a county court at law. (This is like the current law for appeals of animals ordered auctioned.)

    4. The owner must give notice of appeal and post a bond in an amount that the court from which the appeal is taken determines is adequate for the care and housing of the animals during the appeal. (This is a pre-requisite to the appeal and is like what is currently required for owners who can appeal if their animals are ordered auctioned.)

    5. Once the owner has given notice and posted bond, then the court must provide the transcript within 5 calendar days to the county court or the county court at law to which the appeal is made. (This is a new time limit.)

    6. Once the court to which the appeal is made receives the transcript, then that court must dispose of the appeal within 10 days. (This is a new time limit.)

    7. The decision of the county court or the county court at law on the appeal is final and cannot be further appealed. (This is like the current law on appeals for animals ordered auctioned.)

    Why this Bill is Great for Texas Animal Owners:

    1. This new law evens the playing field because before, an owner could lose his animals if they were given to a humane organization or ordered killed in one hearing, before one judge who oftentimes is not an attorney (JP Court judges and judges Municipal Courts of no record do not have to be attorneys).

    2. An owner was faced with losing his animals forever in a hearing that occurs within ten days which meant that it could happen in one or two days and they didn't have time to prepare or even find a lawyer. Now, the owner can appeal if they get caught in situations like this.

    3. The deck is often stacked against the owner who can have the city or county attorney presenting evidence against him, animal control presenting evidence against him, the seizing authorities presenting evidence against him, and humane organization who stood to get the animals could testify against him, too. And as mentioned, the owner is there typically without a lawyer. An appeal is a chance to rectify these wrongs. Plus, the owner's animals are taken from him/her before there is a decision on whether there is cruelty.

    4. The hearing provided is not a trial and there is not a jury, only a judge. Now the owner can appeal and get a trial with a jury if desired.

    5. The time limits on appeal are good so that the animals are not stuck somewhere in limbo for a long time. Plus, the owner has to post a bond to cover the expenses of their care, so you don't want the appeal to drag out. The time limits are fair and give the owner time to get his case together, but does not needlessly prolong the process.
    ------------ -------
    This new law means a lot to me because I practice animal law and it has been so heartbreaking to tell people who have unfairly lost their animals that there is no appeal. There are most certainly valid cases of cruelty seizures that are brought to the courts. But sometimes, there are cruelty seizures that are not valid. This law will help those owners unfairly accused of animal cruelty to get their animals back. The briefs and all the other stuff I wrote on this was from the heart and for those whose animals were lost without this appeal. Now that horrible injustice has been addressed.

    I am grateful to everyone whose barks and howls to the legislature made this bill possible. There is no way this could have happened without you. This was an amazing effort and kudos to you all! You hung in there and we did it!

    We are all indebted to Representative Mark Homer for having the vision and tenacity to author this bill and work hard to get it passed. Rep. Homer never gave up even when his bill was not calendared for a vote. He stuck with it and got it amended to SB 408 and then was successful in convincing his fellow legislators to sign on to the Conference Committee Report which they all did. Many thanks to Mark Homer's excellent staff who stayed on top of things and were cordial even to the very end. They were wonderful!

    We are indebted to Senator Carona and his staff for working so hard to get this done particularly this late in the season. They were great and hung in there to the sweet end.

    We are indebted to Gib Lewis and his wonderful staff, particularly Debbie and Sheila, who watched this bill like hawks and who worked very hard to get it passed. Gib did a superb job of presenting our side to the legislators as the outcome shows.

    Many thanks to Jeff Shaver, Laura Dapkus, Verjean Lunenschloss, and Carol Williamson who watched this bill and who networked to get support for it. I think Laura walked around with computer access 24/7 because she was like lightening on this bill when it even sneezed! I personally want to thank them all for putting up with my OCD and many calls.

    And, last but more certainly not least, many thanks to Mary Beth and RPOA for keeping Texas owners on notice of all the quirks and turns this road has taken us. You worked diligently and gave support to Texas animals so their rights would be guarded. You totally BARK and have done a great job!!!

    This session is thankfully almost over but your hard work and dedication on this bill and the others have made an impact like never before. At 12:01 Tuesday morning, we can truly start to celebrate when the gavel falls on this session. More later on the other bills!

    Zandra Anderson
    www.TexasDogLawyer. com

    Permission to crosspost.
  2. Mollie's Nana

    Mollie's Nana Krypto Super Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

    :clap2: Glad to hear. :)
  3. CoolHandJean

    CoolHandJean Krypto Super Dog

    Good to hear.
  4. Cynthia

    Cynthia Good Dog

    Thats great to hear!

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