New Texas Bill Would Create Statewide Felony Animal Abuser Registry

pawsupPaws Up!

To Texas Representative Jennifer Farrar for introducing a bill that would create a public registry of felony animal cruelty convictions.

Willfully violent acts towards animals are well-known precursors to other forms of serious crime.

Willfully violent acts towards animals are well-known precursors to other forms of serious crime.

According a recent news article, a new bill in the Texas legislature could improve monitoring of animal abusers by law enforcement and make the identities of convicted abusers known to the public. If H.B. 235 is passed, adults convicted of  felony animal cruelty in the state of Texas would be legally required to register each year with law enforcement. The offender’s name, address, and photograph would then be submitted to the Texas Department of Public Safety and entered into a database. A similar type of registry is widely employed by law enforcement on a state level to monitor sex offenders after release from prison. As with sex offender registries, registries of felony animal cruelty convictions would help law enforcement officers better ensure that offenders are abiding by the terms of their release. Furthermore, a public registry would be an enormous asset to animal shelters screening potential adopters, pet owners seeking pet sitters, and other individuals and organizations with vested interest in the welfare of animals. Lastly, acts of animal cruelty are well-known precursors to other serious crimes. For this reason, felony animal cruelty offenders should be monitored by law enforcement and be made known to the public to the fullest reasonable extent.

Take Action: Texas residents, contact your representative and urge them to support H.B. 235. Obtain your representative’s contact information here.

Protection for All

Virginia legislature has before it two bills that would include companion animals when a protective order is issued.

Virginia legislature has before it two bills that would include companion animals when a protective order is issued.

Companion animals can be the vulnerable bystanders when a protective order is issued. Therefore, legislation that protects them is essential. The Virginia legislature has before it two bills relating to protective orders and companion animals, HB 624 and HB 972.

Virginia residents, contact your legislators and ask them to support these two bills. Residents of other states, make sure companion animals are included when orders of protection are filed in your state.

When you think about it…even one is too many.

A 2011 study revealed that many more companion animals were euthanized in shelters than the public believed.

A 2011 study revealed that many more companion animals were euthanized in shelters than the public believed.

PetSmart Charities commissioned a study in 2011 to look at attitudes regarding pet adoption and spay/neuter. One of the great misconceptions the research identified is how many cats and dogs the public believes are euthanized in animal shelters across the country versus how many actually are. In a similar study in 2009, the public estimated 1.5 million companion animals are euthanized yearly; in 2011, the number dropped to 1.2 million. Unfortunately, the estimated number of companion animals euthanized yearly is 4 million. According to the study, 88 percent of those taking part underestimated the number.

Adopting from shelters and spaying/neutering companion animals will help reduce the number of healthy, adoptable animals killed in shelters every year in this country. But, when you think about it…even one death is too many; 4 million is an atrocity.

When you think about it…where should companion cats live?

Companion cats that are allowed outdoors are not only at greater risk of harm, but are also likely to harm wildlife.

Companion cats who are allowed outdoors are not only at greater risk of harm, but they are likely to harm other animals.

Do companion cats, as opposed to feral cats, belong indoors or is it okay to let them roam free outdoors? Some people who have cats believe they should be allowed outdoors; it’s more “natural” for them to be outside for part of the day. Others believe the outdoors is unsafe for Fluffy who could be stalked by predators, hit by cars, or stolen by fiendish people. But what about the damage Fluffy can do to the outdoors? Should that be taken into consideration when deciding if companion cats should be indoors or outdoors?

A recent article breaks down the destruction felines do in the outdoors. It’s considerable. Researchers used kittycams to collect data and what they found was alarming. Cats kill just for the sake of killing, not always to eat or bring back trophies to present to their guardians. They are indiscriminate hunters going after birds, frogs, snakes, lizards, and the favorite mice.

So, when you think about it…where should companion cats live? Most likely they should live where the least harm can be done to them and where they can do the least harm—indoors, with maybe a screened enclosure so they can be outside safely.

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When you think about it…euthanasia should be for the right reasons, right?

Sometimes companion animals are euthanized for the wrong reasons.

Sometimes companion animals are euthanized for the wrong reasons.

By law, pets are property. However, few of us who dote on our companion animals look at them that way. We consider them part of our family. But what happens when that family member becomes ill and the cost to restore his or her health is out of reach of our budget? What happens when we must move and our family member is not welcome to live with us? How do we handle our family member when he or she becomes old, incontinent, hard of hearing, blind, yet is not sick or in pain or discomfort?

We’d all like to think we’d do the right thing. We’d come up with the money; we’d change our plans to move to include our companion, and we’d get doggie diapers if needed. And some of us will. But some of us won’t. Some of us will refuse to spend the money necessary to even diagnose our companion’s problem, let alone fix it. Some of us will try to find a new home for our companion, or take the animal to the local shelter and let them deal with our family member when we don’t want to take him or her with us. Still others will take their family member to the veterinarian and ask that he or she euthanize their companion.

What sort of moral dilemma do we put our veterinarians in when we ask them to kill an animal for our convenience? Euthanasia, often referred to as the “good death,” is hardly good if the animal can still enjoy life. What right do we have to tell our veterinarians to kill the very beings they went into veterinary practice to heal? What kind of ethical issues do we raise when we decide to ditch our responsibilities to our companions? When you think about it…euthanasia should be for the right reasons, right?

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When you think about it…regardless of where we live, we need to be prepared for disaster.

Preparing for disaster before it strikes can benefit you and your companion animals in emergency situations.

Preparing for disaster before it strikes can benefit you and your companion animals in emergency situations.

We’ve seen the pictures on the news of the devastating fires in the western part of the United States. We all saw pictures of the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. While we humans may be terrified at the thought of a natural disaster, we usually have some time to prepare before we might have to evacuate. Our companion animals are at a total loss as to what is going on around them. Sadly, in some instances, they are abandoned to cope on their own while their humans are sent to locations that do not allow animals. In other cases, they wind up living in cars or boats for days with their guardians who are wondering where the next safe harbor is.

Before disaster strikes, prepare yourself and your companion animals…just in case. Know what shelters allow you and your animal to find a safe haven during an evacuation. If there aren’t any in your immediate area, find out what hotels/motels accept pets. If you haven’t travelled much with your companion animals, here are some tips.

Pack emergency kits for each of your animals—medical records, photos (in case you are separated), medicines, first aid kit, food, water, bowls, litter, leashes, carriers, etc. In other words, whatever your companion animal will need while away from home. Do the same for yourself and your family members as well. Make sure your animals are wearing identification tags.

Because, when you think about it…no matter where we are, disaster can strike. Are you and your companion animals ready?

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When you think about it…the cost of being a “pet” can sometimes be extraordinarily high.

Pugs, like many other domesticated animals, have extreme looks that cause health issues. Because of their short noses, they are considered brachiocephalic and have difficulty breathing.

Pugs, like many other domesticated animals, have extreme looks that cause health issues. Because of their short noses, they are considered brachiocephalic and have difficulty breathing.

Companion animals, sometimes called pets, can incur great expenses. No, not the kind the owner runs up at the pet store or the veterinarian’s office. The cost is personal. It comes when animals are bred to the point of suffering from painful, distressing, or disabling physical or emotional handicaps. It results from the surgical mutilation of them simply because their owner wants to make a statement or because of convenience.

We have bred into many animals genetic disorders, including heart and hip problems. Some animals’ faces are so pushed in they have trouble breathing, especially in warm weather. Some have eyes so far apart they have trouble focusing; others lose their sight entirely and often at a young age. The “natural” companion animal is hard to find today.

Companion animals have evolved into a sort of social support system for many owners. In so doing, we have pressured these animals to change who they are and what they look like to fit our preconceived notions of what constitutes a companion animal. This pressure has often been detrimental to the animals’ welfare. When you think about it…the cost of being a “pet” can sometimes be extraordinarily high, so high that it costs them their lives.

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