Humane Society President Speaks On Texas's "Puppy-Mill" Bill
In advance of Humane Society of the United States President Wayne Pacelle's May 15 Houston book-signing stop, we thought we'd ask about Texas's so-called "Puppy Mill bill." Introduced by State Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), House Bill 1451 would regulate living standards and inspection requirements for commercial breeders. It would, for example, prohibit breeders from stacking cages, thus allowing feces from the top cage to fall into the bottom -- something we hope most breeders don't do.
Humane Society Wayne Pacelle likes the proposed bill, naturally.
It would also impose some licensing and registration fees, which alarms some breeding groups and legislators, like Representative David Simpson (R-Longview), who believes the bill is tantamount to creating a "dog Gestapo." These folks say irresponsible breeders will just ignore the regulations, and it will be a financial burden for the good guys.
Here's what Pacelle told us, via e-mail: "While Texas already has an Animal Cruelty Statute intended to address cruelty and mistreatment of animals, it is a reactive measure -- addressing dire cruelty situations where the animals are dead, dying or in need of immediate medical care and where a warrant is needed to go in to confiscate the animals. [But the Puppy Mill Bill] is a proactive measure -- which ensures that the animals are provided basic humane treatment on a day-to-day basis."
We also asked if he's confident that it would actually be enforced, should it pass the Senate. (It already passed the House.)
Pacelle wrote that "Representative Thompson has worked closely with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation...on the bill's language to ensure that the regulatory system set up within the bill will be implemented and enforced. In addition, HB 1451 allows for Third Party Inspectors to assist with performing the inspections and with enforcement of the provisions within the bill. These third party inspectors will be employees of other state agencies and local law enforcement or fire departments."
Yeah... sure sounds like the Gestapo to us.
Pacelle will be at the River Oaks Barnes & Noble May 15 at 5 p.m. to sign copies of his new book, The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them.