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What a day!
The Public Hearing on Texas HB 1451, the Dog And Cat Anti-Breeder Bill, was
held by the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice today! After all the
months of
hard work, it paid off. Our witnesses ran
the gamut of animal interests and couldn't have been better. If you missed
it, you must watch it tonight on the state's website: Go to:
Texas State Senate - RealMedia Video Archives
and scroll down to May 12, 2011 Senate Committee Criminal Justice. It's
better than any movie or TV show. You may have to download the free Real
Player to receive it.

We can't begin to tell you everything in this E-News. Our hero of the day
was definitely Senator Dan Patrick who grilled our speakers and brought out
the truth about this bill and the agenda behind it. He was especially
concerned about coming into our homes without a Search Warrant, possible
extinction of gene
pools for rare breeds, Criminal Background Checks for all help - even his
own daughter if she wanted to work there for minimum wage. And more.
Senator Carona backed him up.

Overall it was made perfectly clear to the senators that there's no need for
this bill; that the existing state Animal Cruelty Law works well with
testimony from Van Zandt County Sheriff Pat Burnett; retired policeman David
Tapley, and James McWhorter, an animal control officer certified by Texas
Animal Control Association. Tapley held up a thick book of USDA regulations
required by the bill which cannot be met in a home environment. McWhorter
pointed out that we aren't even required to take our children to the doctor
once a year!

Senator John Whitmire laid out his bill and the fun began! Whitmire began
with his committee substitute which includes an amendment to provide
exemptions for dogs bred to be used exclusively for herding livestock,
hunting, including pointing, flushing or retrieving game; or competing in
field trials. He said there was no need for testimony from those interests
today but that was ignored. Senator Carona felt "show dogs" should be added
to the exemptions
and said his Mother used to breed show dogs. Whitmire mentioned that
Senators Carona and Patrick had questioned why we need more government?

Witnesses who supported the bill spoke first with the usual lineup: Houston
SPCA, Texas Veterinary Medical Association, and Texas Humane Legislation
Network (THLN). Those who signed up to support but didn't speak included:
HSUS' Nicole Paquette, a sundry of THLN members, and Patt Nordyke with Texas
Assoc. of Animal Care Services.

Speaking for RPOA were Martine Huslig and Martin Kralik who have been doing
a tremendous job working the halls at the Capitol for the past month
educating our legislators and leaving them information to read later. This
is what surely turned the tide for us because many times the legislators
never see the emails, faxes and don't hear the phone calls which are only
tallied for them. Personal contact is very important with all the rest to
backup their visits and visits from our lobbyists. It's perceived "votes"
that count.

There's no way to cover everything here but Dale Martenson and Maura Phelan
captured the attention of Senator Patrick who questioned both extensively.
Senator Patrick said: "This bill makes no sense whatsoever! Where is it
coming from?"

Senator Whitmore was a little taken back and insisted he wasn't presenting
the bill for "any group" but just himself after Dale Martenson brought up
the financial contributions HSUS had made to Representative Thompson.

Dale Martenson laid it all out there for them, including the expose of Della
Lindquist, attorney with TX Dept. of Licensing & Regulation, as being an
"animal rights" activist who helped write the bill and would be enforcing
it. Later Patrick questioned TDLR director William Koontz about Lindquist
who responded that was her private life but admitted she did work on the
bill. Koontz was unable to answer other questions from Patrick. :flush:

Maura Phelan, president of Travis County Kennel Club, former prosecutor for
Travis, Harris, Williamson Counties, special prosecutor for Animal Cruelty
in Burnet County, Golden Retriever Breeder and Rescuer (phew!) presented a
whole new perspective from many angles and was questioned extensively by
Senator Patrick who seemed impressed. :clap:

Phelan pointed out that the proposed bill rewards snitches which will only
lead to harassment by "animal rights" activists. And added that the bill
provides less punishment (a misdemeanor) than existing Penal Code 42, the
Animal Cruelty Law, which has a fine and jail time. She stressed "probable
cause" must be found to enter private property and told of her experience
shutting down a bad facility.

The hearing just kept building on great testimony and ended with a big
crescendo! Thanks to all of you who attended today - whether you spoke or
just came to back up other speakers. It's always dangerous to start naming
names and by no means is this all of the wonderful presentations made. You
must go watch it yourself. See the URL above. :woof:
.................................................. ..............
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