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Bitch Noone Wanted
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The Reluctant Paladin: A Note to my Texas Readers

Wednesday, February 2, 2011
A Note to my Texas Readers
Last week, a Bill was introduced in the Texas Legislature (82R) by Representative Ruth Jones McClendon (D). It's H.B. 998. I wanted
to make you aware of it, and I hope that you will contact your State Representative and State Senator as I have to make your opinion
known.

The Bill is being pushed by HSUS and Rep. McClendon with the appearance that it will curb violent dog attacks on people. In fact,
though, it is a backdoor method of passing legislation that moves toward mandatory Neutering for the majority of dogs statewide.

HB 998 would apply to the following animals:

Sec. 822.008. CIVIL LIABILITY AND LIABILITY INSURANCE FOR CERTAIN DOGS.

(a) This section applies only to a male dog that:
(1) has not been neutered;
(2) weighs 20 pounds or more; and
(3) is not restrained at all times:
(A) on a leash in the immediate control of a person; or
(B) in a secure enclosure.

So... any dog over 20 lbs, that is not neutered, and that has gotten out of its yard for whatever reason or been walked off leash at
any point in its life would be subject to the law. Just to illustrate the size we are talking about here... Beagles are generally
20-25 lbs when mature.

So what does the law prescribe for the animals described above?

(b) The owner of a dog described by Subsection (a) is liable for damages to property and for
death or bodily injury to a person by the dog.

Sounds reasonable to me to expect the owner of a dog to be responsible for damages, injury, or death caused by their pet. I have no
problem with holding pet owners responsible for what happens when they fail to properly restrain their animals. As someone who has
dealt daily with all varieties of "bad dogs" for well over a decade, though, I can promise you that female dogs can be just as
vicious, just as dangerous, and do just as much damage as their male counterparts. Why does this bill address only male dogs? Why
only male intact dogs? Why the size limitation?

(c) The owner of a dog described by Subsection (a) shall maintain liability insurance coverage in
an amount of not less than $100,000 for each occurrence for liability for damages to property
and for death or bodily injury to a person caused by the dog.
(d) A person commits an offense if the person violates Subsection (c). An offense under this subsection
is a Class C misdemeanor unless it is shown on the trial of the offense that the
person has previously committed an offense under this subsection,in which event it is a Class B
misdemeanor.

Paragraph (c) requires any unneutered male dog that is over 20 lbs to be covered by a $100,000 liability insurance policy if that
animal has ever been walked off leash, gotten out of its yard, or has otherwise ever been unrestrained. In addition, should you fail
to get the required insurance or neuter your dog after being previously cited for a violation - you are now guilty of a Class B
misdemeanor and the penalties get much stiffer.

Again - all of this occurs whether or not your dog actually does any damage to any property or harms a person in any way. There are
laws already on the books that deal with animal attacks and a process through which a dog can be declared "Dangerous". I have no
problem with debating potential toughening of those laws to close loopholes and protect the public from actual dangerous animal
situations.

However, HB 998 is clearly just an attempt by HSUS and the Bill's author to bring about mandatory neutering of pets via backdoor
legislation. There's no way in Hell they could have any hope of passing a mandatory statewide animal sterilization law and they know
it. Instead, they are trying to bring that about by threat of increasing penalties for violations of restraint laws which pose no
threat to the public and the added expense of carrying liability insurance should you choose not to neuter your dog.

I am in favor of spay/neuter. I think its usually a good idea for personal pets. However, there are tons of things that I think are
"good ideas" that I don't believe should be mandated by force of law. I do not support laws which seek to mandate spay/neuter for
people who are not habitual repeat violators of restraint laws or who are not owners of animals legally declared "Dangerous".

I have emailed both my State Representative and my State Senator to make my opinion on this matter known. I would encourage you to
do the same.

By the way... If donate money to HSUS to help the poor animals you see in the TV commercials and want to know where a big chunk of
your cash actually goes? HSUS gives less that ONE PERCENT of the money it generates to actual, hands-on animal shelters. The rest
goes toward salaries, advertising, pension plans, and lobbying efforts promoting "animal rights", opposing hunting sportsmen, and
piece of crap legislation like HB 998.
 
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