Governor Abbott Vetoes Bipartisan Bill to Protect Dogs, “Texas is no place for this kind of micro-managing”
In all 20 bills that were passed during this year’s legislative session in Texas were vetoed by Governor Abbott, which is the fewest by Abbott since 2005.
But there seems to be one vetoed bill that is striking a dissonant chord with Texans, at least in my newsfeed, more so than the others. I, personally, hadn't heard of this bill until news of its veto overtook my Twitter. So, I thought I should check it out.
The vetoed bill, which according to Shelby Bobosky, executive director of Texas Humane Legislation Network had garnered overwhelming bipartisan support from rural, urban, and suburban members; called for legislation that would have banned tethering dogs outside with heavy chains.
Senate Bill 474, which is known as the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, looked to make it illegal to chain up dogs, and leave them without drinkable water, adequate shade, or shelter. The bill also called for a ban on tethering dogs with heavy chains.
“I’m disappointed in the governor,” said Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville. “I don't agree with everything he does, but I respect him when it comes to quality of life and protecting life. I want to include dogs in that issue.”
In his veto statement the Governor said “Texans love their dogs, so it is no surprise that our statutes already protect them by outlawing true animal cruelty. Yet Senate Bill 474 would compel every dog owner, on pain of criminal penalties, to monitor things like the tailoring of the dog’s collar, the time the dog spends in the bed of a truck, and the ratio of tether-to-dog length, as measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. Texas is no place for this kind of micro-managing and over-criminalization."
Shelby Bobosky, of Texas Humane Legislation Network, doesn't believe that is enough. She said the bill would have “clarified the vague language that makes the statute completely unenforceable.”
“All the elements Governor Abbott cited as ‘micromanagement’ were carefully negotiated compromises that addressed concerns from lawmakers in both parties to strike the right balance for our diverse state,” Shelby said in a statement. “The passage of the bill in both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support from rural, urban, and suburban members was the result of six years of tireless effort by THLN and all stakeholders who care for dogs inhumanely restrained outdoors.”
What do you think? Do we need to take more steps to protect animals or have we already done enough?
Read more on all 20 of the vetoed bills here.