Texas Dog Owners: Fight HB 988!

**NOTE: this post reads like a news article/PR blog post because i used it for a COMM 3369 assignment, and am reposting it in this form to save time. however, this situation is VERY REAL and just as URGENT.

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All Texas dog owners, including rescue groups and pet businesses, should be on HIGH ALERT!

Two days ago, I received an e-mail from Zandra Anderson, Houston-based dog lawyer and founder of the Texas Dog Commission.

She warns all dog owners, pet rescue groups and pet businesses to write, fax, or phone in their objection to House Bill 988 (<<this link will take you to the full bill), also known as the “Texas Dog Insurance Bill“. The bill, introduced by state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-Texas, “…would require owners of unleashed, un-neutered male dogs over 20 pounds to carry a liability insurance policy of at least $100,000. Violations would be classified as a misdemeanor, and punishable by a fine up to $500.”

Anderson warns,

“Here’s the kicker–in the Health and Safety Code, “owner” is defined as anyone who has custody or control of the dog. That means that rescue organizations and pet businesses, such as dog sitters, kennels, doggy daycare, pet stores, dog walkers and veterinarians will have to buy the insurance. This law applies to puppies as long as they weigh 20 pounds so for some giant breeds, they will be very young at that weight. Rescue groups will have to purchase the insurance even though they might only have the intact puppies or dogs pulled from kill shelters briefly before they are altered or placed, but it doesn’t matter. These groups will still have to have the insurance to be in compliance with this proposed law. This will be devastating because rescue groups will tend to overlook the boy dogs because saving the girls is less expensive. As with all errant dog laws, the dogs always pay the ultimate price and the kill rate will increase.”

Fox News also posted an article about this issue, titled “Some Texas Dog Owners Barking Mad Over Proposal to Mandate Dog Insurance”, in February. According to the article, Rep. McClendon’s action was prompted when, “a member of her district who was seriously attacked by a dog whose owner was not willing to help pay for the resulting medical bills. ‘Situations like this would be remedied under this bill, as insurance would help cover medical expenses incurred as a result of a dog attack,’ she said.”

Anderson asks, “Doggy insurance for male dogs today? Who will be next? Kitty insurance? The $100,000.00 policy is over 3 times what auto insurance costs, yet dog bite related fatalities are very rare, only 31 in 2009 for the entire U.S..”

The bill was filed on January 28, 2011, and was read and referred to to Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence on February 28, 2011 – it is currently waiting to be heard by a committee.

You can keep track of the status of the bill HERE. Please answer Zandra Anderson’s call to arms and write, fax or call your corresponding House Committee member and voice your opposition!

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