Updated: Friday, 27 Mar 2009, 3:45 PM CDT
Published : Tuesday, 17 Mar 2009, 5:01 PM CDT
AUSTIN (KXAN) - Two San Antonio lawmakers have filed bills expected to cause an all out dog fight between animal lovers and pet owners in Texas. HB 4277 and SB 1845 would mandate that pet spay or neuter their dogs and cats. It is a piece of legislation that has failed in the past due to the lobbying efforts of groups like the American Kennel Club, which is calling on its members to once again confront their lawmakers.
"If adopted, these bills will have a profound negative impact not only on responsible dog breeders in Texas, but also on all current and prospective dog owners," the Web site states.
The bill would allow pet owners who want to keep their pet intact to buy a $300 permit. If a pet owner violates the law and does not have a permit, Animal Control could charge them with a Class C Misdemeanor which carries up at a $500 fine. Exceptions to the law would include:
Dorinda Pulliam, the Executive Director of the Town Lake Animal Center, would not comment directly on the bill but said euthanasia rates have dramatically decreased due to Austin's efforts in getting pet owners to spay or neuter their pets.
"If you go into our stray cat area, you'll see almost no kittens," said Pulliam. "The fewer of these litters we see brought in, the fewer animals have to be euthanized."
The Town Lake Animal Center has developed several spaying and neutering programs over the years. One offers the service free to pet owners in the low-income areas of Austin. Those who oppose the bill plan to rally at the Capitol on April 9.
The bills do not stop there, however, for pets in Texas.
Another bill ( HB 3180) filed by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) puts in place harsher regulations for puppy mills. It would require those with more than 11 breeding female animals to submit to licensing, annual inspections, background checks and penalties as high as $5,000 per animal if they violate minimum care standards.
Some who oppose the legislation said it would put small breeders out of business while proponents said it is one step closer to ending animal cruelty.