SENATE PANEL LOOKS AT PUPPY MILL MEASURE
(AUSTIN) — The Senate Criminal Justice Committee considered a bill on Thursday designed to eliminate "puppy mills", unregulated mass breeders that don't follow proper standards of animal care. HB 1451, sponsored in the Senate by Committee Chairman John Whitmire of Houston, would require all dog or cat breeders to obtain a license from the state, and submit to surprise inspections every 18 months. Whitmire said inhumane breeders need to be regulated. "People who breed these dogs under filthy, dangerous circumstances need to be brought under control," he said.
The proposed regulations would only apply to breeders that have 11 or more breeding females. The bill also establishes mandatory guidelines for humane care, which would be at least an hour of exercise per day, basic grooming and cleanliness of the animals, and a requirement that kennels be big enough to allow the animals to sit, stand and lie down. Breeders would also have to take animals for yearly veterinary examinations. The bill as considered before the committee differs from the House version in that it includes exemptions for hunting dogs. Committee member Senator John Carona of Dallas also wanted to look at exempting breeders of show dogs from the bill.
The Senate passed a number of bills on the floor in session Thursday including:
- HB 2694, by Huffman, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the agency's sunset bill, which would continue operation through 2023;
- SJR 14 and SB 516, by Patrick and Van de Putte, would extend the property tax exemption for disabled veterans to their spouses after death;
- SB 270, by Uresti, would require newborns to be screened for hearing disability before discharge from the hospital.
The Senate will reconvene Friday, May 13 at 10 a.m.