Texas Humane Legislation Network-How Can You Make a Difference?

Love-A-Bull was organized to advocate and educate on behalf of pit bull type dogs and for this reason we aim to be educated on bills specifically affecting our pets. As the 85th Texas Legislative session gets under way, Love-A-Bull volunteers from the Community Outreach and Education committee and The Pit Crew Therapy dog program, were on site during Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN) last meeting of their Central Texas Chapter.

If you are not familiar with THLN, they hold an unusual nonprofit status that works heavily in favor of animal welfare advocates and supporters. THLN has promoted animal protection through legislation, education and advocacy since 1975. As a 501(c)4, THLN can advocate for strong, enforceable laws that will prohibit cruel acts against animals and give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to bring justice in the courtroom.

THLN Representatives Celia Isreal and Gina Hinojosa spoke on the upcoming bills that have been introduced:

  • Texas H.B. 478: Would negate criminal charges for those individuals that break into cars to rescue pets in distress due to weather conditions. Read the details here: https://legiscan.com/TX/bill/HB478/2017
  • Texas H.B. 1087: Related to the creation of the offense of beastiality (the crime of engaging in sexual relations with an animal). The prosecution or consequences of being found guilty of this offense are weak. The new bill would seek to make the offense a felony and punishable with jail time. Read the details here: https://legiscan.com/TX/text/HB1087/2017
  • Texas H.B. 1156: Regarding tethering of a dog. Provides restrictions on how long and the type of restraint a person may use on a dog. Read the details here: https://legiscan.com/TX/text/HB1156/id/1467109

Texas is ranked 36th in animal protection. It is vital, that you, as a community member, understand who your representatives are and what they stand for. When it comes to topics like the one’s listed above and the ever-important Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), change comes when we, as citizens, ensure that we have voted the right people into office that have the best interest of our animals at heart when it comes to animal welfare topics. To stay up-to-date on this legislative session and future ones, please check out Texas Humane Legislation Network and Texas Tribune.

How do you really make an impact? According to Celia Isreal and Gina Hinojosa…” Being a constituent and calling your representative to show support of a bill is of utmost importance and how most bills are passed. Personalized emails are helpful as well, but calls are more effective. Showing up to sign your name at the hearing is the ultimate way to get a bill passed.”

For information on THLN approved representatives, click here: http://www.thln.org/the_network_s_2016_humane_endorsements_for_the_texas_primary_race

Put it on your calendar: Humane Lobby Day is April 27th, 2017

USDA Removes Inspection Reports

Everyone has heard the slogan “Adopt, Don’t Shop!” and that sentiment has never been more important than to those who are involved with animal rescue organizations. Recently, the USDA removed an online database from its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). This database contained thousands of records pertaining to the Animal Welfare Act, which is a federal law that protects animals. The public records were not only a useful tool for animal advocacy groups, but also for journalist covering animal welfare issues and even pet store owners looking to check the records of commercial breeders.

Why is this important to you? Well, those records, which include thousands of inspection reports for thousands of facilities like zoos, laboratories and commercial breeders, have been used to ensure that responsible parties toe the line when it comes to caring for the animals in these facilities. They have also been used by animal welfare advocates to report neglect and abuse and rescue those animals who end up in the most horrific conditions imaginable, specifically at puppy mills. This is data collected during USDA inspections of these facilities, and the loss only benefits recurrent animal abusers.

According to the HSUS & ASPCA:

• An estimated 167,388 breeding dogs are currently living in USDA licensed commercial facilities.
• There are an estimated 10,000 puppy mills in the US which include licensed and unlicensed facilities.
• Over 2 million puppies are bred in mills each year.
• There are over 35,000 pet stores in America
• 99% of puppies sold in a pet store come from a puppy mill
• An estimated 1.2 million dogs are euthanized in shelters every year.

Puppy mills will breed all types of dogs, with the sole purpose of making as much profit as possible, which limits the amount of money spent on the health and well-being of the dogs. Many times, dogs from puppy mills live in squalor, in their own feces and urine. They generally do not have protection from the elements and are confined 24 hours a day in metal wire cages. Puppies can be sold for between $500 and $3000 and are typically sold in poor health, with some dying due to the horrible living conditions they were bred and kept in. The mother of these puppies, will spend her entire life in a tiny cage, never being pet, walked or even treated like a dog and then killed when she can no longer produce.

Love-A-Bull, has been honored to have our volunteers assist in deployments when these types of breeding facilities, hoarding facilities and sanctuaries are busted and the dogs rescued. With so many dogs entering the shelter system and so many not leaving, Love-A-Bull strongly urges adoption over buying a dog from a store or backyard breeder. There are literally, millions of dogs dying in our shelter systems each and every year. Adopting saves lives, keeps money out of the pockets of backyard breeders and puppy mill owners AND helps make room for the other animals that also need rescue. Love-A-Bull is proud to take part in Puppy Mill Awareness Day each year in September, to help spread the word about the horrible truth for exactly where that “doggy in the window” comes from.

For more information on how to stay up-to-date on puppy mill issues, we highly suggest following Bailing Out Benji and Puppy Mill Awareness. Bailing Out Benji is a small non-profit organization that is dedicated to educating the U.S. about the puppy mill problem and how to combat it. Puppy Mill Awareness aims to encourage the public not to buy puppies from pet stores or online and to raise awareness about Puppy Mills.

TAKE ACTION: We need YOU to call the USDA and demand they reinstate the inspection reports so organizations like Bailing Out Benji and Beagle Freedom Project can keep monitoring the for-profit businesses that aren’t taking care of the animals they make money off of.

Call the USDA NOW at (844) 820-2234 and use your voice for these voiceless! Keep calling! Ask your friends to call! Let’s get the USDA to overturn this senseless decision! It only takes a minute and they are very polite when you call. Please call on behalf of the animals who already have so little protection under the law to begin with.

Farewell Daphne

When you picture a good dog, you might imagine the very image of Daphne. She was indeed a cutie, and she had the temperament to match. She had the look of a dog who lived an easy life. Tail wagging, tongue joyfully flopping out of her mouth, and a smile in her eyes. Daphne was a black and white spotted ray of sunshine. Her quirky personality could charm the snuggles right out of you.   

But Daphne’s humble beginnings were no indicator that she’d be any of these things.  Her history could be traced back to Spindletop, a rescue and sanctuary in Willis, Tx, that was eventually busted for cruel conditions.  In fact, if Spindletop hadn’t been shut down, Daphne may not have made it out alive. 

But she did. 

Despite the odds of being a pit bull from a rough place, a number of good people played their part in helping Daphne escape. Thanks to these people, another good person, a woman named Wendy, was able to meet Daphne and fall in love with her. Daphne’s story could have happily ended there, as Wendy and her family loved Daphne completely and gave her the best life a dog could ask for.

But, Daphne was just getting started.

As Wendy worked with Daphne, she recognized something special in her dog.  Daphne’s love for people made them feel comforted and special. After some training, Daphne was certified as a Canine Good Citizen and eventually as a therapy dog. Daphne and Wendy joined the Pit Crew, where Daphne excelled as a therapy dog and began to work her magic on people all around Austin.  A regular at AGE of Central Texas and The Settlement Home for Children, the people Daphne visited grew to recognize and love her. They looked forward to Daphne’s visits where they would hug her, pet her soft fur, and enjoy her sweet and gentle company. Daphne brought joy to everyone she met.  

Wendy and Daphne served on the Pit Crew for years, donating their time and energy to helping others.

Recently Daphne was diagnosed with cancer. It is with a heavy heart that I write here of her passing in early January. She went peacefully with her family by her side.

The pain of losing a dog sits on the horizon, awaiting us from the day we adopt them. We know what we are getting ourselves into and that heartbreak is inevitable, yet we do it anyway.  Then, when they leave us, it is always too soon.  We need only look at a dog like Daphne to answer why it’s all worth it.

A family dog, an ambassador for her breed, and a loyal servant to her community, Daphne’s contribution to this world was immeasurable. Like all of our Pit Crew dogs, she inspired us to be better people. She made our world a better place simply by being herself. 

Sweet Daphne will be dearly missed by many, but she will live on in our memories and hearts. If she had one bit of wisdom to share with us, in that quiet way that dogs seem to share it, it might be to give a dog like Daphne a chance. You might be surprised at how much you get in return. 

Rest in peace sweet girl.

 

2016 National Pit Bull Awareness Day Festival

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National Pit Bull Awareness Day is always our biggest, most fun event of the year! This year was no exception! We had multiple vendors, awesome demonstrations, games, a costume contest and best of all…Chloe’s Clinic.

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Thanks to an incredibly generous donor, Love-A-Bull was able to host it’s first Chloe’s Clinic. We were able to offer vouchers for FREE spay/neuter, redeemable at Emancipet, vaccinations, micro-chipping and kibble. We are excited to announce we vaccinated 36 dogs, micro-chipped and registered 25 dogs and handed out 27 spay/neuter vouchers. WOW!

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As an organization that prides itself on supporting owners of pit bull type dogs, we were ecstatic to be able to offer these amazing resources to our community and we are looking forward to hosting more free clinics in the future. Check out the Pit Bull Awareness Day Festivities in the video below!