Lawmakers passed several bills aimed at helping Texas pets

House Bill 2026, set to protect those who participate in Trap-Neuter Return programs, is still pending the governors approval

San Antonio – Texas lawmakers passed several bills that would help protect pets, including one already signed into law to keep pets away from people convicted of animal cruelty.

House Bill 598 goes into effect in September, meaning people convicted of animal cruelty won’t be able to get their hands on another pet so quickly.

Animal Care Services Director Shannon Sims explains how the restrictions only existed under a judge’s ruling.

“Only a judge would be able to take that ability from someone. This really codifies it, it allows it to move into law, so if convicted, you’re not allowed to own an animal but also live in a residence with one,” said Sims.

Also going into law is Senate Bill 876, which will tighten up the state breeder’s licensing requirements to include breeders with up 5 female breeding dogs needing a license.

Sims says in a larger scale, it helps control a problem that bleeds into cities.

Still waiting on the governor’s signature is HB 3660, which would protect agencies and good samaritans who use the Trap-Neuter Return programs to control the feral cat population.

“This is the main way that we are able to control the feral cat population, and it’s a humane method of controlling that population,” Sims said.

Jodi Long, President of the Texas Veterinarian Medical Association, hopes the governor will sign HB 2026, which will help support a program tackling the veterinarian shortages.

“This is a bill that helps fund student loan forgiveness for veterinarians that will serve in rural and underserved communities,” Long explained.

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Alexis Montalbo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.