HB 963 is a proposed bill that mainly relates to the judicial proceedings regarding anyone accused of animal abuse/cruelty.
The alleged author, Rep. Will Hartnett, has a black sense of humor in my opinion. Check out this clause:
(3) order the animal humanely destroyed if the court decides that the best interests of the animal or that the public health and safety would be served by doing so.
Since when is being killed in an animal's best interests? Sheesh.
(Rep. Hartnett may be attempting some damage control, as his plans to sell off Parrie Haynes Ranch as a means to help pay off the state's big fat deficit are not making any Texas Parks supporters happy.)
Since the RPOA* has already accurately described the true aim of HB 963 - to eradicate the appeals process for anyone accused of cruelty - I've reproduced their observations here.
This is an attempt to make the appeals cost prohibitive and force the owner to relinquish ownership of his animals to shelters for resale.
Just because an owner is accused of cruelty does not mean in every case the authorities got it right. It is an attempt to prevent an appeal without changing the statute to not allow appeals. The proposed law would require the owner to pay 150% of the “estimated” costs, again attempting to prevent any appeals.
One section is to ensure that not all of the appeals are trial de novo in County Court. This bill is supported by the HSUS and Texas Humane Legislation Network that opposed appeals altogether and said they would be back this session to overturn Rep. Mark Homer’s bill in 2009 that granted the right of appeal again.
It will likely have the support of humane shelters that stand to benefit and which were opposed to appeals including SPCA of North Texas, Houston SPCA, Houston Humane Society, and other similar corporations.
* Responsible Pet Owners Alliance