Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance (SAOVA) saova_south at mailman.montana.com
Sun Mar 20 17:47:47 MDT 2011


Dear SAOVA friends,

A hearing for SB 779 Animal Abuser Registry is scheduled in Criminal Justice
Committee Tuesday March 22 at 1:30 PM or upon adjournment in Room E1.016.

SB 779 introduced by Senator John Whitmire (D, 15) establishes a central
database containing information about persons over 17 who have been
convicted of or received a grant of deferred adjudication for one or more
animal cruelty felony offenses under Section 42.092 or 42.10, Penal Code.
That person must register as required by this chapter until the 10th
anniversary of the date the person was last convicted of or received a grant
of deferred adjudication for the offense. 

The information contained in the database is public information, with the
exception of any information regarding the person's social security number,
driver's license number, or telephone number, and will be published on the
Texas Department of Public Safety Internet website. 

The Texas Department of Public Safety, in cooperation with the Board of
Pardons and Paroles, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and the
Commission on Jail Standards, are authorized to design and implement a
system for the registration and must update the database daily. 

Failure to comply with registration requirements creates a Class B
misdemeanor offense. 

The Texas Department of Public Safety is authorized to establish and
implement the database only if funds are available. However the Department
may solicit and accept a gift, grant, or donation from any source, including
a foundation, private entity, governmental entity, or institution of higher
education, for the establishment and maintenance of the computerized central
database described by this chapter and the implementation of a related
system of registration under this chapter.




A registry bill was introduced in California that failed. The registry bill
required specified individuals convicted of felony animal abuse to register
for 10 years after the date of conviction; failure to register is punishable
as a misdemeanor. The Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal estimated a
cost of $750,000 to $2,000,000. 

An abuser registry bill was introduced this session in Virginia but failed.
The Department of State Police estimated that approximately $986,000 would
be needed to design and develop a new registry and website and an additional
$126,411 each year for support. The note also stated the cost to local law
enforcement agencies was not known at this time. The Virginia bill created a
new crime for failure to register. The fiscal note estimated approximately
$50,000 would be required for additional correctional facility beds.


A registry bill was recently introduced in Washington.  The fiscal note
estimates a one-time cost of approximately $27,800 for modifications to the
judicial court system. A cost of $823,032 to state agencies to provide legal
services to review and defend legal issues, development of the tracking tool
and to populate the registry and the main web site, and data entry and
quality assurance for accuracy of the data. In addition the fiscal note
estimates a cost of approximately $1,200 to local governments for court
impacts, including judicial costs, clerk costs, and court fees.

SB 779 allows third parties to fund establishment and implementation of the
abuser registry. The animal rights organizations supporting animal abuser
registries have an agenda that doesn't include concerns for people and
extends far beyond animal welfare. An abuser registry, driven by the animal
rights platform that considers all animal use abusive, has no place in Texas

Regardless of funding by wealthy animal rights advocates, implementation of
this legislation will strain law enforcement officials in the current
depressed economy and represents an unfunded mandate to local jurisdictions.
Committee members should be well aware of the drastic reductions to all
levels of law enforcement proposed in the current state budget. With budget
cuts looming for felony probation funds, state police, court system, prison
system, and even regional police academies, allocating money for a useless
registry should not be approved.


Establishing animal abuser registries is a campaign championed by the
California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) whose mission is to
advance the interests of nonhuman animals through the legal system and
expand the boundaries of animal law through groundbreaking lawsuits. ALDF
advocates changing the legal status of animals from property to personhood. 

ALDF claims that convicted animal abusers pose a real, ongoing threat to
your pets, your family, and your community. In reality nearly all animal
cruelty involves neglect by the animal's owner. The likelihood that animal
abusers will stalk neighbors and snatch pets in order to abuse them is
infinitesimal. The proposed animal abuser registry only creates another
state bureaucracy.  Animal abuser registries have little to do with
protection of people or animals, are overly invasive, costly to maintain,
and have no proven benefit.



Once upon a time, Texas attorney Robert "Skip" Trimble raced horses. Now he
rescues them. "I'm a former animal abuser. I used to own racehorses, raise
roping steers, hunt and eat meat," Trimble says. "I've probably done it all.
But that's changed." Changed so much, in fact, that today Trimble is a busy
animal advocate - and chairman of ALDF's Board of Directors.  Quoted from
'Abuser' to Animal Champion, the Animals Advocate - Quarterly newsletter of
the Animal Legal Defense Fund.


"Everything we are doing lays the foundation for the one day when animals
will have rights" ...."We need to get in their faces and sue the animal
users so often they don't know which courtroom they're supposed to appear in
next." Valerie Stanley, ALDF Attorney June, 1996


ALDF supported the suit by Northwest Animal Rights Network and one of its
members against the State of Washington and King County. The suit contended
that granting exemptions under the state's animal cruelty legislation for
commercial food production, rodeo events, veterinary practices, and
university research was unconstitutional.


The bill has been assigned to Senate Committee on Criminal Justice (C590)
which Sen. Whitmire chairs.   Call the Committee Clerk, Michaela Bernacchio
(512) 463-0345, and ask to be registered as Opposed to SB 779. 


Find additional information and talking points, download phone, fax, and
email contacts for committee members from the SAOVA website.

Use the email link on the SAOVA webpage to contact all committee members at
one time. Also call your Senator and oppose this bill.




Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's & Animal Owners' Voting Alliance
Issue lobbying and working to identify and elect supportive legislators
Visit SAOVA News http://saovanews.blogspot.com



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