The Gestapo Rules In Texas

Posted on 03/24/2009

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AUSTIN, TX – In Texas, a not guilty verdict can be a dog owner’s worst nightmare.

Under current law, even if a dog owner conclusively proves her or his innocence of animal cruelty charges in a court of law and is fully exonerated, it would be too late to save his or her dogs from confiscation, forced adoption, sterilization and death.

The verdict is not guilty.

But the dogs are dead.

Animal rights groups think that’s a good idea, and are fighting hard to keep this law. They care nothing about the Constitution or basic civil rights in their fanatic persecution of animal owners. In their eyes, dog owners should be branded with the Mark of Cain.

Dog owners are trying to restore the Constitution to animal cruelty cases by supporting House Bill 1046, but were badly outgunned by animal rights extremists in a committee hearing last week. At the hearing, 23 animal rights activists lined up against HB 1046, while only eight advocates of the rights of dog owners showed up to support it.

Many of the people who lined up against the bill are closely associated with the radical Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the ultra-radical People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Others represented repressive animal control agencies, including a delegation from the City of Dallas.

A vote was not taken, but HB 1046 remains before the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence. A committee vote could come at any time. If the bill passes the committee, it would move to the full House for consideration.

In the strongest possible terms, the American Sporting Dog Alliance urges all Texas dog owners, sportsmen, farmers and ranchers to contact members of this committee immediately to express support for HB 1046.

Current Law

The current law is a horror story for animal owners and strongly reflects the animal rights agenda of turning animal owners into second class citizens and denying them equal protection under the law.

Current law allows posses of animal rights vigilantes to act under the guise of law to sweep down on dog owners and seize animals, and then railroad the case though a magisterial hearing for an order to forcibly confiscate the animals and dispose of them.

Railroading is not too strong of a description of the process. A dog owner is given only a few days (if that!) before a hearing to hire an attorney, gather evidence, find witnesses and prepare his or her defense. During this period, the dog owner can expect to be the target of inflammatory news coverage and stigmatization by the community.

At the hearing, the dog owner will face an intimidating array of animal control officers, animal cruelty officers, animal rights activists posing as expert witnesses, and municipal prosecutors.

A fair hearing is impossible under this scenario.

Moreover, dog owners are granted only a single hearing, and are not given the right to a trial. There is no trial. No jury. No recourse. No appeal.

It’s a kangaroo court, plain and simple. If you lose, you’re screwed, and so are your beloved dogs.

A loss before this kind of kangaroo court allows your dogs to be confiscated by animal control officers, turned over to animal shelters, spayed or neutered, sold at auction, put up for adoption or killed.

There is nothing you can do about it. There is no place to turn.

However, dog owners will be assessed court costs including paying for the cost of the investigation, paying for expert witnesses for the prosecution, paying for the cost of caring for the dogs after they are seized, paying for the costs of an auction, and even paying for the dogs’ euthanization. There is no limit to these costs, and an accused dog owner would face bankruptcy.

And there is no appeal.

This law can be found in Section 821.022 through 821.025 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. Please read this frightening law for yourself. Here is a link: http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/HS/content/htm/hs.010.00.000821.00.htm#821.022.00 .

How can dog owners’ rights be denied? After all, there is a Constitution and Bill of Rights, isn’t there? How could it happen?

Current law is a legal sleight of hand to turn criminal law into civil law under health and safety codes. The criminal code prosecution is separate, and happens far after the civil code hearing and confiscation, when it is too late to save your dogs.

By hiding behind civil court procedures, the law denies an accused dog owner the right to a jury trial, court trial and appeal. The dog owner cannot even cross-examine witnesses against him or her, under the law.

Current law allows an appeal ONLY for a public auction of the animals. It specifically forbids an appeal for confiscating n animal in order to turn its ownership over to an animal shelter, in order to put it up for adoption, force sterilization or to kill it.

Needless to say, animal rights fanatics love this law.

House Bill 1046

The best way to understand HB 1046 is to read it for yourself. It is short and simple.

Here is a direct link: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/81R/billtext/html/HB01046I.htm

In reading the bill, please note that is the actual text of part of the existing law. The language that the bill would remove from the law is covered with a strike-through line. New language that would be inserted is underlined.

Here is what HB 1046 does:

· It restores the right of appeal from a magisterial court to a county court.

· While the appeal is in progress, ownership of the dogs cannot be transferred to an animal shelter or animal control agency.

· The dogs cannot be forcibly euthanized or sold while the appeal is in progress.

· In order to appeal, the dog owner must post a bond to guarantee the costs of caring for the animals while the appeal is being decided. The amount of the bond is set by the county court, not by the magistrate.

Those simple changes will preserve the basic rights of dog owners to follow the same legal process that is granted to any accused killer, rapist or thief.

The animal rights groups are screaming bloody murder about it. These fanatics want the law to be a bludgeon to beat dog owners into submission.

I won’t mince words. The animal rights groups are fascists. The kinds of laws they advocate are characteristic of a fascist state, and are utterly in opposition to the principles of American law under the Constitution and Bill of Rights. A typical animal cruelty raid bears far more resemblance to a ruthless gang of Nazi Brown Shirts than it does to the American concept of justice.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance is a staunch and unwavering advocate of freedom and civil liberties. We will not agree to any law that compromises the Bill of Rights or trashes the Constitution. Current Texas law does exactly that.

While we sincerely congratulate the sponsors of HB 1046 for defending freedom, we also are urging them to go farther. We are asking them to add language to HB 1046 that would allow the animals to stay with their owners, unless it can be proven before a county court judge that they are in immediate danger.

What You Need To Do

It is imperative for Texas dog owners to contact every member of the House committee to express your strong support for HB 1046. This must be done quickly, as the committee could vote on the legislation at any time.

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