A new Texas law bans animal cruelty offenders from owning animals for five years

House bill 598 went into effect Sept.1.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:41 PM CDT
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - House bill 598 went into effect Sept.1.

Sergeant Brett Mullen said the law is aimed to deny people access to animals if they are prone to abuse them. “It’s understood that somebody who has abused animals in the past is likely to in the future.”

Sgt. Mullen said that reports of animal abuse in Sherman are rare, but that the law is an effort to help protect the community. “Animals that are abused are more likely to bite and more likely to be vicious and things like that. So it’s good, it protects the animals as well, but it also protects the the public in general.”

The law states that a person convicted of animal cruelty cannot possess or exercise control over an animal or live in a household where an animal also resides.

The punishment for offenders found with an animal during the five year period is a Class-C Misdemeanor, but could be enhanced to a Class-B Misdemeanor if if they are in possession of an animal repeatedly.

Stephanie Phillips is the president of the Denison Animal Welfare Group (DAWG). She said “on occasion [they’ve] been asked to assist the city of Denison or other municipalities with cruelty investigations... [they] got medical care for the animals. [They] eventually placed them once the court case was worked through and those people were disallowed from owning animals for five years.”

Phillips explained a severe case of animal cruelty she witnessed... “we had 14 dogs seized from one residence and they were in very, very sad condition. They couldn’t walk unassisted, had been starved for a long period of time. They were eaten infested with fleas and ticks and had tons of medical issues that had just been ignored.”

She said that she hopes this new law will help keep animals out of the hands of people who abuse them.