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March 28, 2012

Animal Welfare Organizations Disappointed Commission Failed to Protect Dogs and Cats

Texas Humane Legislation Network, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

The Texas Humane Legislation Network, The Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) are disappointed with the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation for ignoring the recommendations of its own appointed panel of experts and thousands of Texas residents in establishing standards for the care and housing for dogs and cats kept by large scale commercial breeders.

The Commission instead deferred to federal standards established by the Animal Welfare Act that are described as “minimal” even by the United States Department Agriculture. The commission voted to allow cages so small that the animals can barely turn around as well as allow the floor these animals stand on their entire lives to be 100 percent wire, which the groups believe will allow substandard breeding facilities known as “puppy mills” to continue to proliferate in Texas.

“The Commission was required by statute to convene an advisory committee of experts to create humane standards of care and housing” said Skip Trimble, legislative chair for the Texas Humane Legislation Network. “The advisory committee’s proposals for reasonable recommendations to slowly phase in larger cages and phase in at least 50 percent solid flooring to get the animals off of painful wire were rejected.”

“Instead of establishing true humane standards for commercial breeders, the Commission chose to essentially rubber stamp existing practices,” said Nicole Paquette, Texas senior state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “Those practices are responsible for tremendous animal suffering and should be a relic of the past.”

“The Texas legislature and Governor Perry enacted a bill last year that gave the Commission the opportunity to protect dogs and cats in commercial breeding facilities from the most abject cruelty,” said Cori Menken, senior director, ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign. “The Department has thumbed its nose at those efforts by allowing dogs and cats to live in cramped wire cages for their entire lives, pushing out litter after litter of puppies and kittens for the commercial pet trade.”

The three organizations will continue to explore all potential opportunities to improve on the Commissions’ final rule.

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Media Contacts:       

THLN: Skip Trimble; 214-855-2960, skip@catlyn.net
HSUS: Jordan Crump; 301-548-7793, jcrump@humanesociety.org
ASPCA: Rebecca Goldrick; 646-291-4582; Rebecca.Goldrick@aspca.org

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