Dog lovers across the political spectrum are fuming this week after Texas Governor Greg Abbott vetoed a new anti-animal cruelty bill that had received bipartisan support. Under the proposed law, dogs kept outside would be required to have proper shade and water. The law also would have banned the use of heavy chains as a restraint and made it easier for law enforcement to intervene, among other provisions.
Dog people, to put it mildly, are furious. Some of that frustration has boiled over into the social media sphere, where the hashtag #AbbottHatesDogs was trending just hours after the bill was killed.
Abbott says that the laws already on the books are sufficient protection and that the new laws would be “micromanaging” and “overly criminalize” those caught breaking animal cruelty laws.
“Texans love their dogs, so it is no surprise that our statutes already protect them by outlawing true animal cruelty,” Abbott said in his statement regarding his actions.
However, his defense rings hollow. Countless animal rights organizations and advocates have pointed out that the current laws in Texas are toothless, vague, and hard to enforce.
In short, if a person leaves their dog chained up in the 100+ degree temperatures of a Texas summer, with little to no shelter and insufficient water, they’ve likely been able to get away with it for some time. Governor Abbott had a chance to help put an end to that kind of abuse, and declined to do so.
It’s enough to make a dog lover’s blood boil. And as Governor Abbott is now learning, there are plenty of dog lovers on both sides of the aisle.
“We don’t have enough in the books to make sure we protect these animals from harm, mistreatment and possible death,” author of the bill and Texas senate democrat Eddie Lucio told a local news station.
“I’m disappointed in the governor,” Lucio went on to tell the Texas Tribune. “I don’t agree with everything he does, but I respect him when it comes to quality of life and protecting life. I want to include dogs in that issue.”
Brian Hawthorne, a Republican, county sheriff, and legislative chairman of the Sheriff’s Association of Texas, was also disappointed.
“The bill had a lot of favorable things to help us enforce the law in which people weren’t properly taking care of their pets,” Hawthorne said.
Abbott is a dog owner himself. He and his wife have a golden retriever named Pancake. So you’d think he’d be more sympathetic to the cause.
And like we said, Twitter did not react well. #AbbottHatesDogs is at the top of the trending topics.
I asked my dog what he thought of Greg Abbott vetoing an anti-cruelty bill for dogs.
— Linda Childers (@lindarchilders) June 22, 2021
— James Crolley (@jc_bytes) June 23, 2021
This was one of 18 dogs chained up in a yard, & he was too scared to go near anyone. Nephew Dylan coaxed him out of his hiding place so a rescue group could take him to a cozier home.
Dogs know who the good people are. #AbbottHatesDogs pic.twitter.com/mFnsezsdym
— Lynne Kelly 🐘🐳 (@LynneKelly) June 22, 2021
A previous effort in Texas to come down on puppy mills also met with some surprising resistance. Battles to protect all animals, dogs included, are important and deserve more consideration.
Maybe all the negative attention from the Twitterverse will help inspire politicians like Abbott to vote on the side of the voiceless.
H/T: Houston Chronicle