Bill Text: TX HB963 | 2011-2012 | 82nd Legislature | Introduced

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
Bill Title: Relating to the costs associated with proceedings regarding cruelly treated animals.

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Passed) 2011-06-17 - Effective on 9/1/11 [HB963 Detail]

Download: Texas-2011-HB963-Introduced.html
  82R3062 JSC-F
 
  By: Hartnett H.B. No. 963
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the costs associated with proceedings regarding cruelly
  treated animals.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 821.021, Health and Safety Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 821.021.  DEFINITIONS  [DEFINITION]. In this
  subchapter:
               (1)  "Cruelly [, "cruelly] treated" means [includes]
  tortured, seriously overworked, unreasonably abandoned,
  unreasonably deprived of necessary food, care, or shelter, cruelly
  confined, or caused to fight with another animal.
               (2)  "Nonprofit animal welfare organization" means a
  nonprofit organization that:
                     (A)  is exempt from federal taxation under Section
  501(c)(3), Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as a charitable
  organization; and
                     (B)  has as its purpose:
                           (i)  the prevention of cruelty to animals;
  or
                           (ii)  the sheltering of, caring for, and
  providing homes for lost, stray, and abandoned animals.
         SECTION 2.  Section 821.023, Health and Safety Code, is
  amended by amending Subsections (d) and (e) and adding Subsections
  (e-1), (e-2), and (e-3) to read as follows:
         (d)  If the court finds that the animal's owner has cruelly
  treated the animal, the owner shall be divested of ownership of the
  animal, and the court shall:
               (1)  order a public sale of the animal by auction;
               (2)  order the animal given to a municipal or county
  animal shelter or a nonprofit animal welfare organization [shelter,
  pound, or society for the protection of animals]; or
               (3)  order the animal humanely destroyed if the court
  decides that the best interests of the animal or that the public
  health and safety would be served by doing so.
         (e)  After a [A] court [that] finds that an animal's owner
  has cruelly treated the animal, the court shall order the owner to
  pay all court costs, including:
               (1)  the administrative costs of:
                     (A) [(1)]  investigation;
                     (B) [(2)]  expert witnesses; and
                     (C)  [(3)     housing and caring for the animal
  during its impoundment;
                     [(4)]  conducting any public sale ordered by the
  court; and
               (2)  the costs incurred by a municipal or county animal
  shelter or a nonprofit animal welfare organization in:
                     (A)  housing and caring for the animal during its
  impoundment; and
                     (B) [(5)]  humanely destroying the animal if
  destruction is ordered by the court.
         (e-1)  After a court finds that an animal's owner has cruelly
  treated the animal, the court shall determine the estimated costs
  to house and care for the impounded animal during the appeal
  process, based on evidence provided by the municipal or county
  animal shelter or nonprofit animal welfare organization that would
  be caring for the animal during the pendency of the appeal.
         (e-2)  After making the determination under Subsection
  (e-1), the court shall set the amount of bond for an appeal equal to
  the sum of:
               (1)  the amount of the court costs ordered under
  Subsection (e); and
               (2)  150 percent of the estimated costs determined
  under Subsection (e-1).
         (e-3)  Notwithstanding any other law, the amount of court
  costs that a court may order under Subsection (e) and the amount of
  bond that a court determines under Subsection (e-2) are excluded in
  determining the court's jurisdiction under Subtitle A, Title 2,
  Government Code.
         SECTION 3.  Section 821.024(c), Health and Safety Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (c)  If the officer is unable to sell the animal at auction,
  the officer may cause the animal to be humanely destroyed or may
  give the animal to a municipal or county animal shelter or a
  nonprofit animal welfare organization [shelter, pound, or society
  for the protection of animals].
         SECTION 4.  Section 821.025(a), Health and Safety Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  An owner divested of ownership of an animal under
  Section 821.023 may appeal the order to a county court or county
  court at law in the county in which the justice or municipal court
  is located.  As a condition of perfecting an appeal, not later than
  the 10th calendar day after the date the order is issued, the owner
  must file a notice of appeal and a cash bond or surety [an appeal]
  bond in an amount set [determined] by the court under Section
  821.023(e-2) [from which the appeal is taken to be adequate to cover
  the estimated expenses incurred in housing and caring for the
  impounded animal during the appeal process].  Not later than the
  fifth calendar day after the date the notice of appeal and [appeal]
  bond is filed, the court from which the appeal is taken shall
  deliver a copy of the court's transcript or, if the court is not a
  court of record, a copy of the clerk's record to the county court or
  county court at law to which the appeal is made. If the appeal is
  made from a court of record, the court may deliver audio recordings
  of the proceedings instead of a transcript. The cost to produce the
  transcript, audio recording, or clerk's record shall be paid by the
  appellant.  Not later than the 10th calendar day after the date the
  county court or county court at law, as appropriate, receives the
  transcript, audio recording, or clerk's record, the court shall
  dispose of the appeal. The decision of the county court or county
  court at law under this section is final and may not be further
  appealed.
         SECTION 5.  Subchapter B, Chapter 821, Health and Safety
  Code, is amended by adding Section 821.026 to read as follows:
         Sec. 821.026.  CONFLICT OF LAWS. In the event of a conflict
  between this subchapter and another provision of any other law
  relating to an appeal of a disposition regarding a cruelly treated
  animal, including the bond required for that appeal, this
  subchapter controls.
         SECTION 6.  The change in law made by this Act applies only
  to a proceeding commenced under Section 821.023, Health and Safety
  Code, on or after the effective date of this Act. A proceeding
  commenced before the effective date of this Act is covered by the
  law in effect at the time the proceeding is commenced, and the
  former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         SECTION 7.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2011.
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