Last week two identical dangerous dog bills were introduced during the 3rd Texas Called Session of 2023. House Bill 98 and Senate Bill 39 expand Texas dangerous dog law to deem a dog dangerous if it causes bodily injury.
At this time, neither bill has received a committee referral and there are no hearings scheduled.
AKC understands the desire to protect communities from dangerous dogs. However, AKC continues to express concerns to lawmakers that as written, the definitions are very broad and may have unintended consequences for owners when a very minor incident is caused, for example, by a playful puppy. Instead, AKC advocates for the establishment a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as “dangerous” based on stated, measurable actions. View AKC’s key issue page on dangerous dogs for more information on our position
How to Help
Concerned dog owners who wish to should contact your state representative and state senator to express concerns with HB 98 and SB 39. You can find your lawmakers HERE.
The same legislation was vetoed by Governor Abbott during the 2023 Regular Session. The Governor’s veto message said:
“Texas’s existing criminal laws penalize attacks by dangerous dogs — so much so that felony arrests have already been made of the dog owners responsible for the tragic attack that took the life of a distinguished Air Force veteran in San Antonio, and that was the catalyst for House Bill No. 4759. The justice system should be allowed to work without the overcriminalization found in this bill. I look forward to working with the author to create investigations and procedures that stop dog attacks before they happen.”
These bills were also filed during the 2nd Called Session that ended on July 17 and failed without receiving consideration.
AKC Government Relations continues to monitor all bills impacting dog owners in Texas. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.