This week, Texas Governor Abbot took action on three additional bills of interest to AKC:
House Bill 2063- Informed Consent for Kennel Facilities
Status: Filed into law without the Governor’s Signature, effective date September 1, 2023
HB 2063 requires kennel facility operators (those who are providing boarding services for breeding, sheltering, training, hunting, “or similar purposes” for more than three dogs for compensation) to provide written notice to dog and cat owners if their pet will be left unattended and without a fire sprinkler system. A kennel operator that violates this law is subject to a fine of $500 for each animal boarded without informed consent. Kennel operators must ensure that clients sign the informed consent document prior to leaving an animal at a kennel facility for boarding.
Kennel facilities that board dogs for the purposes described above should include these informed consent provisions in contracts or in boarding agreements/waivers.
This bill was filed in response to a tragic 2021 boarding kennel fire in Georgetown, TX. The original version of this bill, HB 66 would have required anyone that housed 3 or more dogs to install fire sprinkler systems and retain 24 hour employees. AKC expressed concerns to the HB 66 bill sponsor and ultimately HB 2063 was filed with positive amendments.
House Bill 4164- Misrepresenting Service Animals
Status: Signed by Governor, effective date September 1, 2023
Summary: HB 4164 makes it a misdemeanor to misrepresent a service animal. AKC supported HB 4164 and strongly condemns characterizing dogs as service animals when they are not, or attempting to benefit from a dog’s service dog status when the person does not have a disability or need for a service animal. House Bill 4164 will penalize those who knowingly misrepresent a service animal in order to gain rights or privileges reserved for those with true service animals.
House Bill 4759- Dangerous Dogs
Status: Vetoed by Governor
Summary: HB 4759 attempted to change Texas dangerous dog laws by expanding the law to deem a dog dangerous if it caused bodily injury. If a dog was deemed dangerous and caused bodily injury it would be a class B misdemeanor. AKC was concerned with the definition of bodily injury because of its broad use of the term physical pain and had spoken with the sponsor about possible future amendments if the bill was signed. AKC is pleased to see the bill was vetoed by Governor Abbott and will continue work with lawmakers to craft fair and effective dangerous dog laws in Texas during future sessions.
AKC Government Relations continues to monitor all bills impacting dog owners in Texas. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at email@example.com.