FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/02/2013
Rep. Farrar Passes Bills Related to Animal Cruelty & the Environment
AUSTIN, TX — Today, Representative Jessica Farrar passed two bills out of the House of Representatives.
HB 3748 allows counties and municipalities to recover attorney's fees for animal cruelty seizure hearings to provide revenue for prosecutions.
Animal cruelty seizure hearings are provided for in the Health and Safety Code. The statute sets forth a procedure to seize an animal from an owner that cruelly treats that animal. Currently under the statute, if the court finds that the owner cruelly treated the animal, the court is required to order the owner to pay all court costs, including administrative costs for investigation, expert witnesses, and any public sale of the animal ordered by the court. It also requires the owner to pay for costs a public or nonprofit animal shelter incurs in housing or caring for the animal or in euthanizing the animal, if the court orders it. The bill would give courts the discretion to order the owner to also pay the county's or municipality's reasonable attorney's fees. This will provide revenue to enable counties and municipalities to prosecute animal cruelty offenders.
HB 3756 asks TxDOT to consider leaving the surface of a detention pond as natural groundcover and finishing the earthwork so that the final state enables usage as green space available for public use or wildlife habitat.
When properly designed, detention ponds can serve as natural filtration for water runoff from paved surfaces. They improve the overall water quality of what is going back into the ground as well as water headed into our bays and estuaries. Detention ponds offer opportunities for multiple use programming, which would create a better return on the investment of infrastructure dollars to the State of Texas. Because land in built up urban areas is expensive, multiple uses of these facilities is critical to justify their cost. Additionally, because open space is becoming increasingly scarce in urban areas, detention basins become a key component for water quality, recreation, and wildlife management.
Rep. Farrar explains, "Both of these bills are important to my constituents and their surrounding communities. As the session quickens, I will continue to work to ensure that the voices of Texas' 148th district are heard."
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