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BILL ANALYSIS

 

 

 

H.B. 853

By: Laubenberg

Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence

Committee Report (Unamended)

 

 

 

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE

Currently, the Family Code does not explicitly authorize a judge to include pets in protective orders. Studies have indicated that abusers often use pets as a way of maintaining power over their human victims and preventing them from leaving abusive situations. Authorizing judges to issue protective orders that include pets would provide a tool for the protection of animals, but because of the link between human and pet abuse, such an order would more importantly give judges another tool for protecting humans in dangerous, abusive relationships.

 

H.B. 853 adds to the prohibitions a court is authorized to include in a protective order relating to family violence a prohibition against the removal of certain animals from the possession of a person named in the order.

RULEMAKING AUTHORITY

 

It is the committee's opinion that this bill does not expressly grant any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution.

ANALYSIS

 

H.B. 853 amends the Family Code to add to the prohibitions a court is authorized to include in a protective order relating to family violence a prohibition against the removal of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal that is specially trained or equipped to help a person with a disability from the possession of a person named in the order. The bill amends Section 85.022(b), Family Code, as amended by Chapters 23 (S.B. 199) and 91 (S.B. 68), Acts of the 77th Legislature, Regular Session, 2001, to add to the prohibitions a court is authorized to include in a protective order a prohibition against a person found to have committed family violence from harming, threatening, or interfering with the custody, care, or control of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal that is possessed by the person protected by the order or by a member of the family or household of a person protected by the order. 

 

H.B. 853 amends Section 25.07(a), Penal Code, as amended by Chapters 66 (S.B. 584) and 1113 (H.B. 3692), Acts of the 80th Legislature, Regular Session, 2007, to make it an offense for a person to knowingly or intentionally harm, threaten, or interfere with the care, custody, or control of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal that is possessed by a person protected by a protective order in violation of that order. The bill amends the Penal Code to define "assistance animal."

EFFECTIVE DATE

 

September 1, 2009.