Texas State Representative Senfronia Thompson Gives Her "Little Dog" Report From The State Capitol

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A True Fight for the Little Dogs!

In response to the alarming number of unlicensed and unregulated large-scale commercial dog breeding facilities operating in Texas, I have introduced House Bill 3180 which will require these operations, commonly known as puppy mills, to meet minimum standards of care and housing for their animals.

I just want to ensure that there is a guaranteed minimum standard of care and a level of humaneness for all these animals.

Puppy mills are commercial dog breeding facilities that confine adult dogs in small, cramped cages and keep them in perpetual cycles of breeding. A female dog will often spend her entire life confined in a cage, producing puppies every heat cycle. When she can no longer reproduce, she is usually destroyed or abandoned.

Puppy mills are flooding the pet market with inbred, unhealthy puppies being sold to unsuspecting buyers in pet stores and through Internet ads. Many of these puppies die soon after being purchased or require the owner to spend thousands of dollars in veterinary care to try to save them.

Puppy mill operators often use misleading ads claiming to be small breeders providing humane conditions and proper care when, in fact, they are confining hundreds of dogs in cruel, filthy conditions without veterinary care and proper nutrition.

Now that we know the shockingly cruel conditions in which these animals are being kept and the tragedies that many pet buyers are enduring after unknowingly purchasing puppies that were bred in puppy mills, it’s time to take action to clean up this industry.

The Texas Humane Legislation Network and hundreds of animal welfare agencies, rescue groups and law enforcement officials throughout the state support this bill.


  • At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you, thank you Rep. Senfronia Thompson for trying (and hopefully succeeding) to put an end to the horrible suffering of those innocent little souls who cannot speak.

  • At 3:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is fantastic news. You can count on my support. Please tell us what we can do to help!

  • At 4:15 PM, Blogger rollerbuzz said…

    Thank you so much for introducing this important bill. I know you will be bombarded by the interest groups seeking to continue profiting from keeping animals in sub-standard conditions.

    Anyone who has seen a rescue organization removing dogs from a puppy mill - having to wear protective clothing and gas masks - would be appalled to realize the conditions these animals live in every day. I just want you to know that you have a lot of support all over the state. Stay strong in the knowledge that you are doing the right thing with HB 3180. You are my hero!

    To the commenter above - you can contact your representative in the Texas House and Senate (regarding companion bill SB1910) and let them know you support this legislation. Then, tell everyone you know to do the same. This is too important not to become law.

  • At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I want you to know how much I am behind you on this bill. I am so thankful you have sponsored this bill and we can hopefully end the suffering of these animals. Thank you!

  • At 7:39 PM, Anonymous Rhonda Heffernan said…

    Before I was educated on the horrors of puppy mills ( and I had seen one first hand), I bought a precious chihuahua from a breeder hawking the dogs on the side of the road. My little dog Lucy died the next day. The vet said she had been too young to take away from her mother. The breeder said she would give me another to replace her. She had no regrets about what she had done. This is the kind of of greedy, callous people who operate puppy mills. They try to produce and sell as many dogs as they can with no regard for the dogs. Thank you so much Rep. Thompson for standing up to these people.

  • At 6:13 AM, Anonymous S. Ferguson said…

    Rep. Thompson, you are a true hero. Thank you so much for sponsoring this bill that will help protect the helpless animals that are being exploited and mistreated. You are a trailblazer and have the respect of many, many Texans. The Houston Humane Society staff, volunteers, board and animals salute you.

  • At 8:53 AM, Blogger Gulf Coast said…

    Thank you, Rep. Thompson, for sponsoring the puppy mill regulation legislation!!! If it passes, and I think it will, it will help eliminate rampant cruelty in our state. It is reassuring to know we have legislators working on issues that are truly important. Thank you for your hard work and keen insight. It is sincerely appreciated.

  • At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you Ms. Thompson. You are a true representative for your constituents. We appreciate you!

  • At 10:37 AM, Blogger Christina F. said…

    Rep. Thompson, thank you for your efforts in this important issue!

  • At 6:26 PM, Blogger Matthew said…

    Thank you Rep. Thompson! Thank you for standing up for all of the dogs forced to live out their lives in horrific conditions. Thank you for taking a stand against the heartless and cruel people who benefit from their suffering. They can't vote, but I can, and all of my friends can, and WE SUPPORT YOU and H.B. 3180! Thank you so much for sponsoring this bill and for being a thoughtful and compassionate legislator!!!!

  • At 7:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you so much for supporting this bill! The ones that cannot speak need a voice!

  • At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you for supporting this bill! Its a great necessity!

  • At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you for sponsoring this bill and standing up for the animals that can not fight for themselves.

  • At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for all the great work you do for the animals.

  • At 3:30 PM, Anonymous B Ligon said…

    Thank you so much for this important bill.

  • At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am in full support of this and am telling friends/family and anyone else who will listen. Thank you so much!

  • At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Rep. Thompson, you are my hero. I have two Bichon Frise dogs who were rescued from puppy millls. I wish we could outlaw these terrible places entirely. I'll pass the word to everyone I know.

  • At 10:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How sad that Sefronia Thompson feels that TEXANS need to be told how many dogs they can have.
    If the statements of HSUS/PETA henchmen like Sefronia are true (this I doubt) that 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred ... why not deal with the 75% feral dogs first?
    If somebody has 12 chidren should they have a background check and spot inspections?
    How about the size and kenneling requirements that vary from breed to breed?
    Will the state give licenses to those who live in city limits or will zoning be enforced on the state level?
    To the representatives such as Sefronia that have so little to offer that them must strip TEXANS of rights with empty feel good legislation ...shame on you.
    How about working on something real ... immigration? employment? Low scores on TX Schools? Easy to be a hero with feel good fluff..

  • At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I, too, oppose puppy mills, and I have heard a lot of talk about outlawing them in Texas.

    My point a list of names and locations of these puppy mills.

    Are we talking about the likes of the Hunte corporation?

    This is not about generalaties; it is about specifics.

  • At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you Rep. Thompson for introducing this very important bill that will improve the lives of animals in puppy and kitty mills. I wish you continued success.

  • At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I believe that HB 3180 is an attempt to radically limit my property rights as a Texan by those who neither live in Texas—as bills similar to HB 3180 have appeared in many other states this year—nor have Texas’ best interest at heart. Additionally, HB 3180 will not improve the welfare of dogs in Texas, but it will hurt responsible breeders who strive to raise healthy, well cared-for dogs and work to ensure that these puppies are placed with responsible owners. The expense of complying with the bill will force many responsible breeders to shut down, making it virtually impossible for Texas residents to obtain locally raised purebred dogs.

  • At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I commend your efforts. Sadly all you've done with this bill is create a commerce for the same Puppy Mills you are trying to rid.

  • At 10:40 AM, Blogger Terri said…

    Sorry Senator, you have fallen for the con. THLN is just an arm of HSUS, the biggest fraud in the animal kingdom.

    Yes, there are substandard facilities and cruelty does occur however, Texas has more than enough laws on the books to pursue and prosecute these perpetrators. As proof witness the three large "busts" this week-all performed under the power of existing legislation.

    This bill would create an entire new arm of state government and we all know that requires funding. Just say no to big government and the tax oppression needed to support it.

  • At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh Rep. Thompson, you are sadly mistaken and so very wrong. This is NOT a "puppy mill bill" at all! This is an attack on ALL dog owners! You are NOT telling the people of Texas that elected you into office the truth of this bill.

    Yes, there are substandard facilities. Yes, cruelty occurs. However, Texas has plenty of laws to pursue and prosecute the facilities and individuals that violate these very strict laws already put into place.

    This is SOCIALISM at its best!

  • At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You are NOT telling people the truth about this bill. STOP CALLING IT THE PUPPY MILL BILL!

    1. This bill regulates BREEDERS, pet sales and rescuers.

    2. This is a pet project of Texas Humane Legislation Network and HSUS.

    3. This bill defines a "Dealer" as ANYONE who pays sale tax. This covers EVERYONE selling one dog or cat. THAT IS NOT A PUPPYMILL!

    4. If every dog and cat in Texas is sterilized (as mandated in Senator Van de Putte's bill) and breeders face overly restrictive regulations (as in
    Representative Thompson's bill), where will pets come from in the future?


  • At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Answers for the State said…

    I am a rural prosecutor; unfunded mandates like this are the death of us. We don't have a county animal control office(r), nor do we have the budget for one - nor do we need one. Cruelty cases are filed as needed; persons who carefully select and breed dogs for hunting or show are not bothered. Dog and cock fighters are prosecuted; kids who want a dog for 4H or other competitions are encouraged.

    Please, Senator - before pushing a bill like this, look at the REST of the story.

  • At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is NOT a puppymill bill! HB 3180 contains a provision that can financially ruin anyone breeding dogs or cats, even if they only breed one litter a year or less. It is a widely agreed upon fact that hobby breeders (those breeding 1-3 litters a year) are the best source for a healthy quality pet. This bill requires anyone who sells even one animal to reimburse the purchaser for up to 300% of the purchase price for any veterinary costs realized in the first year after sale for treatment of conditions considered to be genetic or congenital. Many genetic conditions exist that an animal may comfortably live with its entire life. But many veterinarians will treat these conditions anyway even if no symptoms exist.

    I am not a breeder, but participate in multiple AKC dog show venues. I purchase every puppy from a hobby breeder to insure that I get a puppy with the best start in life. The current average purchase price of a Golden Retriever puppy is around $1100 for a puppy whose parents have been tested to insure they are clear of any genetic issues which affect Golden Retrievers. While the parents may be clear, it is not a guarantee that the puppy will be clear. Even though both parents are clear of genetic defects the offspring can still inherit them. It has to do
    with recessive genes that can be carried by the parents and there is no way to know that. While it is fair to require breeders to replace a dog if something is wrong or to refund the purchase price (this is normal practice with most hobby breeders), to give a purchaser the power to demand thousands of dollars in veterinary costs is not right. While the breeder does everything they can to insure a healthy puppy, they cannot be responsible for the genetic roll of the dice.

    Those breeders who provide the best source of puppies, small hobby breeders, will not be able to afford that kind of potential liability. They will stop providing the kinds of pets that people really want…healthy, happy and well-adjusted dogs. Where will people go to get a dog in the future?

    This bill is not about a puppy lemon is about financially intimidating/ruining anyone who breeds animals. With this type of law, it is unlikely that I will be able to purchase a puppy in the state of Texas from a responsible hobby breeder. Where do you think you or any of your constituents will get their next dog?

    Please vote against HB 3180 in its current form.


    Carol Sandusky

    Registered voter and dog owner

  • At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Not a puppy mill bill--this hurts the true breeders that care about their breed and attempt to produce healthy, happy companions. I personally know breeders that spend over $10,000 for testing, vets, premium food, showing, etc. to insure that they have dogs with no defects to pass on. This bill is throwing the baby out with the bathwater, trampling on rights, and attempting to insure that there will be no more pets and eventually no more animals. It is not really about animals--it is about power.

  • At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Jean Miller said…

    Why doesn't the great state of Texas enforce the laws that are already on the books? Instead of telling people how many animals they can have, why not be concerned about the care? We already have laws for this.
    I was an Animal Control Officer in California from 1988 to 2005. I managed a county shelter in a county with a population of 800,000 - we managed to reduce euthanasia through education and low cost Spay/Neuter clinics - neither of which are available in my area of Texas.
    If you go to this link, you can see the 20 year stats from the shelter I was in charge of.
    I own dogs, have never bred a litter but it should be my choice whether to spay or neuter. I, also, vote.

  • At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The thing that HSUS and THLN forgot to tell Rep. Senfronia Thompson is that the "large scale" breeders MUST be licensed through USDA and be inspected by USDA on a regular basis. Why would we be creating a whole new section of licenses and inspectors in a department that has nothing to do with animals? At the very least, the agriculture department would be a more logical place to put it (since they DO deal with animals). What we need is enforcement of the laws already on the books (because they are not being enforced!), not more laws that take away our property rights!!

  • At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What about those of us who actually care about our dogs, do not keep them in cages, and only allow litters once a year, skipping 1-3 heat cycles, provide veterinary care, before, during and after pregnancy, guarantee the health of their puppies for more than the requirements in this horrible bill, feed super premium dog food, and home made treats? The only time a dog is kept confined is when she has puppies, and it is in our guest bedroom, that has a doggy door going out to her own 20 x 20 yard, with shade, and fresh water?

    Thanks a lot for introducing something that will take away from the future planned breeding of exceptional quality puppies, from people who care!


    i am not scared to say who I am!

  • At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    For the love of doG, Please listen to the others above me in opposition! I AM a HOBBY BREEDER! Genetic mutations DO HAPPEN! I received my Bachelors in Animal Science from Texas A&M, and I learned that.

    The lemon-law is ridiculous, as it will put anyone out of business... especially the vets that hate breeders. They will charge unGodly amounts and tell the new owner to sue and get all their money back and then some... even if there is NOTHING wrong with the dog. This will pit vets against each other, and they won't want to see these dogs anymore. I hate the term 'dealer' being set to name me. I think of 'drug dealer' and that is just horrible!

    Why aren't the humane shelters and pounds included in this bill?? I have adopted a dog from the HUMANE SOCIETY that ended up costing me as much as it would had I bought one from a responsible breeder (the initial price)... the humane society dog was full of disease and cost hundreds of dollars to get him well... If people are going to have recourse on the GOOD BREEDERS, they should be able to have recourse on the Animal Shelters and Humane Societies. Don't say they can't, because they don't have the money... the H$U$ should be dispersing the money that they raise to help the humane societies around the country, instead of donating it to politicians and lobbyists to pass their lies.

  • At 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, the bill went down from massive public opposition. A poorly written bill with a poorly informed originator.

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  • At 4:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Who were the people that voted AGAINST this bill from passing, is what I want to know???

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  • At 3:44 PM, Anonymous mken said…

    If this bill was so good, why don't you follow proper procedures for introducing it into the House for full discussion and voting? when you try to sneak it thru the Local Consent Calendar like it was some girl asking to use the local government library for a rehearsal cause her house was tornadoed- you know a LOCAL ISSUE, when really it is a very very controversial bill, I think there is something really down and dirty behind the motives of this bill.
    It should be so wonderful to save the puppies that you should be proud to introduce it before the full House and get proper recognition for all your work. Yet you are pulling strings and sneaking around like a communist to get it thru the wrong way. It's not like you are some newbie that doesn't know what the Local Consent caledar is for.
    With all due respect.

  • At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ms Thompson,

    Please quit listening to the people who have vowed to end all human interaction with animals.
    Question: How do we stop people from owning dogs and cats in a country that spends 41 BILLION dollars ANNUALLY on its pets?
    Answer: Put the breeders out of business.

  • At 4:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Seriously...proper food, water and sanitary living conditions are already mandated by EXISTING CRUELTY LAWS. "Puppy Mill Bill" is intended to evoke an emotional response without investigation of what the bill actually entails. This is unnecessary and as noted will create an UNFUNDED MANDATE when the budget is being slashed by what, 40%? That's less for elderly PEOPLE, mentally ill PEOPLE, poor PEOPLE. I love animals, but people are more important than animals. They just are.

    I own cats and love dogs, and I vote.


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