Animal Welfare


Senator Whitmire is a fighter for our animals and has pushed for anti-cruelty legislation for decades. 

Senator Whitmire authored the first ever law criminalizing animal cruelty. He later passed legislation to strengthen the law and made certain offenses a state jail felony.

He authored the Puppy Mill law to regulate puppy mills. Without his efforts, there would be no Puppy Mill law in Texas.

In response to numerous stories of family animals being shot by law enforcement, Senator Whitmire passed legislation mandating training on canine encounters for law enforcement. As a result of the Canine Encounter Law, the number of dogs reported shot by law enforcement has drastically lowered.

Senator Whitmire authored the Texas Courthouse Dog Act to allow specially trained facility dogs to assist vulnerable victims testifying in Texas courthouses.

Senator Whitmire co-sponsored and helped pass the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act banning the use of chains for tethering animals and mandating safe outside conditions including shelter, shade and clean water.

In addition, Senator Whitmire has voted for and helped pass numerous animal welfare laws, including:

  • Outlawing cockfighting and prohibiting a person from attending a cockfight, and owning/training birds and weapons used in a fight
  • Outlawing dog fighting
  • The creation of "animal-friendly" licensed plates to support spay and neutering programs
  • Requiring that all companion and service animals be included in evacuation plans in the event of a natural disaster
  • Expanding the authority of counties to regulate the roadside sales of animals
  • Ensuring animals seized from persons charged with animal cruelty are not held in shelters for extended periods pending an appeal. The law also requires abusers to reimburse shelters for caring for the animals during the court process
  • Allowing a judge to order a person convicted of animal cruelty to attend a responsible pet owner course sponsored by the local municipal shelter
  • Requiring the inclusion of pets and other companion animals in protective orders
  • Requiring manufacturers of antifreeze and engine coolant to add a bittering agent to the product to render it unpalatable to both children and animals
  • Giving judges the authority to prevent people of animal cruelty from having any contact with animals and allows judge to order psychological training.
  • Exempting animal rescue organizations from paying sales tax on adoptions
  • Requiring animal control agencies and animal welfare organizations to scan the pets they handle for microchips

Senator Whitmire's efforts have been recognized by the Texas Humane Legislation Network, the Humane Society of the United States, Texas Pets Alive and Houston PetSet.