Monday, the Texas Humane Legislative Network (THLN) will meet with local animal organizations at the McAllen Library to propose a chapter for animal welfare advocacy in the Rio Grande Valley. With administrations across Texas, THLN works to bring awareness to statewide and nationwide animal issues.
Shelby Bobosky, Executive Director of the Texas Humane Legislation Network, said that THLN promotes legislation and advocacy for the humane treatment of animals.
“We are the only Texas organization focusing on addressing animal welfare laws in the state,” said Bobosky, a Dallas native. “We are a 501(c)4, but we also have a 501(c)3 organization called the Texas Humane Network. The mission of the 501(c)3 is to promote the humane treatment of animals through education and training…the (c)4 passes the laws, and the (c)3 educates on the laws.”
Primarily volunteer-based, the organization has chapters in Austin, Tyler, El Paso, Houston, and Wichita Falls with dedicated supporters. According to Bobosky, local chapters “get political for animals.”
“Not only can they serve as a voice at the Texas Capitol, but they also can be the voice of thousands of animal welfare policies at a local level,” Bobosky said.
The THLN Executive Director said the organization is exploring and bringing a chapter to the Valley but says it is up to the citizens if it takes root.
Earlier this year, there was a humane lobby in Austin at the state capitol, where Bobosky and the THLN team saw an influx of animal rights activists from the Valley.
“I was incredibly impressed that so many animal lovers, advocates, and rescuers all came up from RGV to be a part of this lobby day,” said Bobosky. “That is where the idea copulated.”
The meeting discusses the logistics of a chapter and informs the public on recently passed animal laws and how they affect the community.
“The point is to educate on the new laws and really serve as a Q&A for questions related to animal laws,” Bobosky said.
Issues, such as puppies sold at pet stores, will be a roundtable topic at the meeting. The discussion of this topic comes a week after animal advocates protested against the Paws Paradise pet store in McAllen on October 28, 2023.
“In 2025, we plan to help support a bill that we feel will end cruel puppy mill practices in other states and truly slow down and, or, stop the puppy mill pipeline in Texas,” Bobosky passionately stated. “Many retail pet stores that are selling puppies in Texas force those puppies and kittens from out-of-state puppy mills.”
THLN recommends adopting or rescuing shelter animals or finding a responsible breeder if one is looking for a specific breed of cat or dog.
If cities adopt animal advocacy chapters, elected officials may provide proper funding to local shelters with overpopulation and handle issues such as animal cruelty through increased education and awareness.
“We serve as a guide, but if the local elected officials want to hear from their constituents, then THLN employs in other areas. So, we think that RGV is right for a chapter, and we hope to facilitate one.”