Texans respond to Gov. Greg Abbott's veto of animal cruelty bill with #AbbottHatesDogs hashtag

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a press event. - COURTESY PHOTO / TEXAS GOVERNOR'S OFFICE
Courtesy Photo / Texas Governor's Office
Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a press event.

Gov. Greg Abbott has vetoed 20 bills passed by the Texas Legislature this session, but none may come back to bite him quite like a measure that would have banned people from tethering their dogs outside with heavy chains.

After vetoing Senate Bill 474, which also would have expanded and clarified Texas' animal cruelty laws, the hashtag #AbbottHatesDogs began trending on Twitter. The bipartisan legislation was backed by animal control personnel, animal welfare groups and law enforcement agencies. It also passed both GOP-controlled houses with strong majorities.

Even so, the Republican governor — who owns a golden retriever named Pancake, according to the Houston Chronicle — said in his veto statement that current laws are adequate to protect pets. "Texas is no place for this kind of micro-managing and over-criminalization," he added.

The Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN) called bullshit on Abbott's assessment, saying in a written statement that the existing state law, passed 15 years ago, is too vague to be enforceable. Hence the work during the recent session to clarify and update it.

"All the elements Gov. Abbott cited as 'micromanagement' were carefully negotiated compromises that addressed concerns from lawmakers in both parties to strike the right balance for our diverse state," THLN Executive Director Shelby Bobosky said.

Twitter users pointed out the irony of Abbott deciding that micro-management was a bad thing when it came to protecting pets even though he's found other things to micromanage from his bully pulpit.

Stay tuned to see whether the angry flurry of #AbbottHatesDogs tweets surpasses the #AbbottFailedTexas hashtag, which percolated up on Twitter over the past couple of weeks.

Users have thrown around #AbbottFailedTexas following the governor's assurance that the Lege fixed "all of the flaws" with the state's power grid, his veto of lawmaker salaries as punishment for not passing a bill making it harder to vote and his pledge to resurrect Trump's border wall.

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