The bill requires kennels to give pet owners a written notice if their animal will be left unattended during specific hours.
AUSTIN, Texas — A bill to increase safety requirements at Texas pet boarding facilities is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.
House Bill 2063, authored by State Rep. James Talarico (D-Round Rock), requires kennels to give pet owners a written notice if their animal will be left unattended during specific hours or if the facility doesn’t have a functioning sprinkler system. If a pet is injured or dies while unattended and the facility didn’t give written notice, it would be a Class B misdemeanor.
HB 2063 was filed in direct response to a fire at the Ponderosa Pet Resort in Georgetown on Sept. 18, 2021, which resulted in the deaths of 75 dogs. Following the fire, investigators immediately began looking into what could have caused it.
The investigation revealed no smoke alarms or sprinklers were installed at the facility, and no personnel was at the facility when the fire broke out. It was also revealed that the City code at the time did not require the facility to have sprinklers, smoke alarms or 24/7 staffing.
A lawsuit filed by affected families in early November 2021 stated that the fire “started with sparks coming from an electrical device or outlet.”
In the wake of the fire, community members started a petition to add more safety requirements for facilities that house pets. On Sept. 28, 2021, the Georgetown City Council approved a memorial for the 75 dogs who died.
On Oct. 7, 2021, Talarico filed a bill in the Texas Legislature that, if it passed, would have required fire alarms and sprinkler systems in dog kennels if the kennel is not staffed 24/7.
In February 2022, the Georgetown City Council adopted fire code changes that require all animal care facilities to install fire alarms and all new animal care facilities to have advanced fire protection features that include a sprinkler system or an acceptable alternative.
If HB 2063 is signed by the governor, it will go into effect on Sept. 1.