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No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
House Bill 593 requires officers to have animal encounter training. The training program would not be available as an online course. The course would have to be at least eight hours consisting of using nonlethal methods to handle animals, understanding animal behavior, law and local ordinances related to animals, and avoiding animal attacks. An officer is not required to retake the program once completed.
We should hold our peace officers to a high standard of accountability because of the role they fulfill in defending our lives, liberty, and property. Additional training requirements are an important aspect of keeping them accountable to protect property, which includes pets.
We believe additional training could help to curtail a recent spate of peace officers shooting pet dogs while on duty.
However, we understand that too many mandatory trainings for peace officers take away from the time that they have to effectively perform their duties. New trainings being proposed during the 84th Legislature include: SB 1037, which would require additional training on using non-lethal force; HB 2684, which would create specialty training for peace officers assigned to a school district; and SB 3, which would provide a new facility for all the new additional training required.
We support HB 593 for supporting a legitimate role of government and supporting our private property rights. Yet, we urge legislators to understand that proposing new trainings should be done with great forethought and discretion.