Texas has taken a significant step in keeping dogs, cats, and other companion animals from falling into the hands of people recently convicted of animal cruelty. The state updated its animal cruelty laws to prohibit people convicted of animal cruelty from having any kind of animal for five years.

The updated law follows years of activism from animal lovers concerned about the high rate of animal abuse cases in the state.

In addition to banning the possession of animals, the law prohibits people convicted of animal cruelty from living in a home with animals for five years — even if they don’t have legal custody of the animal.

Under the new law, perpetrators of animal cruelty found with animals within five years of their sentencing will face a Class C misdemeanor. If caught twice, they can be fined up to $2,000 and also serve up to 180 days in jail, according to The Texas Tribune.

The law also applies to people involved in dogfighting rings.

Animal cruelty is often an indicator that violence against humans is also taking place, especially in the home.

“When animals are safe from harm, our communities as a whole are safer,” said Representative Salman Bhojani in a statement.

Banning those convicted of animal cruelty from having animals is an effective way to prevent defenseless animals from being harmed.

Lady Freethinker applauds Texas for taking this important step in protecting animals against future abuse and encourages other states to adopt similar legislation.