Texas kennel safety bill passes both chambers, heads to governor's desk

Texas kennels may soon have more safety requirements thanks to a bill that has passed both the Texas House and Senate, and is on its way to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk.

HB 2063 was filed by state Rep. James Talarico (D-Round Rock) in response to the 2021 fatal fire at the Ponderosa Pet Resort in Georgetown. HB 2063 requires kennels to disclose to pet owners if a dog or cat will be left unattended or left in a facility that does not have a fire sprinkler system.

Talarico's office says that after the fire, dog lovers and community advocates organized a petition that garnered over 17,000 signatures from across the U.S. calling for legislative solutions to keep dogs in kennels safe.

"The fire in Georgetown was absolutely gut-wrenching. My heart goes out to the families that lost their loving companions," said Talarico in a release. "After the fire, our community rallied together and called for action. Our legislation will ensure accidents like this never happen again in Texas."


In September 2021, the Ponderosa Pet Resort caught fire, killing all 75 dogs inside the facility. The Georgetown Fire Department had responded and found the entire building engulfed in flames, but despite their quick response time, the dogs inside all died from smoke inhalation.

According to the city, the resort did not have a kennel permit as required by city ordinance, which regulates requirements such as food, water, sanitary conditions, and health, but did not require sprinklers, smoke alarms or 24/7 staffing at the time.

On the local level, the Georgetown City Council unanimously approved amendments to the city’s fire codes during a February 2022 meeting, making the codes among the strongest in the nation when it comes to protecting pets and animals. 

All animal-care facilities in Georgetown are now required to install fire alarms. Newly constructed facilities also have additional fire-protection requirements.