The promoters of an upcoming bull run outside Baytown don't have the proper permit to hold their event next month, according to an animal welfare group that has sent letters to Chambers County officials.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund says The Great Bull Run LLC, does not have a Texas mass gathering permit, which is required for events held outside city limits that are expected to draw more than 2,500 people who will remain for at least a continuous five-hour period.
State law says a county judge, or an official designated by the county judge, must issue the permit. We've left messages for Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia and Chambers County Attorney Scott Peal, but we haven't heard back.
The event, originally planned for December 7, was rescheduled for January 25 due to the cold weather.
Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne tells us that county officials are reviewing the law and the plans for the event to decide if a permit needs to be issued. He says that the law was intended for events like "pasture parties," where there was no existing infrastructure, but that the site of the bull run -- the Royal Purple Raceway -- has the infrastructure to handle large events. (This includes security, exit plans, bathrooms, etc.)
"First, [we've] got to determine whether or not they're going to have over 2,500 people" for a continuous five-hour period, Hawthorne says. Some people may leave immediately after the race and not stick around for subsequent events, such as a planned tomato-throwing, he said.
"The county judge's office and my office and the fire marshal's office are in communication with them, because we do want to make sure that they are legal," Hawthorne said.
But event promoter Rob Dickens told us something slightly different in an an e-mail: "It appears that the [Animal Legal Defense Fund] is intentionally trying to mislead county officials about the legality of our event. Regardless, we have confirmation from Chambers County that we don't require any additional permits."
We'll keep you posted.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.