It’s been a great year for the animals although our work is not nearly done, but as we look back on 2011, we celebrate state legislators and humane advocacy groups for so many accomplishments.
Here are some of the highlights on behalf of the animals:
Arkansas – Rep. Mary Hickerson (R-Texarkana) sponsored HB 2001 which now permits the courts to include pets in protective orders in domestic abuse cases. Too often victims of domestic abuse remain in dangerous situations to protect their pets.
California – Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) authored SB 917 which prohibits the unregulated sale of animals on streets, in parking lots and also increases the penalty for animal neglect up to one year in prison. Many of these animals born and raised in poor conditions are bred indiscriminantly and contribute to the overpopulation of animals in California.
“By signing SB 917, Governor Brown recognizes the need to safeguard animals sold in public parking lots and roadside venues, so puppies, kittens and other pets will no longer be left to suffer in unsanitary and overcrowded cages without proper food and water,” stated Jill Buckley, senior director of Government Relations for the ASPCA.
Connecticut – HB 6303 was passed to encourage public shelters to work with rescue organizations to provide animals with better care. Rep. Diana Urban (D-North Stonington) introduced HB6226 requiring the Department of Children and Families to report animal cruelty to the state Department of Agriculture.
Florida – Sexual “conduct” and “contact” with animals is prohibited.
Maryland – A new law now requires commercial dog breeders to be licensed by the county in which they operate.
New York – This year New York City passed three animal friendly laws. Intro.328 raised dog licensing fees for unaltered dogs of which the funds will be used for spay/neutering services. Intro. 425 prohibits pet owners from tethering animals outdoors for longer than three hours in a continuous 12-hour period and Intro. 665 raises the funding levels for animal shelters and services.
In addition Governor Andrew Cuomo signed laws into effect which strengthen current state legislation against animal fighting and now makes attending a dog or cockfight a misdemeanor offense.
“Animal fighting is an extremely cruel, but lucrative, underground business,” said Debora Bresch, an attorney and senior director of ASPCA Government Relations. “It is often associated with a host of other dangerous and illegal activity, including drugs, weapons, and gambling, all of which pose serious threats to public safety.”
Texas – HB 1451 sponsored by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) and championed by Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) establishes minimum standards for the humane handling, care, housing and transportation of dogs and cats by breeders. The law requires that breeders be inspected and have safe, comfortable enclosures for animals to stand, sit, turn around and lie down in natural positions.
“Texans truly care about their pets and will not stand for cruelty in their commercial kennels,” stated Jill Buckley, senior director of Government Relations for the ASPCA.
Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations celebrates the legislative accomplishments on behalf of the animals.
“The passage of these bills makes this one of the most successful years for animals and we commend state legislators for their work with many humane advocacy groups to address necessary changes for animals.”
Let us all continue to be advocates for the animals and make 2012 an even better year.
The ASPCA, founded in 1866 by Henry Bergh continues “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA works to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with shelters nationwide.”