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The good, the bad and the ugly - New Animal Laws

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Some of the bills that have recently passed and been signed into law are simply unbelievable. Some that weren't passed are just as amazing.

For instance: In Virginia, abandoning an animal was covered under their animal abuse law. NOW, abandoning or dumping any companion animal falls under the Littering section of the highway laws. No, I'm not kidding. It carries a penalty of imprisonment up to 12 months and a fine of $250-$2500, but that can be suspended on the condition that the person volunteers to remove litter from the highway.

On the plus side, many states are taking animal abuse much more seriously, at least adding felony provisions to their existing laws or trying to make more serious penalties.

However, a bill in Maryland that would add cats to the law that prohibits killing dogs by poison or ground glass failed in committee. Mississippi had a bill that died in committee that would have prescribed acceptable manners of euthansia and prescribe qualifications for euthanasia technicians. New Hampshire killed a bill that would require animal shelters to have health certificates, and that every adoptable animal be seen and vaccinated by a vet, and they killed another bill raising dog license fees which would have raised an estimated $300,000 for the state's spay/neuter fund. New Mexico tabled a bill that would have defined companion animal hoarding and provided penalties and possible psychological counceling for perpetrators. Oklahoma is trying it's hardest to reduce the penalties for cockfighting. Vermont is trying to remove inspection requirements for pet stores and dealers. Wyoming killed a bill that would have taken cats from the definition of "Predatory Animals" (which are almost always killed as a means of population control).

Some of the super good that you probably never heard of in your state: Nebraska passed a law that requires licensure of pet shops and requires dealers, pet shops, shelters and breeders to provide people with spay/neuter information, requires that all animals leaving a shelter or animal control facility to be spayed/neutered, and sets standards for commercial breeders including socialization. New Jersey passed a bill that restircts surgical debarking of dogs. Oregon not only requires vets to report suspected abise, they fine them up to $1000 for not reporting. Rhode Island allows a person whose pet is killed to sue for non-economic damages up to $10,000. South Dakota makes bestiality a crime under the animal abuse statute.

New York gets a for their bills still alive. (As far as I can tell, at this time they are in Committee, and most legislatures are adjourned for the session.) One makes vets who report suspected cases of animal abuse in good faith immune from criminal or civil liability. Another prohibits cosmetics manufacturers from testing on an animals eyes or skin for the purpose of measuring irritants. Cross reporting between child and animal abuse agencies would be mandated. Prohibits schools from allowing or assigning dissection of cats or dogs.

And the BEST Bill of the Year (for us anyway) is also from New York. A6445 Feral Cat Protection - excludes cats, domestic and feral from the definition of wildlife in the environmental conservations law. (Meaning they can't trap and kill, hunt, drown, or use other methods that are currently allowed for wild animals. Also means that cat-haters can't use population control as a defence for killing cats.) This bill is still in Committee, so New Yorkers, be sure to contact your local reps and put the pressure on to support their positive animal legislature.

Thanks for reading this LONG post!
post #2 of 9
for NY! Now if all the other states will wise up!!!
post #3 of 9
Az just passed a law, making it a criminal offense for anyone who "intentionally, knowigly or recklessly leaves an animal unattended and confined in a motor vehicle and physical injury to or death of the animal is likely to result." The statute also allows "a peace officer animal control enforcement agent or animal control enforcement deputy to use reasonable force to open a vehicle to rescue an animal if the animal is left in the vehicle." They would enjoy immunity from any damage they cause to the vehicle while effecting the rescue.

If it didn't take so long, I'd advocate using the "jaws of life" to rescue the animal, rather than breaking the window. Explain THAT to your insurance company!

You may no longer shoot a stray animal on your property, unless it is attacking. If there is a problem with stray animals, call Animal Control. I had to do this a few weeks ago, when a couple of large, ugly pit bulls showed up in my driveway.
post #4 of 9
I'm good at posting, but bad at web searching. What does California have going for it?
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Teresa, I have all my documents at work, but I'll look it up tomorrow. California in general has (IMO) the model animal control law on the books already. It is really a great law, with the set goal of zero healthy euthanasia. At least they are actively working toward that.

California tried, unsuccessfully, to ban declawing, but at least it was tried on a state level.

That's what I remember off the top of my head.

Cindy, thanks for the update on the AZ law. I'll definitely include that for SPA.
post #6 of 9
Good for NY. It seems as if some progress is being made, but I'm sorry that the declawing ban didn't get pushed through in CA. Animal protection has been expanded in the European Union - Germany has a ban on declawing cats and cropping dogs, and all shelters are "no kill", but many of the laws passed (a ban on confining hens to cages the size of printer paper, a restriction on carting animals clear across Europe for slaughter with no breaks for water and exercise) won't go into effect for a few years. The practice of "debarking" really stuns me. I hadn't heard of such a thing until quite recently. What sick minds thought that up? I know there are "problem barkers", since we live right next door to one, but there are good sides to barking - Aki, the neighbors' dog, always alerts us to postal deliveries, strange cars, people, or animals on our street, weird noises, etc.. Since we no longer have dogs, I appreciate his "notifications", even if he does overdo it. He's neurotic, but that's understandable - he spent his first few years trying to survive out on the streets in Spain, where animals aren't particularly valued. I can't imagine ever debarking a dog or declawing a cat, and am disappointed that there are vets who perform such atrocities.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Jcat, the really horrible thing about the declawing law that was tried in California is that one of the main OPPONENTS of the bill was veterinarians. They said it would impact their bottom lines too much. There has also been a few bills introduced that change a companion animal's owner's status from "owner" to "guardian" which would inherently give more rights to the animal. As far as I know, only one passed (in a municipality in CA) because vets saw this as a major liability issue. If an animal dies in their care due to negligence now, they can only be held liable for the cost to replace the "property". If you are a "guardian" that implies additional value on the life of the animal and would increase their liability exponentially. (At least that's why it was defeated here in Colorado.)

Teresa, and anyone else interested, Here is the link to the PDF from the AVMA that tells of the legislature and status of bills impacting animals for all 50 states. It is a heafty file (34 pages), but interesting to see what our states are doing with animal issues. Thank you MA for sending that link on to me.

One good thing to report: 41 states plus Washington DC now have felony provisions in their animal cruelty laws.
post #8 of 9
Which means we can put a lot of vets in the same category as a lot of plastic surgeons. Whatever happened to the Hippocratic oath?
post #9 of 9
California is going County by County voting for making declawing illegal. I'm happy to say that Los Angeles is now declawing free!
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