How is it possible that a few state senators blocked puppy mill legislation in NC?

No Gravatar

We should not have state or federal legislative systems where a few elected officials with an ax to grind or a special-interest group to support can block extremely reasonable legislation that has the overwhelming support of the public.

Despite what some members of the US Supreme Court would have us falsely believe, people have the rights, not the special interests.

In North Carolina, Republicans hold super majorities in the House and Senate. The House voted in overwhelming numbers to pass a previous anti-puppy mill bill. A very small number of senators blocked the Senate version from moving out of committee.

Now, with the breeding previsions inserted into a budget bill, the same few individuals have managed to make sure the protections never come to a full vote. In negotiations over two overall versions of the budget, they managed to get the animal-welfare text removed – again.

As I’ve noted before, the arguments against the proposed legislation to protect puppy mill dogs and cats have no basis in reality. I can’t even imagine an alternate reality where these arguments might work.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

NC Senate blocks puppy mill regulations at the 1-yard line

No Gravatar

With the short session of the North General Assembly winding down this week, key members of the state Senate and House were debating a number of contentious provisions in the proposed budget bill.

Teacher pay and Medicaid and film-industry incentives were all up for debate and were the main areas of focus for the media. As the days and weeks wore on, animal-welfare advocates were hoping the new regulations on puppy mills would hang on with the House version of the budget – including inspections, new standards and enforcement of puppy mill laws moving from the agriculture department to law enforcement.

But a few members of the Senate managed to once again block the puppy mill regulations from remaining in the bill. It would be a very long shot at this point, but there could be a slight hope remaining that the measures could be reinstalled.

WRAL out of Raleigh, NC reported groups such as the American Kennel Club and hunting and agricultural organizations were against the measure. The article included the following –

They argue that requiring kennel inspections violates breeders’ property rights and say setting standards for companion animals could trigger similar requirements for livestock breeding operations.

Far-fetched is too light a phrase for how misguided these baseless arguments really are. The USDA engages in safety inspections at facilities, to protect public safety and for the same reason restaurants are inspected frequently. Suggesting inspections should be banned in these cases to somehow protect property rights, is nothing short of dangerous.
And protecting people who abuse dogs because protecting the dogs from suffering might lead to regulations on factory farms is both lame and extremely callous.
PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Pack of greyhound racing news

No Gravatar

The needle is moving in the positive direction in greyhound racing, as more news about the odds of shutting down the horrible industry in Iowa comes out. And hopefully, the Florida legislature will follow suit. The Herald-Tribune out of Florida ran an editorial yesterday about the decoupling effort, a move that could drop the requirement to hold dog races at casinos in the state. The next legislative session begins March 4. The editorial notes 12 of the 21 greyhound tracks in the country are in Florida. And then there’s the following tidbit about gambling dollars on dog racing, which have dropped:

… by 72 percent in Florida between 1990 and 2013. During the same period, taxes and fees paid by tracks and collected by the state dropped by 98 percent.

Again, I can’t say this enough: How could any taxpayer support the massive way a few of states have specifically supported this industry, with huge handouts and a requirement that it exist. What other business in the country gets this sort state backing – with a handouts and a guarantee they won’t be shut down, no matter how incredibly deep the losses go.

More good news is coming out of Australia, where the headline on the Young Witness website actually plays the news of greyhound racing’s decline as a bad thing. It’s seems there are ongoing funding cuts and talk of “now it’s all falling down around us” and “alleged mismanagement of the sport by GRNSW.” We can only hope the whole industry falls down – soon.

In some disgusting news out of Great Britain, a trainer is supporting a track in Wimbledon through a “Show of Passion” campaign. How about a show of “compassion” for the dogs by shutting down the industry for good.

And a great headline from Iowa ran Wednesday on TH Online website – “Negotiations would immediately end dog racing in Dubuque.”

Hopefully, an agreement is on the way that will allow both casinos in the state to end racing – with an end to the state mandates there.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Wellington, Fla. bans dog and cat sales in stores

No Gravatar

Another community has banned the sale of dogs and cats in stores. We really need this trend to spread much faster, to every state in the nation.

No stores in Wellington, Fla. reportedly sell dogs or cats at this time, but the city council chose to act proactively this week to ban the practice. There is one correction – for the following sentence from the Palm Beach Post story from Wednesday.

Any pet stores in the future could still sell animals from animal shelters and rescue organizations.

We definitely don’t want stores “selling” any dogs or cats. It should be a process where homeless pets are adopted at these stores through the rescue groups and shelters.

The article reports the council also set standards for breeding operations, to combat puppy mills:

Village Attorney Laurie Cohen said the changes ban having more than 20 puppies or 20 kittens on a property, breeding a female more than five cycles in a row and sets limits on how small a cage animals can be kept in.

Sounds like a forward-thinking town.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Legislation to ban shelter gas chambers and a proposed ban on in-store pet sales

No Gravatar

Two important bills are in the works in Michigan and Virginia and we can only hope the movement spreads.

In Michigan, the legislation could shut down gas chambers at animals shelters. It is a cruel practice that does not take into account the emotional and physical pain the animals suffer.

While it is a tragedy each time a homeless pet loses their live in a shelter, the only acceptable method should be injection.

Over in Virginia, the state legislature is considering a ban on the sale of pets from puppy mills in stores. Bailey’s Law – named for a puppy mill survivor – made it through a Senate committee on Thursday.

Of course, any such legislation should involve an outright ban on the sale of dogs and cats in stores.

Ohio close to passing new animal-cruelty law

No Gravatar

The Ohio House voted Wednesday to approve new legislation to increase the penalty for acts of animal cruelty, specifically making the act of “abusing or torturing a pet to death” a felony – as reported by Cleveland.com. The measure will now move to the State Senate before hopefully being signed into law by the governor.

Those guilty of the fifth-degree felony could get six months to one year in jail.

I wish the penalty involved a longer sentence. And in reading over the text of the HB274, it seems a ban on possessing animals can be left up to the court:

The court also may prohibit or place limitations on the person’s ability to own or care for any companion animals for a specified or indefinite period of time.

It should be a lifetime ban for anyone who abuses or tortures an animal.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Article highlights weakness in current animal-cruelty regulations

No Gravatar

Ignorance as a primary factor in animal-cruelty cases was the primary theme for an article posted November 30 on the Topeka Capital-Journal website.

But the article also notes how much local law enforcement agencies can be handcuffed by current regulations. Which clearly indicates these current regulations do not offer enough protections for animals suffering from abuse.

So when you read a statement or hear someone state that enforcement of current regulations is all that needs to happen – and claim new laws are not needed, we know these claims have little basis in reality.

The Topeka Capital-Journal piece offers this:

Unless the situation is life-threatening, officers can’t do much within the first three to four days of a complaint.

And this:

Officers also have authority to act under exigent circumstances — those instances in which they know an animal will die if they don’t intervene immediately, Hamilton said.

But it seems in cases of severe suffering, but where the officer might not be able to show the animal is about to die, they cannot act to rescue the pet immediately.

We need stronger regulations nationwide. Clearly, animals can be suffering greatly where the abuse is not to a level where they are going to die immediately. We see this often in puppy-mill cases, where the abuse had to reach horrible levels before

 

How does an anti-dog fighting bill stall in the US House?

No Gravatar

The current Farm Bill contains a provision to criminalize attending an animal-fighting event – at the federal level. And a StarGazette.com article notes:

Spectators would face additional charges if they brought a minor to witness the fight.

How both of these activities are not already federal crimes – serious federal crimes – is beyond unbelievable. But the article also reminds readers that last year’s Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act somehow stalled in the US House.

It’s good that the Farm Bill contains the provisions. But on the down side, the penalties are way too soft. Attending an animal fight could lead to a year in prison and a fine. Bringing a minor to a animal fight could lead to three years in prison. In both cases, the offenders will most likely spend far less time behind bars.

But overall, how is it that there is a debate going on about punishing people who take part in animal-fighting rings and how is it that politicians are dragging their feet on punishing people who bring kids to dog fights?

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Pennsylvania legislature passes new animal-welfare bill

No Gravatar

Despite some setbacks across the map, the animal-welfare movement is seeing forward progress and some key wins. Pennsylvania joined the list of positive results this week, with the passage of its “Cost of Care” bill in the state legislature. And reports indicate Governor Corbett will sign it into law.

The legislation means those accused of animal cruelty will be required to pay a set amount of money to help cover the cost of food and medical care for animals seized in these cases. As it stands now, animal shelters are forced to cover the costs of care as the cases make their way to completion.

If those accused of crimes challenge the payments, a hearing will be held where “humane officers must prove their case,” according to a post Wednesday on the Philly Dawg blog on Philly.com.

Philly Dawg noted the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau pushed to exempt farm animals and dogs in puppy mills. And as expected, the American Kennel Club urged the Governor to veto the bill (big surprise, right?). The AKC reportedly suggested that despite the hearing system, the law would violate the due process rights of the accused.
Again, we have groups fighting to protect those who abuse animals. Those of us fighting to protect animals from abuse, torture and neglect are disgusted by these efforts to defend the abusers.
PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Nitro’s Law is now the law in Ohio

No Gravatar

Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Nitro’s Law on Sunday. The legislation carries the name of a Rottweiler who was among eight dogs who died from starvation at a dog-training facility.

The guilty party was sentenced to only four months in jail, because at the time it was minor misdemeanor. As has been the case too many times over too many years in too many states, acts of extremely cruelty have been met with less than a slap on the wrist.

So this new law targets cruelty at licensed kennels in the state. But as is the case with other stories, there’s the good news and some bad news. An Examiner.com article explains:

Nitro’s Law affects all commercial breeding, boarding, and training facilities. The law, however has no relevance to large scale breeding operations known as puppy mills.

Another step in the right direction, but the puppy millers manage to slip away in the night.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic