Montana Representative’s proposal could further endanger abused animals

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Montana state representative Rep. Theresa Manzella (R-Darby) has proposed a law where animal shelters would need permission from the accused to take in and care for the animals in abuse cases.

Manzella claims shelter and humane staff have too much authority now in taking in animals from these cases. But those opposed to her proposal fear animal abusers could use the provisions to block even law enforcement officials from seizing animals.

The story ran Saturday on the Ravalli Republic website. The fear also is that shelters will shy away from taking in seized dogs, even when law enforcement brings them in.

A concern I have is for dog-fighting cases. Are the dog fighters going to be able to keep their dogs, as the case works its way through the courts? I think the welfare of the abuse animals needs to be a greater concern.

The actual text of the proposal is not included in the article. If the wording has any holes in it, the abusers will take full advantage.

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Legislation Update: Greyhound racing, puppy mills and animal cruelty

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There has been some positive movement around the map of late, on greyhound racing to animal-cruelty laws.

South Dakota finally joined the ranks of the states with felony animal cruelty laws, becoming the 50th state to enact more serious punishment for severe acts of cruelty to animals.

Thanks to the recent passage of SB 46, cockfighting also becomes a felony in South Dakota and the HSUS reports it is now a felony in 41 states.

GREY2K USA’s Carey Theil reviewed recent legislation on greyhound racing in his Saving Greys blog. Colorado officially banned dog racing this month and West Virginia could cut racing subsidies by 10 percent.

The Iowa State House could hopefully vote soon on a bill to decouple dog racing from the two casinos in the state and in Florida, a bill could help reduce the number of races there. And thankfully, we’re seeing injury reports in Florida that should shine more light on the horrors taking place.

The West Virginia legislation will cut “infrastructure, thoroughbred development, greyhound racing and the racetrack modernization fund” by 10 percent, according to Thankfully, the bill passed in a big way.

It’s a small step in the right direction But we need to see a complete ban. This most-recent move was prompted by budget concerns. The state could move closer to a balanced budget and end the suffering for the dogs by completely banning dog racing.

In Virginia, at last report, Baily’s Law is only waiting for Governor McAuliffe’s signature. The bill would require pet dealers to reimburse particular veterinary fees within 14 days, for pets they have sold who later require care. And pet stores will be required to reveal the identity of the breeders they use.

Another good step to cut down on puppy mill breeding, but why not ban the sale of pets in stores and why not require breeders across the board to cover veterinary care in cases where a puppy or kitten is found to have genetic problems or health problems that are a result of breeding practices?


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Ohio close to passing new animal-cruelty law

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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 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.

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Legislative news out of Alabama and Texas

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The Waco Tribune-Herald reported last week on a proposal to require most Waco, Texas pet guardians to have their pets spay or neutered and microchipped. The proposal came from the city’s Animal Welfare Advisory Board.

The article states:

The proposal would prohibit keeping or selling intact animals unless the owner is registered with the city as a breeder or the animal is younger than 4 months or medically unfit for sterilization.

And there is some really good news out of the Circle Road animal shelter, where the monthly rate of euthanasia for homeless animals dropped from 45 percent last December to a reported all-time low of 16 percent in April.

In Alabama at last report, a bill that would increase the criminal penalties for acts of animal cruelty just needed the Governor’s signature. Under the law, a Class A misdemeanor those found guilty could serve up to a year in jail and face a $1,000 fine.

Extreme acts of torture to animals could become Class C felonies, according to Fox 10 TV.


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North Carolina First Lady is backing state’s puppy mill bill

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North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s wife Ann McCrory is reportedly lobbying for the passage of a puppy mill bill, currently working its way through the state’s General Assembly. The Governor might be putting himself in a odd spot if it decides to hesitate in signing the bill.

The Charlotte Observer quoted Ann McCrory as saying:

“Passing legislation to establish basic standards of care for large commercial breeding facilities is a very important issue to me and to people across our state,” Ann McCrory wrote. “These policies increase our quality of life in North Carolina and ensure better care for dogs across our state.”

I wish HB930 did more. It needed an inspection system and licensing. The Charlotte Observer article reports the current bill does not cover “kennels that provide boarding or training, even if only a single dog is boarded” or breeders who breed “show dogs, hunting dogs, sporting dogs or field dogs.” All dogs should be covered by the very basic protections in the bill.

I’ll have more on this legislation coming up. One elected official is getting some blow-back after a very harsh statement in opposition to the effort to protect dogs from cruelty.


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ND animal cruelty bill going through changes

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The North Dakota legislature is inching closer to passing new animal cruelty legislation. But by the time the bill is ripped to shreds by amendments and modifications, I’m sure what might be left.

WDAZ reports the bill was modified to require a search warrant before an animal can be taken in cases of abuse or neglect. But this is not the case for animals who are found abandoned.

It passed the State Senate on a vote of 43-3 and will now go to the House for a final vote.

KFYR used the phrase “plenty of changes” in describing the process. And the KFYR story includes the following statement – one that might tell us where the bill is really going:

The bill also includes a study to be done during the interim by representatives of the agriculture and livestock industry on the affects of the act.

The Bismarck Tribune explains the details on criminal punishment. Animal cruelty is a Class C felony in SB2211. In cases of neglect, abandonment or abuse, the penalty is set at a Class A misdemeanor. On a third offense of abuse the charge would jump to a Class C felony.


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