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February 12, 2009

Citizen Advocates Converge on Oregon Capitol, Urge Lawmakers to Protect Animals

The Humane Society of the United States

SALEM, Ore. — Citizens from across Oregon will assemble at the state capitol Thursday to rally in support of animal protection legislation and to meet with their lawmakers. Humane Lobby Day is being sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States.

The citizen lobbyists will urge their elected representatives to support a slate of animal protection measures.

H.B. 2470, sponsored by Rep. Paul Holvey, addresses the abuse of dogs in puppy mills. Specifically, it would prohibit people from owning more than 25 breeding dogs; establish space and exercise requirements for people with more than 10 breeding dogs; and provide remedies for consumers who purchase a dog with a disease, illness or congenital defect.  Puppy mills are large-scale commercial dog breeding operations that mass produce puppies for retail sale in pet stores and over the Internet. Focused solely on making a profit, these facilities keep dogs in crowded, filthy conditions where they receive little or no socialization, affection or exercise.

S.B. 280, sponsored by Senate President Peter Courtney, would make it a felony to be a spectator at a cockfight; make it a felony to fight any animal, to possess any animal for fighting, and to watch any animal fight. In cockfighting, roosters with knives strapped to their legs are forced to fight to the death.

S.B. 398, sponsored by Sen. Floyd Prozanski, would make horse abandonment illegal.

And S.B. 391 would prohibit acquisition of certain dangerous exotic animals as pets including lions, tigers, bears, wolves and primates; it would also add alligators and crocodiles to the definition of exotic animal. Existing animals can be kept with a permit and breeding is prohibited for grandfathered animals. There is no impact on zoos or research facilities.

The day will start with a legislative briefing at the First Presbyterian Church across from the Capitol where Rep. Holvey will be welcoming citizens before they start their day. Legislators sponsoring pro-animal bills and other dignitaries have been invited to address the gathering.  Then, at noon, Sen. Courtney will be honored with a 2008 Humane Legislator of the Year Award for his support of anti-animal fighting legislation that passed last year.

"I am honored and humbled to be selected to receive this award by The Humane Society of the United States. My respect for the work they do is second only to my love for the animals they protect," Courtney said.

"So many of the situations that face animals are dealt with at the state and local levels," says Scott Beckstead, Oregon state director for The HSUS. "In many states, we're joining forces with local groups to make an even bigger difference."

This year's Humane Lobby Days are scheduled at 41 state capitals in 70 days.

Last year, state legislatures across the country passed 93 new laws for animals. The HSUS works with animal advocates and state legislators across the country to enact laws protecting animals from cruelty, combating animal fighting, halting wildlife abuse and more.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org

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