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February 12, 2009

Citizen Lobbyists Rally at Wash. Capitol Urging Lawmakers to Pass Animal Protection Laws

The Humane Society of the United States

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Dozens of citizens from across the Evergreen State will descend on the state capitol and meet with their lawmakers today to urge them to pass a series of animal protections bills before them this session. The citizen lobbyists are participating in Humane Lobby Day, which is organized by The Humane Society of the United States, with participation from local shelters, rescues and animal groups from across the state.

The animal protection bills before the legislature in 2009 are:

  • S.B. 5651/H.B. 1936 would crack down on the worst abuses at "puppy mills" by barring the possession of more than 25 breeding dogs at one time. It also establishes minimum care standards for dogs at breeding facilities.
  • S.B. 5329/H.B. 1406 establishes a spay/neuter assistance program for feral cats as well as dogs and cats of low-income individuals.
  • S.B. 5402/H.B. 1968 prevents people convicted of animal cruelty, in cases where the animal died or endured substantial pain or undue suffering, from owning similar animals in the future.

The HSUS is also working to defeat legislation that would essentially repeal the state's ban on steel-jawed leghold traps that was overwhelmingly passed by Washington voters. H.B. 1115/S.B. 5389 would overturn I-713, the citizen's initiative approved in 2000 by a 10-point margin, which protects Washington's pets and wildlife from cruel and indiscriminate trapping for recreation and commerce in fur.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for citizens who care about animal protection to make their voices heard, and a great way for them to participate in the lawmaking process," said Dan Paul, Washington state director for The Humane Society of the United States. "The support of local advocates is crucial to our efforts to improve the lives of animals in Washington, and prevent lawmakers from rolling back the will of the people."

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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