July 15, 2009
Arizona Governor Signs Bill to Protect Animals from Cruelty and Abuse
PHOENIX — The Humane Society of the United States applauds Gov. Jan Brewer for signing legislation that will help animals across Arizona. The legislation, S.B. 1115, passed both chambers by the wide margins of 28 to 1 in the Senate and 53 to 1 in the House.
The bill, which was originally introduced as a measure to address animal fighting, was later amended to incorporate several other animal-friendly measures, including:
- Expanding the current dogfighting statutes to prohibit the intentional, staged fighting of any species of animal. By expanding the dogfighting law to cover all animals, lawmakers have made a clear statement that Arizona will not tolerate any form of animal fighting, including hog-dog fighting in which one or more trained dogs are placed in combat against a feral hog for the purpose of human amusement. These fights involve timed intervals of hogs and dogs secured in inescapable pens during which time both the dogs and hogs regularly suffer trauma and injuries ranging from bite wounds to mutilation. Dogs may have their chests torn open by the hog's tusks and hogs often suffer life-threatening wounds, suffering until their impending death.
- Creating a registry of equine rescue facilities and a public list of registered equine rescue facilities at Department of Agriculture offices and on the department's website.
- Creating a procedure for kennel inspections. A person who operates a kennel that houses fewer than 20 dogs may be subject to an inspection by the county enforcement agent during regular business hours if the county enforcement agent has received a citizen or law enforcement complaint in writing that alleges the person committed animal cruelty. A person who operates a kennel that houses 20 dogs or more shall allow inspections of the kennel by the county enforcement agent as a condition of receiving a kennel permit.
- Banning the practice of "horse tripping." Horse tripping is the practice of roping the legs of a galloping horse, which then causes the horse to trip and fall to the ground. Horse tripping is so widely recognized as cruel that it has already been banned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and by the American Quarter Horse Association. This practice has been banned in film and television production for over 50 years.
"We commend lawmakers in Arizona for passing this raft of legislation to protect animals from cruelty and abuse," said Kari Nienstedt, The HSUS' Arizona state director. "The anti-cruelty laws of a state are a reflection of our basic values and attitudes toward animals, and this collection of bills is a measurable step forward for the state of Arizona."
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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 28. 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.