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February 23, 2010

Ala. Residents Urge Lawmakers to Pass Animal Protection Laws

Measures would combat animal cruelty and fighting

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Starting at 9:30 a.m., citizens from across Alabama gathered at the Statehouse to meet with their lawmakers and urge them to pass legislation to strengthen the state's animal protection laws by increasing the penalties for cockfighting and strengthening the anti-cruelty statute. Participating in The Humane Society of the United States' Humane Lobby Day event, the advocates also held a pro-spay-and-neuter rally at the Statehouse steps in celebration of the 16th annual Spay Day. 

"It is a wonderful day when Alabamians who care about animals take the time to meet with and thank their legislators for their hard work on behalf of animals," said Mindy Gilbert, Alabama state director for The Humane Society of the United States.

Cockfighting

Cockfighting is a cruel blood sport in which roosters have knives or ice-pick-like weapons called gaffs strapped to their heels and are forced to fight — often to the death — for the sake of cockfighting enthusiasts' sick sense of entertainment. Humane Lobby Day participants urged their legislators to pass S.B. 124, sponsored by Sen. Myron Penn, D-Union Springs, and H.B. 342, sponsored by Rep. James Fields, D-Hanceville, to strengthen Alabama's cockfighting law by strengthening the penalties for the crime.

Animal Cruelty

S.B. 246 is sponsored by Sens. Zeb Little, D-Cullman, and Jamie Ison, R-Mobile. This legislation would amend and strengthen existing cruelty laws by adding a provision to require owners of seized animals to post bond for the care of the animals until a court hears the case. This legislation would relieve a financial burden on local agencies, including animal shelters, veterinarians and law enforcement.

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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.

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