February 17, 2011
Animal Advocates Lobby Arizona Lawmakers for Animal Welfare Legislation
Citizens from across the Grand Canyon state gathered at the capitol today to urge their lawmakers to support animal protection bills being considered by the Arizona State Legislature this session. Approximately 80 animal advocates from all areas of the state attended The Humane Society of the United States’ 2011 Humane Lobby Day, an annual event sponsored by the nation’s largest animal protection organization. The HSUS has more than 230,000 supporters in Arizona, and the event brought together constituents representing 23 of Arizona’s 30 Legislative Districts.
Last year, state legislatures across the country passed 97 new laws for animals. The HSUS works with animal advocates and state legislators to enact laws protecting animals from cruelty, combating animal fighting, halting wildlife abuse and more.
Arizona ranked 19th in The HSUS’ 2010 state animal protection rankings of the 50 states and District of Columbia. States were graded on a wide range of animal protection laws dealing with pets, animal cruelty and fighting, wildlife, animals in research, horses and farm animals. Arizona has strong animal fighting laws; all forms of animal fighting are felonies. Arizona also became the second state to ban intensive confinement of breeding sows in gestation crates in 2006. But Arizona loses points for weak laws on the private possession of exotic animals as pets, and no state laws to protect dogs in abusive mass breeding facilitates known as “puppy mills.”
“It sends a powerful message to Arizona’s legislators when so many animal advocates from literally every corner of our great state make the journey to Humane Lobby Day,” said Kari Nienstedt, Arizona state director for The HSUS. “To have constituents from 23 of the 30 Legislative Districts attend demonstrates that compassion is a statewide virtue shared by rural, suburban and urban voters.”
Animal protection bills being considered this session are:
S.B. 1517–animal abuse; reporting
- Would require that, on conviction of a violation of state animal cruelty laws (clearly defined in the language), the court shall provide a copy of the minute entry or disposition order to the animal welfare enforcement authority in its jurisdiction.
- Limits the ownership or adoption of animals by a person convicted of a violation of state animal cruelty laws for the period of his/her probation.
- Requires that when an employee of the Department of Economic Security, Department of Health Services, a home health or nursing home care provider, or a probation or parole officer believes an animal has been mistreated or neglected the person shall report it to a peace officer, animal control officer, or livestock officer.
These three components will help detect and deter animal abuse and animal fighting in Arizona. They are crucial tools for those seeking to protect animals from cruel mistreatment and neglect.
H.B. 2539 – public sale of animals
Removes the county population requirement of 800,000 persons or more that limits where the unlawful public sale of animals on public or private property is applicable. Acquisition of an animal on impulse nearly guarantees a problematic relationship between animal and owner.
H.B. 2137 – dogs; cats; sterilization
Current law requires all dogs or cats being released for adoption or released to its owner from a county, city or town animal shelter to have been surgically spayed or neutered. Many groups are working hard to find a safe, humane, and inexpensive non-surgical method sterilization. This bill allows the permanent sterilization of a dog or cat by a procedure other than surgical sterilization, should one become available and is approved by the appropriate agencies.
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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.