February 15, 2011
Animal Advocates Lobby Indiana Lawmakers for Animal Welfare Legislation
Animal advocates from across the state rallied at the state capitol in Indianapolis to urge their legislators to enact stronger animal protection laws. The event was organized by The Humane Society of the United States. At the event, citizen advocates urged their legislators to strengthen laws to crack down on animal fighting and prohibit coyote and fox penning, and opposing captive trophy hunts.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for citizens to speak out on behalf of the animals, and a great way for them to start developing relationships with their elected officials,” said Anne Sterling, Indiana 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 Indiana.”
Advocates will be lobbying for legislation on:
Cracking Down on Animal Fighting - SB 377, sponsored by Senator Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte, strengthens the animal fighting law by making it a felony to attend an animal fight. Two dogfighting operations in Orange County, Indiana, were raided and over 109 dogs were seized in 2009. Animal fighting is one of the most egregious forms of animal cruelty and is associated with other criminal activities, such as illegal drugs, weapons, and gambling.
Prohibiting Coyote and Fox Penning -HB 1135, sponsored by Representative Dave Cheatham, D-North Vernon, prohibits coyote and fox penning. Coyote and fox pens are escape-proof enclosures into which dozens of dogs are released to pursue wild-caught coyotes and foxes that have been stocked in the pen. The dogs are judged by how well they chase down the disoriented and terrified animals, who have nowhere to escape. The dogs often catch and rip apart these captive wildlife.
Stopping Captive Trophy Hunts - Animal advocates are opposing HB 1299, sponsored by Representative David Wolkins, R-Winona Lake, would specifically legalize captive hunts—something no other state has done. Captive hunting operations are private trophy hunting facilities that offer their customers the opportunity to kill animals trapped within enclosures. The animals are bred on the ranch or bought from dealers. They are typically semi-tame, hand-reared animals who have lost their fear of humans. They are shot to be trophies and have no chance to escape the fence. A statewide survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. has revealed that Indiana voters strongly support, by 85 to 9 percent, legislation to prohibit the practice of fox and coyote penning in Indiana. The survey results were consistent in every political demographic, with all political affiliations expressing iron-clad opposition to penning and support for legislation to ban it. The statewide survey also revealed that voters widely support pursuing a complete prohibition on captive trophy hunts.
The Hoosier state ranks low in The HSUS’ national survey of animal protection laws, coming in at 34th out of all states and the District of Columbia. While Indiana has strong laws against animal fighting, it still has weak penalties for people attending fights – creating a loophole and making it difficult for law enforcement to crack down on animal fighters. Indiana also currently has weak laws protecting wildlife from abuse, prohibiting the possession of dangerous exotic animals as pets and protecting farm animals from extreme confinement on factory farms
Find out more about pending Indiana legislation.
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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.