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February 7, 2013

Humane Lobby Day Kicks Off in Helena

Montana animal advocates lobby lawmakers to protect pets

Citizens from across Montana, including members of the Montana Girl Scouts Lone Rock School Cadette Troop #3756, are participating in Humane Lobby Dayto meet with lawmakers and lobby for better animal welfare laws for pets. The Humane Society of the United States and The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) sponsor Humane Lobby Day.

“We’re thrilled to work with citizens from across the state who have come to the capitol today to speak up for animals,” said Wendy Hergenraeder, The HSUS’ Montana state director. “Animal protection is a bi-partisan issue that has tremendous support among Montana voters.”

“The ASPCA is proud to participate in humane lobby days, as they offer citizens and their representatives the opportunity to discuss the importance of animal welfare laws to protect the animals who cannot advocate for themselves,” said Jessica Johnson, grassroots advocacy manager for the ASPCA. “Montana has made great progress to reduce animal cruelty and we look forward to working with legislators to further increase protection for animals throughout the state.”

Humane Lobby Day participants are meeting with their state legislators to lobby in support of HB 279, sponsored by Rep. Virginia Court, D 52, which would strengthen the state’s Animal Fighting law and make Montana the 50th state to ban attendance at dogfights; and LC 1161, sponsored by Rep. Margaret MacDonald, D 54, which would regulate large-scale pet breeding facilities. One such facility owned by AKC breeder Mike Chilinski in Jefferson City, Mont., was shut down with the assistance of The HSUS and local authorities in 2011. Chilinski was convicted of 91 counts of animal cruelty, but stronger laws to regulate large-scale dog breeding kennels could have prevented poor conditions at his kennel from continuing for so many years.

Montana ranks 35th in The Humane Society of the United States’ 2012 “Humane State Rankings,” which grades each state based on a wide range of animal protection laws dealing with pets, animal cruelty and fighting, wildlife, animals in research, horses and farm animals. Montana has some strong animal protection laws, but there is plenty of room for improvement.

In 2012, The Humane Society of the United States helped pass 74 new laws to help protect animals.

Media Contacts:

The HSUS: Anna West, 301-258-1518, awest@humanesociety.org

The ASPCA: Maureen Linehan, 646-706-4602, maureen.linehan@aspca.org

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