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February 28, 2013

Humane Lobby Day Kicks Off in Montpelier

Vermont animal advocates lobby lawmakers to protect animals

Vermonters converged on the State Capitol for Humane Lobby Day in Montpelier to lobby in support of several measures including bills to improve conditions for farm animals by banning the extreme confinement of breeding pigs in gestation crates, and to strengthen standards for commercial dog breeders. Other measures the advocates expressed support for would require that complex surgical procedures on animals be performed by veterinarians and expedite hearings on animal cruelty cases to allow for the adoption of animals into new homes more quickly.

Advocates met with Gov. Peter Shumlin and delivered more than 1,300 signatures gathered in an on-line petition supporting stronger anti-cruelty laws.

“We are thrilled to see so many Vermonters bring their voices to Montpelier and speak on behalf of animals,” said Joanne Bourbeau, The HSUS’ Northeastern regional director. “We urge state legislators to make animal welfare a high priority this legislative session.” 

“The ASPCA is proud to co-sponsor Humane Lobby Day in Montpelier, as it offers citizen lobbyists the chance to meet with their representatives to advocate on behalf of animals, who cannot speak for themselves,” said Bill Ketzer, senior state legislative director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Northeast region. “We look forward to working with legislators to pass these important bills into law to better protect the animals of Vermont.”

The HSUS presented State Sen. Jeanette White, D-Windham, with its 2012 Humane State Legislator of the Year Award for sponsoring and championing the Senate passage of S. 142, a bill to improve the state’s regulatory system for commercial dog breeders.

“I was proud to sponsor legislation to ensure that breeding dogs are protected from inhumane conditions. Vermonters care deeply about how animals are raised and cared for, and this common sense legislation is long overdue,” said Sen. White.

Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn, who supports improvements to Vermont’s civil forfeiture law, said: “The abuse and neglect of animals is a Public Safety issue that in some instances transcends those acts or omissions. As a State we have an obligation to aggressively enforce abuse and neglect laws to assure that animals are treated humanely."

Humane Lobby Day organizers also presented the legislative pet photo contest award to Rep. Larry Cupoli, R-Rutland, and his Springer Spaniels Louie and Lilly.

Vermont ranks 12th in The Humane Society of the United States’ 2012 “Humane State Rankings” which grades each state and the District of Columbia based on a wide range of animal protection laws dealing with pets, animal cruelty and fighting, wildlife, animals in research, horses and farm animals. Vermont’s strong animal fighting law and ban on the private ownership of exotic animals helps the state lead the nation in animal protection laws.

The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and the Vermont Humane Federation sponsored Humane Lobby Day 2013.

Media Contacts:

HSUS: Raúl Arce-Contreras: 301-721-6440; rcontreras@humanesociety.org

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

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