March 5, 2013
Humane Lobby Day Kicks Off in Charleston
West Virginia animal advocates lobby lawmakers to protect pets and exotic animals
West Virginians concerned about animal welfare converged on the state capitol for Humane Lobby Day in Charleston on Tuesday to lobby for better laws to protect pets and exotic animals. Humane Lobby Day is sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States.
“When people from across the state come to the capitol and speak up for animals, we think the message is heard loud and clear,” said Summer Wyatt, West Virginia state director for The HSUS. “Animal protection is a bi-partisan issue that has tremendous support among West Virginia residents.”
Humane Lobby Day participants met with their state legislators to lobby in support of animal protection bills, including S.B. 202, sponsored by Sens. Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, Rocky Fitzsimmons, D-Ohio County, Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, Ronald Miller, D-Greenbrier, William Laird, D-Fayette, David Nohe, R-Wood, and Ron Stollings, D-Boone. The legislation would create the Spay Neuter Assistance Fund to help decrease the overpopulation and euthanasia of dogs and cats in shelters across the state. Animal advocates also supported the Commercial Breeder bill, sponsored by Sens. John Unger, D-Berkeley, Jack Yost, D-Brooke, and Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, which would set standards of care for large-scale dog breeders; and a third bill, which will restrict the private ownership of dangerous wild animals kept as pets.
West Virginia ranks 38th 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. While West Virginia has some strong laws against animal cruelty, there are plenty of gaps that need to be closed.
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