Legislation Update: Some of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted by Stephan Otto, ALDF's Director of Legislative Affairs on June 7, 2010

The Good

Alaska: Passing almost unanimously through both chambers of the Alaska Legislature, a landmark bill is currently awaiting the signature of Alaska’s governor. This legislation makes a felony penalty available on first offenses of aggravated cruelty; makes the sexual assault of an animal a separate crime; and makes animal cruelty an aggravating factor at sentencing. ALDF provided detailed legislative analyses on the state’s animal protection laws for the bill’s sponsors, and submitted testimony in support of the legislation.

New York:
A new animal abuser database bill was recently introduced in New York, bringing the total number of abuser registry bills introduced across the country this year to four. New York has another pending registry bill as well. California and Louisiana are the other two states that had abuser registry bills introduced so far this year.

Tennessee: A new “Good Samaritan” law provides immunity from civil liability to rescuers, veterinarians and others who make good faith attempts to assist stray animals that are sick or injured.  

Arizona, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Minnesota joined the growing list of states and territories (now numbering 18) that have enacted laws expressly authorizing courts to include animals in domestic violence protective orders.

The Bad

California:

  • SB 1277, a bill to create an animal abuser registry, failed to advance last week due to exorbitant cost estimates provided by the California Department of Justice (DOJ). While other states considering abuser registry legislation have compiled fiscal estimates ranging from $19,000 to $60,000 for costs of implementation of such registries, California’s DOJ, in stark contrast, submitted estimates to the Senate Appropriations Committee ranging from $750,000 to $2 million. Owing to legislative deadline constraints, ALDF and the bill’s sponsor were unable to successfully challenge these figures. We hope to see the legislation reintroduced next year.
  • SB 1417 recently passed the Senate and is currently pending in the Assembly. It seeks to establish new requirements for the formation of SPCAs and appointment of humane officers, including an arbitrary 5-year-wait before any new SPCA could appoint humane officers to enforce California’s animal protection laws – regardless of whether a humane officer had completed all required training and background checks. ALDF opposes SB1417 as unnecessary, and believes that its 5-year-wait is both unwarranted and unprecedented. Such lengthy waits will effectively stop the formation of new SPCAs who are solely interested in enforcing the laws. ALDF believes it is in the best interests of California’s animals to have more humane officers, not fewer. If you live in California, please contact your Assemblymember today and ask that they vote to oppose SB 1417.

The Ugly

Kentucky: Despite being championed by the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association, HB 238, a bill which sought to simply correct a law enacted last year that inadvertently stripped the ability of veterinarians to voluntarily report suspected cases of animal cruelty, was not passed by the Kentucky Legislature. For more background on this continuing fiasco, see this earlier blog post.


5 thoughts on “Legislation Update: Some of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  1. Mary King says:

    Once again Kentucky Legislature shows its true colors!

  2. ANNA VIRGINI says:

    It is unbelievable that legislations, in some of USA countries, like everywhere else, they have to always been postponed. IT MAKES YOU SO ANGRY!!! Thinking that these poor animals are constantly suffering every day, and they don’t want to end their suffering because always for the damned money no pity or compassion in their hearts. MONEY FIRST!!!

  3. Cindy Wines says:

    Its too bad we cannot get the horse drawn carriages banned in New York. Shamrock Stables has been shut down. These horses have no life.
    The drivers pretend to take care of them and love them but they just passed a bill which gives them more more. They need to send these faithful horses to a grassy sanctuary where they can finish their lives in the sunshine and running free. Pulling those stupid carriages which was fine in the 1980′s is archaic today. Traffic, pollution, abuse from the drives, etc. is what they put up with.
    Let’s hope ASPCA and all the horse non profits can get these horses retired, not sent to slaughter and bring in the electric cars!

    ON another note, Ringling Bros. are huge abuser of the elephants and tigers in the circus. Do not take your kids or your grandkits to the circus. They need to be sente to PAWS to retire. Gather animal rights groups together and picket the circus when you see them coming to town! See http://www.freetheelephants.com for more info.

  4. How about including Florida’s horse-friendly new law, the 2010 Florida Horse Protection Bill that was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Crist on May 14, 2010. Parts of it will become effective July 1 with the part increasing penalties from misdemeanor to felony with mandatory minimum 1 yr jail for horse slaughter will become effective Oct. 1, 2010 as Chapter 2010-87 of Florida Statutes. The South Florida SPCA Horse Rescue, of which I am president, worked very hard to help write, lobby and pass this legislation. For over a year, SFSPCA members worked bravely and courageously under cover to document the slaughter and atrocities associated that resulted in this legislation. Please. Some credit to the great state of Florida, home to 500,000 horses, ranking #3 in the nation in number of horses.

  5. Stephan says:

    This is just a very small sampling of some of this year’s legislation. There are many other examples that fit into each category.

    Thanks for highlighting the recent horse legislation in Florida Jeanette.