Sunday, July 26, 2009

This letter was sent to a friend that shared it with me. It's good to know that the state is working on animal issues & while they do get laws passed, there are always more laws to work on. Let your representatives know you appreciate their efforts or give them a wake up call if they aren't on the right side of an issue.

Arizona 2009 Legislative Session a Victory for Animals

The Arizona Legislature adjourned earlier this month after a long session focused mostly on budget issues. Though non-budget bills were put on the back burner, we worked with a coalition of groups to fight hard and were successful in pushing major animal protection reforms over the finish line on the last day of the session.

Animal Fighting, Kennel Inspections, and Horse Tripping
Legislation to strengthen the law against animal fighting, S.B. 1115, passed both chambers overwhelmingly (28 to 1 in the Senate and 53 to 1 in the House.) This bill expands the current dogfighting statutes to prohibit the intentional, staged fighting of any species of animal -- which effectively bans the cruel practice of hog-dog fighting in Arizona. In addition to animal fighting, this bill also creates a procedure that will allow for kennel inspections by the county enforcement agent, as well as bans an inhumane rodeo practice known as "horse tripping," which is roping the legs of a galloping horse. (This cruel practice is already banned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the American Quarter Horse Association.)

Passage of this bill was an incredible community effort. See how your legislators voted on this bill by clicking here for the Senate Votes and here for the House votes.

Release from Shelters
The second bill the legislature passed, H.B. 2458, involves the release of dogs and cats from animal shelters. This legislation requires shelters to spay/neuter and microchip unlicensed dogs and cats who have been impounded, as well as dogs and cats who have bitten a person, before the shelter releases the animal to the owner. A person who wishes to forgo the spay/neuter requirement is required to pay a fee. This legislation also passed both chambers by wide margins. See how your legislators voted on this bill by clicking here for the Senate Votes and here for the House votes.

We are grateful to Governor Brewer, our lawmakers, and bill sponsors for their action on these bills. Please take a moment to let the supportive legislators and Governor Brewer know you appreciate their support on these animal-friendly bills. If you do not know who your two state Representatives and one state Senator are, click here. Use the following links to find contact info: House Members, Senate Members, Governor Brewer

Bad Legislation that Failed
Fortunately, the legislature adjourned without passing two other bills that would have set our fight back -- S.C.M. 1001, which would have urged the state to oppose federal legislation banning horse slaughter, and S.C.R. 1009, which would have allowed the legislature to suspend the Voter Protection Act in times of “budget deficit." Both bills could be reconsidered next year, and we will continue to fight against efforts that would promote horse slaughter or weaken the initiative process in Arizona.

Other Animal Protection Measures Considered
In addition to these major issues, the Arizona Legislature considered other important animal protection bills. One of those bills would have included pets in domestic violence protection orders; however it was not heard in committee due to the hectic scramble to get bills through at the end of the session.

We made significant and meaningful progress for animals in Arizona this year. We are committed to continuing the fight in 2010, and look forward to more successes next session. Help us grow our grassroots network of dedicated animal advocates by inviting your friends to join our online community. The more advocates we have working to pass animal protection legislation, the more victories we can secure for animals.

Thank you for all you do for animals.


Mike Markarian
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
The Humane Society of the United States

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