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Advocacy drives new pet laws

To keep you informed on pet-related laws being considered or enacted across the US, we have provided a few summaries. This edition of Pet Legal Briefs discusses new pet legislation concerning medical marijuana in pet healthcare and the cost-of-animal-care in abuse cases.

New Hampshire: Tax Relief Sought For Animal Care In Cruelty Cases

A NH bill—sponsored by Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley—is designed as a cost-of-animal-care law. It seeks to address the enormous financial burden on NH taxpayers and nonprofit humane organizations to care for animals legally seized in animal cruelty cases. This legislation is intended to tighten regulations on commercial dog breeders, while increasing felony penalties for extreme cruelty resulting in the death of an animal. Supportive of the measure, Governor Sununu endorsed Senate Bill 569-FN.

California: Bill Seeks Medical Marijuana Benefits For Pets

Medical marijuana has been legalized, in some form, in 30 states across the US, but those laws only apply to humans. To date, veterinarians in most of those states are currently barred by law for even discussing benefits of medical marijuana in treating pet illnesses. And vets risk losing their license if they discuss treatment with medical cannabis to improve pet health outcomes, even when clients specifically ask about it. Currently, the only pet-friendly uses of marijuana-derived products approved for pets in CA are CBD (cannabidiol-based products). AB 2215 is currently high on the list of CA lawmakers’ legislative approvals.

Massachusetts: Animal Cruelty Outrage Sparks New Legislative Protections

When Puppy Doe died just over five years ago, the people of Massachusetts decided they’d had enough of animal cruelty. Public outrage, spilling out on to social media sites, and the efforts of animal-rights groups, law enforcement, and veterinary medicine, brought an exponential increase in attention to the problems of breed-specific prejudice, Craigslist pet ads, and weak animal cruelty laws. The PAWS II Act (S. 2646) was enacted by the MA House and Senate on August 2, and signed into law by Governor Baker on August 9.

Pennsylvania: Retail Pet Store Regulations Next Step In Animal Rights

Libre's Law was hailed as a victory for the citizens and animal rights advocates of PA. After facing defeat in regular House session, the efforts of more than 35,000 people helped it pass. Libre’s Law has led to even more legislative progress in animal rights: PA S.Bill 1154—also known as the Pet Store Sales Ban on Non-Rescue Animals Act—is in the process of becoming the next step in animal rights law. This bill is designed to stop the sale of non-shelter-originated puppies, kittens and rabbits in PA retail pet stores.

District of Columbia: New Legislation Proposed For Pet Medication Prescribers

The latest proposed legislation from Capitol Hill is HR 5472: The Fairness to Pet Owners Act of 2018. The Act would establish a prerequisite for prescribers of pet medications to provide the pet owner a copy of the prescription without having to request one, and without having to purchase the prescription from the prescribing party. Also, it would make payment by pet owner as a condition of being provided a copy of any prescription completely voluntary. It would also prevent pet owners from having to sign a waiver or disclaimer, or to receive any waiver or disclaimer from prescriber as a condition of providing a copy of the prescription. The new law may require payment of exam fees before a prescription is written, "but only if the prescriber requires immediate payment in the case of an examination that reveals no requirement for an animal drug.”

David Chambers is a retired paralegal living in Chicago with his roommate and two fluffy cats, Jasper and Joy

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