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Several puppies in an overcrowded pen

Protection of animal rights is on the rise

To keep you informed on pet-related laws being considered or enacted across the US, we have provided a few summaries. This edition discusses new pet legislation occurring in Michigan, Massachusetts, and Maine, as well as federal animal rights legislation.

Michigan: MI Makes It Harder For Animal Abusers To Adopt

On Dec. 28, 2016, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed, SB 0220 into law to help keep abusers away from animals. Michigan animal shelters may now conduct background checks (via ICHAT) to determine whether someone has a criminal history of animal abuse, before allowing an animal adoption. Shelters may then opt to deny adoption for up to five years after a conviction for animal abuse. Protecting animals from adoption by abusers is everyone’s concern. 

Massachusetts: Boston Forces Owners To Pay For Animal Cruelty Care

After passage by the MA legislature, Gov. Charlie Baker received bill H.1220. Once signed into law,  a security deposit would be required from any person claiming ownership of an animal which has been impounded for cruelty or fighting. The deposit would be used to pay for care and treatment of the animal. Animal rights have come a long way, and hopefully financial deterrents will continue to change attitudes about animal fighting and abuse. 

Maine: Portland Eyes Dog/Cat Sales As Key To Stemming Overpopulation

The Portland City Council recently approved new restrictions on the sale of dogs and cats designed to address several issues facing citizens: the overpopulation of dogs and cats, the lack of humane care standards in breeding facilities, and the general welfare of animals "produced" by puppy mills. The ordinance acknowledges that local residents are burdened with their portion of the costs associated with the aftercare and handling of more than 10,000 puppy mills nationwide producing upwards of 2,400,000 puppies annually (and that's not even counting the poor kittens!). A copy of the ordinance is available here as a PDF.

District of Columbia: DC Takes On Animal Crushing And Cruelty

In December, Congress passed the PACT Act (S. 1831). This bill prevents animal crushing, defined as “actual conduct in which one or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is purposely crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury.” This legislation is unique as it is the first-ever, wide-ranging anti-cruelty bill at the Federal level. It’s great to see pet lovers working at the highest levels of government! 

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

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