This edition of Figo Pet Law Briefs covers pet-related legislation being considered or enacted in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Texas and New Mexico.
Pennsylvania: PA Puppy Mills Must Provide Humane Treatment
The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) won a victory against Pennsylvania puppy mills this past September when a Pennsylvania appellate court found that the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) had created exemptions to the 2008 Pennsylvania Dog Law, which regulates breeders. By issuing exemptions for breeders, the PDA gave them a blank check to treat puppies like "cash crops instead of sentient animals', said the ALDF, who was supported by the ASPCA filing of an amicus brief in the case. This landmark decision means that all Pennsylvania puppy mills must now provide humane treatment and facilities for their animals. Woof!
Missouri: MO State Lawmakers Fail to Protect Vulnerable Pets
In the state house Missouri’s legislature failed to pass House Bill 1707, a bill proposed to protect pets from abusive humans. Dubbed the “Missouri Animal Abuser Registration Act,” this bill would have clearly defined criminal abuses of pets and other animals via the Missouri State Patrol website, including the offender’s name, photograph and other such identifying information authorities believe useful to fully inform the public. It also would have helped to protect innocent animals and their human companions from these criminals. Sadly, as a result all animal family members in Missouri are still at risk of abuse by repeat offenders, showing there is still work to be done for animal welfare.
Texas: Austin Says “No” To Spay and Neuter Policy for Stray Pets
The Austin City Council voted to reject an ordinance requiring all stray pets be spayed or neutered when first retrieved by the city’s animal services. Saved by the bell! The council decided instead to enact the current practices as a framework for the ordinance, which means owners have the option to make that decision. However, the second time the pet is caught by animal services the option is removed, and the animal will be spayed or neutered. A draft ordinance is currently being considered.
New Mexico: Santa Fe Officials Decline Animal Code Update
Sante Fe County Commissioners declined to update the county's animal control code section, but did agree to address in future meetings the tethering or chaining of animals for restraint, which was being considered for removal altogether from the code. County law enforcement worked diligently to produce the ordinance, which would have raised licensing fees, outlaw tethering in any form, and required all dogs to be on a leash when in public common areas. The struggle is between dog lovers who hate leashes, residents who seek to protect pets and public from conflicts, and law enforcement personnel who have to deal with those incidents.
David Chambers is a retired paralegal living in Chicago with his partner, Stephanie, and two fluffy cats, Jasper and Joy.