2012’s Best New State Laws for Animals
Guest blog by Ann Church, Vice President of State Affairs, ASPCA Government Relations
Thanks to the support of animal advocates like you, the ASPCA’s Government Relations team was able to expand greatly this year, increasing our ability to fight for better laws for animals in all 50 states. As 2012 draws to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect on some of this year’s legislative accomplishments on behalf of animals. Here is a small sampling of state-level victories that the ASPCA and our mighty Advocacy Brigade helped secure in 2012:
California—“Hounding” of Wildlife
California has banned hounding, a form of trophy hunting in which radio-collared dogs are released in forests to chase and tree bears and bobcats.
2012 will be remembered as the year that Idaho, a long-time holdout, finally enacted a law making animal torture a felony offense. The state made cockfighting a felony as well.
Massachusetts—Animal Control Reform
Among other achievements, this far-reaching, comprehensive new law creates a statewide spay/neuter program, prohibits breed-specific legislation, places restrictions on outdoor tethering, and allows pets to be included in domestic violence-related protection orders.
New Jersey—Horse Slaughter
New Jersey banned the slaughter of horses for human consumption as well as their transport through the state—a very meaningful provision, given the continued problem of export of horses over the border for slaughter.
Ohio—Exotic Pet Ownership and Puppy Mill Regulations
Ohio’s Dangerous Wild Animal Act passed seven months after 56 exotic animals were released by their owner. (Most were killed.) Ohio was one of only a handful of states with virtually no regulations on wild/exotic animal pet ownership. In addition, the state passed its first-ever puppy mill law, which sets standards of care and requires annual inspections.
Tennessee—Felony Cruelty to Livestock
While most states exempt farm animals from their animal cruelty statues, Tennessee became one of the first to make extreme acts of cruelty to livestock subject to felony-level penalties.
It’s important to remember that these victories, as well as the countless others, could not have been achieved without collaboration among state legislators and humane advocacy groups. Let’s all continue to champion stronger laws protecting our nation’s animals and make 2013 an even better year!