Tuesday, July 7, 2015

News Briefs and Updates July 7, 2015

SAOVA Friends,

At SAOVA there is always some type of work or research needed and volunteers are both welcome and appreciated.  We also encourage readers to send in news from your area of pending legislation. If you are a writer, feel free to submit articles for review and posting on the SAOVA blog.  Cross posting of our news briefs is encouraged and helps keep others informed.

The world not only belongs to those who show up, it's controlled by the best informed and most motivated.

Thank you for reading.

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance

Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL12) and Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX28) announced that they will launch a new animal caucus, focusing on ties between people and animals. The two congressmen will co-chair the ‘Caucus for the Humane Bond’ which “was created to strengthen the humane bond between people and animals, unleashing the power of our connection to benefit both and create healthy, sustainable and humane communities.”

"From children with cancer to veteran dog handlers and their dogs, animals have played important roles in people’s lives,” said Congressman Bilirakis. “It is up to all of us to promote these roles in ways that benefit both people and animals.” Congressman Cuellar added, "Animals comfort, protect, entertain, and sustain us. It is important for all of us to make sure that bond works to benefit animals and people, and create a more humane and sustainable world.”

Launch of the caucus on June 3 at the Cannon House Office Building included country singer Naomi Judd; movie director Jon Turteltaub; military hero dog teams Corporal Jeff DeYoung and Military Working Dog (MWD) Cena and Specialist Brent Grommet and MWD Matty; and Crystal the Capuchin monkey from the "Night at The Museum" movies.

According to the American Humane Association (AHA) news release, the bipartisan Caucus for the Humane Bond is devoted to bringing a commonsense, scientific and rational dialogue to the issues surrounding the physical, emotional, and even medical connections between humans and animals. The caucus will play an important role strengthening the humane bond between people and animals in working environments, our homes, hospitals, educational settings, the wild and agriculture, unleashing the power of our connection to benefit both and create healthy, sustainable and humane communities.

AHA President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert praised the formation of the caucus. “From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Congressman Bilirakis and Congressman Cuellar for their vision and their leadership in creating the Caucus for the Humane Bond,” said Dr. Ganzert. “The animal space often brings out strong emotions and passions, and national dialogue has at times been contentious with different competing agendas.

Ganzert continued, “The American Humane Association doesn’t believe in animal abolitionism, whereby we remove problems simply by removing animals from our lives. We believe in coming up with sustainable, moral solutions that enrich and benefit both people and the creatures that share our earth. In a time of partisanship and polarization, it’s encouraging that leaders are willing to put differences aside and work across the aisle to create the Caucus for the Humane Bond. In doing so, they will make a more humane world for animals, including those in our homes, working environments and agriculture, while helping children, families, our military veterans, the ill and the elderly.”
Sources: Congressman Gus Bilirakis website; The Hill http://tinyurl.com/po2tfld ; American Humane Association news

The Cloud Foundation and the Friends of Animals filed a petition June 2014 with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) in support of including the horses in the Endangered Species Act, requesting wild horses be considered a Distinct Population Segment (DPS). Petitioners argued that wild horses are markedly separated from other horse populations by ecological, physiological, and behavioral factors. Petitioners maintained that wild horses are better suited for living in the wild than domestic horses because they can survive longer without water, have different hooves, and have a more highly refined flight reaction. Following a 90-day review of the petition and sources provided, USFWS found that the petition did not present substantial information that the population of North American wild horse may be discrete (markedly separated from other populations of the same taxon) under the DPS policy. Therefore, wild horses are not a listable entity under the ESA. Docket with petition and USFWS denial  http://tinyurl.com/nccebbe

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced June 30 that it has determined that a petition to reclassify all gray wolves in the conterminous U.S., except for the Mexican wolf in the Southwest, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) does not present substantial information indicating that reclassification may be warranted. The determination was in response to a January 27, 2015 petition from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), The Center for Biological Diversity, The Fund for Animals, Born Free USA, The Detroit Zoological Society and over a dozen other groups requesting that the gray wolf, excluding the Mexican wolf subspecies, be reclassified as threatened throughout the conterminous United States. USFWS determined that the petition did not provide substantial scientific information indicating gray wolves may be likely to become endangered species within the foreseeable future.  USFWS further determined that if the petition had presented information with respect to other sources of mortality, other than overutilization of hunting and trapping, the existing state plans regulating take of wolves would only allow take above certain population thresholds. Those plans have a built-in response that if the other causes of mortality increased above certain levels, hunting and trapping would be reduced to prevent the population from dipping below those thresholds. Docket FWS-HQ-ES-2015-0072 http://tinyurl.com/pc238fx

State Senators Jean Leising, Brent Steele, Susan Glick, and other members of the Indiana Senate Republican Caucus sent a joint letter to Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller urging him to investigate the deceptive fundraising activities conducted by HSUS. The letter to Zoeller stated, “Hoosiers are donating their hard-earned money with the belief that their donations will be used to help local shelters and the abandoned animals they see in the solicitations from HSUS. However, Hoosiers would be well-served to know that their donations may go to high-powered lobbying and public relations experts of a national organization that has attacked institutions, traditions and practices that are part of Indiana’s heritage, such as farming, ranching and hunting.” The group requested that Zoeller issue a consumer alert about the fundraising efforts by HSUS to address the misconception between HSUS and local human societies.  Letter at link http://tinyurl.com/ns9val7

The County Legislature is expected to begin discussing two proposed bills this month.  One law would create an animal abuse registry. Anyone convicted of an animal abuse crime under the Agriculture and Markets law would be required to register with the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office as an animal abuser. Anyone who has been convicted of an animal abuse crime must remain on the registry for 15 years and for life if there is a subsequent conviction. The Ulster County DA is authorized to contract with a rescue or animal protection organization to establish the registry.

The second law would require any person who sells more than nine dogs or cats per year or more than one litter per year to obtain a no-cost permit from the county Health Department, agree to standards of care related to housing, sanitation, feeding and watering, veterinary care, and exercise.  The new law would also include consumer protection and record keeping requirements.  Breeders must check the animal abuse registry to ensure a potential buyer isn’t listed.   

The Ulster County Legislature will now vote to schedule a public hearing concerning the laws during which members of the public can provide input and opinions.  The public hearing is anticipated to be in August.  See more at: http://tinyurl.com/nbxcew5

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