Thursday, March 12, 2015

News Briefs and Updates March 11, 2015

 SAOVA Friends,

Again as legislatures open, animal abuser registries have been introduced in several states.  Although they may not seem to be as pressing as tethering, anti-hunting, or commercial breeder bills they should be addressed. Bills have been introduced in Arizona, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and West Virginia.  Numerous versions have been introduced in New York where support is strong and registry bills have been passed in a handful of counties and also in New York City. 

Establishing animal abuser registries is a campaign championed by the extremely radical Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). ALDF and other registry supporters justify the need for a registry with the claim that convicted animal abusers pose a real, ongoing threat to pets, family, and community, further claiming abuser actions will escalate to committing crimes against people. Activists have even gone so far as to say animal abusers are potential serial killers. Advocates claim the registry will make neighborhoods and pets safer.  To date, there is not a shred of evidence that registries can achieve any of the supporters’ claims.

The vast majority of animal cruelty involves neglect by the animal’s owner and many cases often involve hoarders. Animal hoarding refers to the compulsive need to collect and own animals for the sake of caring for them that usually results in accidental or unintentional neglect or abuse. Animal hoarding is a mental disorder and approximately 40 percent of object hoarders also hoard animals. Hoarders have an intense emotional attachment to the animals in their care and confuse loving the animals with the reality of their inability to provide a safe, clean, and healthy home for them. Treatment of hoarders by mental health services is a more prudent course of action in these situations than years of public exposure and humiliation on web site lists where hoarders are unrealistically stereotyped as dangers to society.

The SAOVA website has extensive information on the negative side of abuser registries.  if a bill has been introduced in your state, review our site and take time to send an email to committee members where the bill resides.  This is a chance to educate them regarding the flawed concept of these dangerous animal abuser registries.

 Cross Posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance
Working to identify and elect supportive legislators

By Lorraine Bailey
February 23, 2015. (CN) - The 5th Circuit struck down a USDA rule aimed at penalizing horse owners who purposely injure their horses to achieve a gait prized at horse competitions.

Contender Farms, owned by Mark McGartland, sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture to block federal regulations aiming to crack down on cheaters who attempt to win horse shows by harming their horses.

Tennessee show horses have a distinctive high-stepping gait, achieved through extensive training. But it can also be achieved by illegal means by injuring the animal with harmful chemicals to get them to high step, a technique known as "soring."

Soring is prohibited by the Horse Protection Act, which also authorizes the USDA to regulate the management of horse shows, and set licensing requirements for inspectors who examine horses for signs of soring.

In the attempt to achieve a consistent punishment for the practice, the USDA adopted a new regulation in 2012 requiring horse organizations adopt mandatory minimum suspension penalties for soring violators as a condition of participating in the department's inspection program, a necessity for putting on a horse show.

However, the 5th Circuit ruled last week that the regulation overstepped the USDA's authority.  "The suspensions target participants in Tennessee walking horse events like Contender Farms and McGartland, and they are as much objects of the Regulation as the HIOs [horse industry organizations] themselves," Judge E. Grady Jolly said, writing for the three-judge panel. (Emphasis in original.)

The regulation states that if an inspector discovers a violation, individuals responsible for showing the horse, allowing entry of the horse into a show, or selling the horse must all be suspended.   "Although participants in horse shows have always been subject to regulations from both HIOs and the USDA, the USDA has now taken intrusive steps into the private scheme to strengthen the penalties that HIOs must levy against those found to sore horses," the 23-page opinion said.

While a horsing organization may decline to hire USDA-approved inspectors, it must then accept liability for failing to disqualify a sored horse, even if management was unaware the horse was sore, a choice very few organizations make, according to the judgment. 

"The plain language of the HPA suggests that Congress intended a private horse inspection system. This statutory regime does not support the USDA's position that Congress authorized it to promulgate the regulation, which requires private parties to impose government-mandated suspensions as an arm of HPA enforcement," Jolly concluded. (Emphasis in original.)   SOURCE:  Courthouse News 

HB 1620 To Regulate the Breeding of Certain Animals; Create the Arkansas Commercial Breeding Kennel Act; and Declare an Emergency    Sponsor: Representative Sorvillo (R-District 32).  The bill is intended to, among other things, require the licensing of commercial breeding kennels and of dogs sold for commercial purposes and to increase the standards of care for commercial breeding kennels.  Items of concern include the following: An unclear definition of commercial breeding kennel; unclear exemption for hunting dogs; a definition of "sufficient housing, including protection from the elements" that would prevent a breeder from keeping a dog in an outdoors enclosure with access to an adequately insulated dog house. HB 1620 would also define how frequently a dog may be bred. This decision is best left to the breeder and veterinarian, not a lawmaker. The bill is now scheduled to be heard in the House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee on Friday, March 13.  Arkansas dog owners,  breeders, and sportsmen should continue to contact the bill's sponsor, the Agriculture committee members, and other House members immediately with their concerns. Track the bill here:
Contact for committee members here:

Once again the misguided McCrory/HSUS breeder regulation bill has been introduced by Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln). This latest version attempts to create an exemption for those who keep dogs exclusively for herding, guarding livestock or farm animals, hunting, tracking, or exhibiting in dog shows, performance events, or field and obedience trials. However, the bill defines commercial breeder as anyone who owns or maintains 11 or more female dogs over the age of 6 months primarily for the purpose of breeding. This bases the law once again on ownership and not sales and requires no sales activity in order to enact regulation. The bill includes requirements for kennel standards, outdoor lighting, perimeter fencing, temperature control, and record keeping. The bill would also transfer animal welfare oversight from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Public Safety. Law enforcement should not be burdened with developing, administering, and regulating animal policy. Their time is too valuable to be to be spent as HSUS foot soldiers. Moving Animal Welfare to the Department of Public Safety is an attempt to start rewriting laws regarding animal welfare in accordance with the animal rights agenda. Track the bill here: HB159 has been assigned to House Judiciary II Committee.  Contact committee members and your representative now with opposition to this bill.

Senator Greg Hembree (R-Dillon and Horry Counties) recently delivered a report to the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on animal welfare laws.  Senator Hembree believes the problem of puppy mills is recognized by both the House and the Senate.  Hembree told reporters, "They know it's there. It's a matter of getting enough momentum behind the problem to push legislation along." Currently, puppy mills, breeders, and nonprofits are not regulated. Hembree said the General Assembly is moving in the right direction, but lawmakers need help from home to get legislation filed. Hembree added that he strongly believes some legislation regarding the regulation of puppy mills and nonprofits organizations will go before the General Assembly this year.  SOURCE: Carolina Live