Best State Laws for Animal Welfare in 2012
The ASPCA has compiled a list of the best state laws enacted in 2012 to help protect and promote animal welfare across the country. I'm proud to see that Massachusetts appears on the list. Although we have a far way to go, help from the ASPCA's Advocacy Brigade, the HSUS's Legistation Team and groups like the Animal Legal Defense Fund, encourage community members to remain active and focused on upcoming bills. If you're still contemplating a New Year's resolution, how about staying informed on animal welfare matters in your state and committing to action when needed most. Cheers to a happy and sucessful 2-13 for everyone!
State Laws enacted 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.