UPDATE – Sunday, May 10, 2015: Governor Jay Inslee is going to sign the Animal Cruelty bill (SB 5501) tomorrow afternoon, but we don’t know if he will veto section 7 (read story below for an explanation of section 7).
It’s not too late for you to make your voice heard. Please call Governor Inslee at 360-902-4111 or send an email by noon tomorrow and ask him to veto section 7 of SSB 5501 and sign the remainder of the bill into law.
Last week I wrote that the Washington Legislature passed a bill that will toughen the penalty for those who abuse animals and make it easier for law enforcement to intervene in cases of animal cruelty.
The bill also makes it easier for animal control officers to rescue dogs locked in hot cars.
Unfortunately, during the vote of the bill in the house, Representative Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick) added a section to the bill at the last minute that will make it virtually impossible to prosecute neglect and cruelty to farm animals in noncommercial settings, such as animals kept in backyards or by hobbyists.
The rest of the bill has no adverse effect on farm operations, so section 7 does nothing but undermine existing law.
“Animal control officers encounter abuse and neglect of animals every day. It is common to find horses, cattle, rabbits, sheep, pigs, goats, and other livestock and poultry in conditions of squalor, starving, without water, and with untreated, serious medical conditions.
Under current law, animal control officers can address these conditions by working with the owner of these animals and as necessary, using enforcement tools under Chapter 16.52 RCW to end the abuse.
If section 7 of SB 5501 becomes law, the authority to address serious crimes against these animals will be made difficult or impossible.”
Although Seattle DogSpot is all about dogs, I’m encouraging dog lovers to call Washington Governor Inslee at 360-902-4111 and ask him to veto section 7 of SSB 5501 and sign the remainder of the bill into law.
All animals, regardless of whether they are pets or not, deserve to be protected against animal cruelty. And weakening protection from cruelty for farm animals sets a bad precedent that could be applied to pets in the future.