Yesterday the Washington House of Representatives 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 House passed SSB 5501 by a vote of 59-38 with one excused absence. The Senate unanimously passed the bill in February. It now goes to Governor Jay Inslee where he will hopefully will be signed into law.
Here are the highlights of the bill:
- People who leave an unattended animal in a car, or other enclosed space, where it might be harmed by heat, cold, or lack of water or fresh air will be subject to a $125 fine.
- People who leave an animal in a dangerous enclosed space will also be charged with civil infraction in addition to the fine.
- It authorizes animal control officers and police to break in to rescue confined animals and clears them of liability for incidental property damage.
- It expands the state’s ban on animal fighting from just dogs and roosters to all animals.
- It makes it a crime for an adult to cause a minor to commit animal cruelty or make animals fight.
- It eliminates a loophole where existing Washington laws that only punish the theft of animals worth less than $250 or more than $750.
The bill was sponsored by Senators Joe Fain (R-Auburn)), Jeanne Kohl-Wells (D-Seattle, and my Senator), David Frockt (D-Seattle) (D), and Maralyn Chase (D-Shoreline).
Please contact and thank your Representatives that voted for the bill (or, if they voted against it, ask them why).
If you don’t know your who your Representatives are, call the Legislative Hotline at 1.800.562.6000. They can tell you who they are and will forward a message to them.
If you know your Representative, this page tells you how you can contact them.
Thanks to the Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation, the Washington State Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies, and PAWS for spearheading the campaign to pass this important bill.