Animal activists are keeping their eye on the Arizona State Legislature this session hoping to pass a few key bills to protect animals statewide.
Activists gathered at the Arizona Capitol Tuesday, Feb. 4 to discuss bills coming up this session and how to help encourage them. The group will be watching five bills:
• HB 2022 would temporarily ban ownership of animals for those who have been convicted of extreme animal cruelty. It was unclear how this might be enforced, but representatives from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) said another bill at the federal level is working on creating a registry for animal cruelty convicts.
• HB 2215 and SB 1036 would add animal fighting to the list of racketeering crimes. This would allow law enforcement to seek harsher penalties for those found fighting animals.
• HB 2242 would ensure consistent and humane standards of care for breeding dogs. HSUS representatives say the standards that are being applied are already being followed by humane breeders. The new law would give consumers who purchase from a breeder some legal recourse if the pet they purchase has some kind of illness.
• HB 2020 would prohibit giving live animals as prizes in carnival games.
• HB 2302 would prohibit the sale of animals on a public roadside. This bill has been brought up in the past, but this year the language has been adjusted to exempt livestock and large birds like turkeys and emus. Breeders would still be able to sell pets from their home or private property.
• HSUS, along with the Arizona Humane Society and Humane Voters of Arizona, urged animal activists at the capitol Tuesday to get involved and not be afraid to speak with their representatives.
“What we need to convey is that this is a relevant issue,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS. “There’s a lot of talk about health care, education and transportation and other vitally important issues in our society, but animals matter as well. Animals matter because they are vulnerable, because cruelty is a moral wrong and is rampant in society and when we are cruel to animals it leads to other bad outcomes in society… These are critical issues for a civil society. You can judge a society by how they treat their most vulnerable individuals.”
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