Thursday, February 7, 2013

Caring for animals, we’re into that too

Five bills aimed at protecting and helping animals have been introduced in the House so far this session. Will every dog (and for that matter cat, horse, parakeet, etc…) have his day? Let's see where those bills are:
Making poisonous substances taste nasty
Antifreeze, or rather, Ethylene Glycol, one of its main components, is sweet and tasty to animals and humans but it can also be lethal. According to the Humane Society, anywhere from 10,000 to 90,000 cats and dogs are accidentally poisoned with antifreeze every year across the nation. To protect Washington's residents, both the two and the four-legged kinds, a few years ago the Legislature passed a measure requiring that antifreeze sold, produced or distributed in the state have an aversive agent to make it taste bad. But that law didn't cover wholesale containers of 55 gallons or more. This year Rep. Sherry Appleton is sponsoring HB 1010 to include those large containers. The bill was approved by the Business and Financial Services Committee a couple of weeks ago and is now in the Rules Committee for further consideration.
See something? Say something!
HB 1186 gives immunity to veterinarians who report suspected incidents of animal cruelty from legal liability in any action brought against them. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Kathy Haigh, a vet herself, knows that sometimes veterinarians can tell, better than the average person, if an animal has been mistreated. The risk of liability keeps some veterinarians from reporting incidents they encounter in their practice. The protections under this bill should encourage veterinarians to report suspected cruelty to proper authorities. Haigh's measure was passed out of the Judiciary Committee earlier this week.
When buying a pet, let's make sure it's not a murky transaction
Say you see a guy selling lovely puppies out of his truck in a parking lot. You fall in love with one of them and want to buy it. But how much do you know about this seller? Is he licensed? Does he have a permit to sell animals in that location? What if you're dealing with a disreputable seller who does not provide safe and humane conditions for the puppies, and it turns out your puppy is sick? To prevent the sale of diseased animals to unsuspecting buyers, Rep. Mary Helen Roberts is sponsoring HB 1201, which already had a public hearing in the Judiciary Committee. Under this measure, legitimate and responsible sales of animals and adoption programs for animals are not affected.
Zero tolerance for animal cruelty
People who live or work with animals should treat them well; humans are supposed to care for their animals. Sadly, not everyone seems to be on board with that common-sense notion. Rep. Mary Helen Roberts sponsored another bill, HB 1202, which modifies animal cruelty provisions relating to the crimes of animal cruelty in the first and second degree, animal fighting, and leaving and/or confining an animal in a motor vehicle or certain enclosed spaces. This measure also had a public hearing in Judiciary a few weeks ago.
Spay/Neuter – it's the responsible thing to do!
Thousands of cats and dogs are put down every year in shelters because they can't find a home, or they are old and sickly and nobody wants to take care of them. The most effective and humane way to reduce the number of animals dying in shelters is a targeted, statewide spay/neuter effort. It is also the fiscally responsible solution. Rep. Kathy Haigh sponsored a legislation (HB 1229) that would provide financial assistance to support the costs of pet spay/neuter surgery. It would significantly reduce costs for animal care and control of homeless animals, and fewer animals would be euthanized in Washington shelters. This measure was heard before the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee yesterday. You can find footage of the hearing in TVW.

Read this story in Spanish.