Legislative Updates 2010: Missouri - Wyoming

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Missouri

Missouri Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act (Proposition B)

Status: Passed November 2, 2010 ballot with 60,000 vote margin

Summary: Prop B would gain stricter regulations on large-scale commercial breeding operations.

Read the ballot initiative and our support letter (PDF).

Increased Penalties for Animal Fighting and Baiting; Bond Provision (SB 632 & SB 664)

Sponsor: Sen. Jane Cunningham/Sen. Scott T. Rupp
Status: Both bills are in the Senate Judiciary Committee

Summary: These identical bills would increase the state’s animal fighting and baiting law by making it a Class D felony (a maximum four year imprisonment and a maximum $5,000 fine) for a second or subsequent offense. Currently, the law just classifies animal fighting and baiting as a misdemeanor offense. The bills would also require courts to order defendants to pay the costs incurred by animal shelters or animal control agencies in housing and caring for seized animals. 

Read the bills: SB 632 and SB 664.

Nebraska

Including Pets in Domestic Violence Protective Orders (LB 83)

Sponsor: Sen. Amanda McGill
Status: Postponed indefinitely.

Summary: This bill would encourage courts to include domestic animals in domestic violence protective orders.

Read the bill.

Penalties for Possessing Animal Fighting Paraphernalia (LB 252)

Sponsor: Sen. Abbie Cornett
Status: In Senate Judiciary Committee

Summary: This bill makes it a Class IV felony (max. 5 years imprisonment and/or $10,000 fine) to possess animal fighting paraphernalia.

Read the bill.

Bonding/Seizure/Forfeiture (LB 1084)

Sponsor: Sen. Russ Karpisek
Status: In Judiciary Committee

Summary: This bill would allow officers to seize pet animals (including horses) from people who own/keep/harbor/contain/control them who are charged with animal abuse. This can occur as long as the person charged is provided notice that a hearing will be held no later than 10 days after the animal(s) are seized. At the hearing, the court must determine disposition of the animal(s)—in particular, whether or not the animal(s) will be returned to the owner. If the court decides the animal(s) should not be returned, the court must order the owner to pay all expenses for shelter, food, vet care, and board incurred post-seizure. The bill specifies how payment is to be made: the court would take into account the owner’s ability to pay and the amount of payment, and when they are to be paid. If the owner fails to pay, the court must hold a hearing to further determine disposition. This hearing can be appealed, but the owner has to post a bond sufficient to care for the animal(s) for 30 days and this could extend further until the appeal is final. If the person is found not guilty, all of these funds are returned to him/her.

Read the bill.

New Hampshire

Mandatory Pre-Adoption Spay/Neuter for Animals in Shelters (SB 365)

Sponsor: Sen. Sheila Roberge
Status: Died; Withdrawn from House Calendar on 4/28

Summary: This bill would require all shelter animals to be sterilized prior to adoption.

Read the bill.

New Jersey

Animal Hoarding (SB 1170)

Sponsor: Sen. Jeff Van Drew
Status: In Senate Economic Growth Committee

Summary: This addresses the need to take animal hoarding seriously by making animal hoarding a separate animal cruelty offense and each instance of animal hoarding a felony punishable by up to 18 months’ imprisonment and a maximum $10,000 fine. The bill also provides a maximum $3,000 civil penalty.

Read the bill.

Dogfighting Zero Tolerance Act of 2010. (S1970/A.2516)

Sponsor: Sen. Philip E. Haines/Asm. Dawn Marie Addiego, Scott Rudder
Status: S.1970 Senate Economic Growth Committee/A.2516 in Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Commitee

Summary: This bill would make it a crime with a mandatory 5-year imprisonment and a minimum fine of $5,000 (maximum $500,000) to import, export, and/or steal and animal for the purposes of animal fighting or to conspire to organize, participate in, or train animals for animal fighting purposes. It would also make assets or property used in these activities subject to seizure and forfeiture.

Read the bill.

Animal Fighting as Part of RICO (S. 539)

Sponsor: Sen. Thomas H. Kean, Jr.
Status: Referred to Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Summary: This bill would add animal fighting as a qualifying offense under the New Jersey Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) and establishes stronger penalties for dogfighting. Since animal fighting is a criminal enterprise that is closely connected to a host of other crimes that qualify under the RICO law, including illegal drug and weapons violations, gambling, aggravated assaults and gang violence, adding it to RICO is a strong way to enable law enforcement to go after it.

Read the bill.

Increased penalties for animal fighting (AB 822)

Sponsor: Asm. Nelson T. Albano
Status: Referred to Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee

Summary: This bill would require mandatory jail time (minimum of 5 years, maximum 10 years ) for anyone who: 1) organizes an animal fight or the gambling on the outcome of an animal fight; 2) collects bets for the gambling on the fight; 3)  owns/permits a premises to be used for animal fights; or 5) owns/possesses/trains/promotes an animal for fighting.

Read the bill.

Including Pets in Domestic Violence Protective Orders (A1633/S540)

Sponsor: Assemblywoman Connie Wagner/Sen. Thomas H. Kean, Jr.
Status: In Assembly Judiciary Committee/In Senate Judiciary Committee

Summary: This bill would encourage courts to include domestic animals in domestic violence protective orders.

Read the bills: A1633 and S540

New Mexico

Including Pets in Domestic Violence Protective Orders (HB 199)

Sponsor: Rep. Rhonda S. King
Status: 2010 legislative session adjourned; bill did not receive a vote

Summary: Page 3 of this bill would have added cruelty to animals with the intent to intimidate, threaten or harass to the Family Violence Protection Act definition of “domestic violence” and page 11 would have allowed courts to include domestic animals in domestic violence orders of protection.

Read the bill.

New York

Increasing Penalties for Animal Cruelty (AB 239)

Sponsor: Assemblyman William B. Magnarelli
Status: Pending in Assembly Agriculture Committee

Summary: This bill makes intentionally reckless or intentionally negligent animal cruelty (currently a misdemeanor) a Class E felony with a maximum four-year term of imprisonment, and aggravated animal cruelty (currently a felony with a maximum two-year imprisonment term) a Class D felony with a maximum five-year term of imprisonment.

Animal Hoarding (AB 592)

Sponsor: Assemblyman Kevin Cahill
Status: Pending in Assembly Agriculture Committee

Summary: This bill defines “companion animal hoarding” and requires courts to order convicted animal hoarders to undergo mental health evaluations and, if deemed necessary, complete a course of treatment, therapy and/or counseling.

Increasing Penalties for Multiple Convictions of Torture, Killing or Neglect (AB 998)

Sponsor: Assemblywoman Amy Paulin
Status: Pending in Assembly Codes

Summary: This bill would increase the penalty for multiple convictions of torturing, killing or failing to provide sustenance to an animal to a Class E felony (punishable by up to four years in prison), if convicted within five years from the date of a prior conviction.

New York Animal Wrestling & Baiting (A 2163)

Sponsor: Assembly-member John J. McEneny
Status: In Assembly Agriculture Committee

Summary: This bill would add a felony penalty (maximum 4 year imprisonment  and/or a maximum $25,000 fine) on animal baiting and wrestling to the state’s animal fighting law.

Read the bill.

Animal Abandonment (A 2164)

Sponsor: Assemblyman John J. McEneny
Status: Pending in Assembly Agriculture Committee

Summary: This bill defines and penalizes animal abandonment as a misdemeanor.

Felony Cruelty to Wildlife (A. 6077/S. 5144)

Sponsor: Assembly-member Linda B. Rosenthal and Senator Carl Kruger 
Status: Pending in Assembly Agriculture and Senate Committees

Mandatory Bond/Restitution to Animal Shelters (A 9400)

Sponsor: Assemblywoman Amy Paulin
Status: In Assembly Agriculture Committee

Summary: This bill requires that individuals convicted of certain animal cruelty and animal fighting offenses reimburse the organizations
caring for the seized animals. The bond—which must include, but is not limited to, estimated medical care and boarding of the animal for at least 30 days, would be posted within 5 business days of the order.

Read the bill.

Recovery of Abandoned Animals (A11033)

Sponsor: Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal
Status: In Assembly Committee on Judiciary

Summary: This bill adds to the state's definition of animal abandonment by including animals that are "found in a property that has been vacated through lease termination, property foreclosure, or abandoned by the tenant or owner" and would require any person or entity that finds an abandoned animal in a property that has been vacated via lease termination, property foreclosure, or mere abandonment to immediately notify animal control/the responsible agency for purposes of immediately retrieving the animal.

Read the bill.

Restitution Bill (S 3155)

Sponsor: Sen. C. Johnson
Status: In Senate Agriculture Committee

Summary: This bill would require that individuals convicted of certain animal cruelty offenses reimburse the organizations caring for such animals.

Read the bill.

Humane Education (S 3177)

Sponsor: Sen. Frank Padavan
Status: In Senate Committee on Education

Summary: This bill would require school district commissioners to provide instruction on the requirement for humane education in schools. If money is appropriated per district, the district commissioners would be required to provide grants to teachers for any expenses incurred in humane education training. The bill would also require district commissioners to require teachers applying for teaching certificates/licensure to complete two hours of coursework/training in humane treatment of animals and the prevention of animal cruelty.

Read the bill.

Crush Act (S. 7812)

Sponsor: Sen. Liz Krueger
Status: In Senate Codes Committee

Summary: This bill prohibits the dissemination of crush videos and other depictions of actual animal cruelty.

Read the bill.

North Carolina

Animal Euthanasia/Allow Technicians to Obtain and Administer Euthanasia Drugs  (H.1741/S.1219)

Sponsor: Representative Deborah K. Ross/Senator Fletcher L. Hartsell, Jr.
Status: Signed by governor on July 21, 2010

Summary: This bill would allow certified animal shelters and shelter technicians to directly obtain and administer drugs necessary for humane euthanasia by injection. Without such a law, known as “direct licensing” or “direct access”, it is more difficult for shelters to perform euthanasia by injection as soon as it is necessary to alleviate the pain and suffering of a shelter animal.

Read the bill.

Ohio

Pets in Protective Orders; Counseling; Abuse Penalty (HB 55)

Sponsor: Reps. Brian Williams and Courtney Eric Combs
Status: Passed House on 5/27 by a vote of 93-3; now before the Senate 

Summary: This bill would encourage judges to include companion animals in domestic violence protection orders and anti-stalking protection orders, emphasize the need to counsel convicted animal abusers and contribute to a safer society by lowering recidivism, and help ensure that Ohio treats animal cruelty crimes seriously by making additional acts of torture to livestock and wildlife misdemeanors of the first degree.

Read the bill.

Increasing Penalties for Severe Neglect of Companion Animals (HB 70)

Sponsor: Rep. Ronald V. Gerberry
Status: Passed House on 2/24; now before Senate

Summary: This bill would make it a felony punishable up to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine for any person, including a kennel owner, who confines, or is the custodian or caretaker of any companion animal and negligently abandons, tortures, poisons, kills, and/or deprives the animal(s) of necessary sustenance or access to shelter from the elements. 

Read the bill.

Penalties for Cockfighting (HB 108)

Sponsor: Rep. John Domenick
Status: Passed House; now before Senate Agriculture Committee

Summary: This bill would just make cockfighting a fifth degree felony (max. 1year and/or $2,500 fine) on the first offense and a third degree felony (max 5 year imprisonment and/or $10,000 fine) for each subsequent offense. It would also give proceeds of any fighting equipment sold to  the organizations that cared for/ euthanized the seized birds.

Read the bill.

Oklahoma

Including Pets in Domestic Violence Protective Orders (HB 2827)

Sponsor: Rep. Ron Peters
Status: Signed into law on 4/20 with an effective date of November 1, 2010.

Summary: Pages 10 and 12 of this bill would encourage courts to include domestic animals in domestic violence protective orders.

Bill Text not yet online

Pennsylvania

Protections for service/guide/assistance dogs (HB 123)

Sponsor: Rep. John Evans
Status: Pending in House Appropriations Committee

Summary: This bill provides penalties for dog attacks and/or harassment to service/guide/assistance dogs.

Dog Tethering (HB 1254)

Sponsor: Rep. Mario Scavello
Status: Pending in House Judiciary Committee

Summary: This bill would limit the amount of time dogs may be tethered in a 24-hour period (effectively prohibiting tethering between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.). The bill also would require that a tethered dog have access to shade, food, shelter and water; prohibit tethering outside during periods of extreme weather or when a weather advisory has been issued; prohibit tethering a dog with a choke, chain, pinch or prong collar; and require any chain used to tether a dog to be a specified minimum length. The bill would allow dogs to be temporarily tethered for a maximum of 15 minutes, as long as the dog is not in danger and does not put the public in danger. It also would allow dog tethering pursuant to organized dog shows, sled racing, licensed dog-training activities, livestock herding, agriculture cultivation and camping/recreational area activity requirements.

South Carolina

Animal Fighting and Baiting (S. 927/H. 4213)

Sponsor: Sen. Larry Martin/Rep. G. Murrell Smith
Status: 2010 session adjourned on June 3; bills died without a vote in Senate and House Committees on the Judiciary

Summary: These bills would have added to the animal fighting and baiting law in order to prohibit selling any animal for fighting or baiting purposes (selling would be a felony punishable by a fine of $5,000 and/or five years’ imprisonment).

Pets in Protective Orders (HB 3117/S.1135)

Sponsor: Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter/Sen. Phil Leventis
Status: 2010 session adjourned on June 3; bills died without a vote in Senate and House Committees on the Judiciary

Summary: These bills would have encouraged judges to include pets in domestic violence protective orders.

Tennessee

Spectators of Animal Fights (HB 627/SB 537)

Sponsor: Rep. Debra Maggart/Sen. Bill Ketron
Status: Both bills failed to receive a vote in the House Agriculture Committee.

Summary: Both bills (HB 627/SB 537) would have increased the penalty for dogfighting spectators from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor (maximum 11 months, 29 days in jail and/or a maximum $2,500 fine). The bills would have also increased the penalty for spectators of any other animal fight from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor. Although SB 537 passed the Senate, unfortunately, both bills were left in the House without a vote prior to the June 18 legislative session’s adjournment. American Humane is hopeful that Rep. Maggart and Sen. Ketron will reintroduce these important bills next year.

Vermont

Restitution Bill (SB 166)

Sponsor: Sen. Vincent Illuzzi
Status: Did not pass Senate Judiciary Committee by crossover date

Summary: This bill would require that individuals convicted of certain animal cruelty offenses reimburse the organizations caring for such animals.

Read the bill.

Virginia

Including Pets in Domestic Violence Protective Orders (HB 285)

Sponsor: Del. James M. Scott
Status: Continued to 2011 by House Courts of Justice Criminal Subcommittee.

Summary: This bill would encourage courts to include domestic animals in domestic violence protective orders.

Read the bill.

Increased Penalties for Animal Cruelty (HB 281)

Sponsor: Del. David B. Albo
Status: Signed in to law on May 21, 2010

Summary: This bill increases the penalty for providing minimal standards of care from a Class 4 ($250 fine) to a Class 2 misdemeanor (max. 6 months imprisonment and/or $1,000 fine). The bill also increases the penalty (from a maximum $50 to a maximum $250 fine) for shelters that release an unsterilized adopted dog/cat (or without a signed agreement that the owners must sterilize 30 days from adoption or sexual maturity).

Read the bill (engrossed version).

Immunity for Veterinarians Upon Reporting Suspected Animal Abuse (HB 1145)

Sponsor: Del. Jim Scott
Status: On its way to governor’s desk for signature

Summary: This bill would require vets to report suspected animal abuse and ensure immunity from civil action as long as they act in good faith.

Read the bill.

West Virginia

Increased penalties for animal fighting (SB 208)

Sponsor: Sen. Jeffrey V. Kessler
Status: Session adjourned; no vote in House Committees on Agriculture and Judiciary

Summary: This bill would make it a felony (a minimum 1 year in prison, maximum 5 years and/or a minimum $1,000 to a maximum $5,000 fine)  to do the following: bet on animal fighting; allow a premises to be used for fighting; and/or finance, supervise an animal fighting venture.

Read the bill.

Pets in Protective Orders (SB 490)

Sponsor: Sen. Jeffrey V. Kessler
Status: Session adjourned; On governor’s desk for signature

Summary: This bill would add cruelty and threats of cruelty to any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept or held by an adult or minor child, family or household member, or placing an adult or minor child in fear of physical harm to any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept or held by the adult or minor child, family or household member to the definition of domestic violence. It would also allow animals to be included in domestic violence protective orders.

Read the Senate amended bill.

Wisconsin

Pets in Protective Orders (AB 747)

Sponsor: Rep. Nick Milroy
Status: Session has adjourned. AB 747 passed the Assembly but failed in the Senate

Summary: Sections 1-6 would have encouraged courts to include animals in domestic violence protective orders.

Read the bill.

Seizure/Bond/Forfeiture AB 793/SB 580

Sponsor: Rep. Mark Pocan/Sen. Fred Risser
Status: Session has adjourned. AB passed the Assembly but failed in the Senate. SB passed the Senate Committee on Ethics Reform and Government Operations but failed to pass the Senate.

Summary: Both bills make clarifying changes to the laws governing seizure of animals in cruelty cases;  both bills were amended on 4/1/2010 to omit the requirement that owners who wish to reclaim animals in custody microchip the animals.

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