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New Mexico Rep. Ken Martinez Receives American Humane’s 2010 Rutherford T. Phillips Award for Excellence on Behalf of Animal Welfare

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April 6 marks the one-year anniversary of New Mexico Rep. Ken Martinez’s groundbreaking bill to ban the use of gas chambers as a means to euthanize cats and dogs, which was signed into law at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society on April 6, 2009. It is only fitting that the American Humane Association awarded Martinez with its 2010 Rutherford T. Phillips Award today at the same shelter. The national award is given to a legislator who has demonstrated excellence on behalf of animal welfare.

The award was presented to Martinez by Santa Fe resident and American Humane supporter Yvette Dobbie, whose hard work, drive and belief that the law must be changed brought the initiative to the legislature in the first place.

Martinez, the New Mexico House Majority Leader, sponsored and championed two bills spearheaded by the New Mexico Coalition for Humane Pet Euthanasia and American Humane. The bills were subsequently signed into law by Gov. Bill Richardson. House Bill 285 banned the use of gas chambers as a means of euthanizing shelter cats and dogs, and House Bill 593 allows trained shelter euthanasia technicians to obtain and use drugs necessary for euthanasia by injection — the only method American Humane considers acceptable for animals in shelters.

In supporting the bills, Martinez expressed outrage against the inhumane practice of gassing, stating, “This practice causes undue stress and pain to the animals when not done correctly. It also makes no sense when there are viable alternatives available.”

“American Humane is thankful to Rep. Martinez for his commitment to improving animal welfare,” said Tracy Coppola, legislative analyst for American Humane. “His support for these bills spoke volumes, greatly inspiring the animal welfare community throughout New Mexico.”

For more information about American Humane’s advocacy efforts, visit

About American Humane Association

Since 1877, the historic American Humane Association has been at the forefront of every major advancement in protecting children, pets and farm animals from cruelty and abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding human-animal interaction and its role in society. As the nation’s voice for the protection of children and animals, American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at today.

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