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“It’s the Law” with Laura Allen…

September 2, 2010 by Tails Magazine in Legislation with 0 Comments

Laura AllenIt seems not a day goes by without some kind of legislation involving animal welfare making headlines across the country. Bills introduced on the local, state and even national levels have become important issues to be carefully considered among aldermen, judges, city council members, state government officials and senators throughout the country, because animal welfare has emerged as a major priority to an increasingly growing population of people; people who vote for the candidates to fill those offices.

At Tails, we know that keeping current and understanding the legal issues as they pertain to our beloved animal companions— and all animals in general is important to our readers. Which is why we created “It’s the Law,” a bi-weekly column written by Laura Allen, executive director of AnimalLawCoalition.com, a non-profit, which brings the latest animal legal news to attorneys, law students and the public, and offers legal analysis of the issues affecting animals.

Laws Stepping-Up Pet Protection…
Colorado and West Virginia have joined a growing number of states that allow judges to issue pet protection orders. In these states, judges may issue orders particularly in domestic violence situations to protect pets and sometimes farm animals from abuse and make arrangements for custody and care of the animals.  Abusers in domestic violence situations harm or threaten to harm animals as a way to gain control over their spouses and children. A number of other state legislatures are considering bills that would allow judges to issue pet protection orders. For more information, click HERE.

Former animal abusers may be kept from pet ownership…
There has been a trend to try to keep people convicted of animal cruelty away from animals. A number of states allow judges to ban or limit a convicted animal abuser’s ownership or possession of other animals. For more, click HERE. Under a New York bill a convicted animal abuser could not have contact with animals unless he or she proved by “clear and convincing evidence” that having had mental health treatment or counseling, he or she is capable of humanely caring for an animal. In California, one legislator has even proposed an online registry of felony animal abusers…That way we will surely know who they are and be able to keep animals away from them. For more information, visit HERE.

Anti-tethering Laws on the Rise…
The movement to get dogs off chains has taken off this year. Last year in 2009, Nevada became one of three states to limit the number of hours dogs can be chained or tethered outside each day. This year a number of states are considering limits on the time dogs spend on outdoor chains or tethers. Also, there is a growing trend in counties and cities to ban unattended chaining or tethering. For more, go HERE.

News from the Animal Law Coalition…
The federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has stepped up roundups of wild horses and burros from public lands-this despite the fact that under the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM is supposed to protect these animals from “harassment,” “capture,” and “death,” and manage them at the “minimal feasible level” and maintain them as “free roaming” components of the public lands. Instead, the BLM has basically managed these animals by rounding them up. For more click HERE.

By the end of this year, there will be more wild horses and burros in holding facilities than roaming free on public lands. There has even been talk of a plan to move the wild horses and burros to non-reproducing herds on pastures or feedlots in the Midwest or eastern part of the country, far from where they have roamed free and where they would likely become extinct.

Citizens have challenged the legality of BLM’s actions, including the use of helicopters to stampede and terrify the horses and then forcing them to run miles to holding facilities. Two federal judges have questioned the legality of BLM’s actions in rounding up wild horses and burros and holding them in long-term facilities. But this year three judges have refused to stop or even delay roundups conducted during the cold of winter and the heat of summer, with deadly results. There has been a call for a moratorium on the wild horse and burro roundups, including from members of Congress. You can read about two things you can do now to help the wild horses and burros HERE.

New Bill Requires Disclosure of Fur Content in New Clothing…
The California Legislature has passed a bill that would require manufacturers and retailers of new clothing to disclose any fur content. The bill has been sent to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for his signature. The labeling requirement would apply regardless of the price of the apparel or the amount or value of the fur in the garment. Used clothing would be exempt. For more on this and also for information about a federal bill that would make this a national requirement. Read more, HERE.

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