Felony cruelty bills & animals in transit

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2000:

Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, and South Carolina all added language to their anti-cruelty statutes during their spring 2000 legislative sessions which will permit felony prosecution. This brings to 30 the number of states that recognize a felonious level of cruelty. The Alabama law includes exemptions for hunters who control their dogs with shock-collars and property owners who use a BB gun to shoot cats or dogs in the act of urinating or defecating on their land. The Georgia law exempts fishing and pest control. The Iowa law exempts farm animals. As ANIMAL PEOPLE went to press, felony anti-cruelty bills had also cleared the Pennsylvania house of representatives and the District of Columbia judiciary committee, putting each bill halfway to passage.

U.S. President Bill Clinton on May 5 signed into law a Federal Aviation Administr a t i o n reauthorization bill including provisions that require the Department of Transportation to supervise improved employee training about animal handling, require airlines to tell passengers about how animals will be carried, and also require airlines to file monthly reports with DOT, stipulating how many animals have been lost, injured, or killed while in their custody. The provisions came from the “Safe Air Travel for Animals Act” authored by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and promoted through ads in ANIMAL PEOPLE by the San Francisco SPCA Law and Advocacy Department.

Lack of effective regulation of ground transport of animals en route from breeders to retailers was spotlighted on May 9 when mechanics at the Neely Coble Co. garage in Nashville found 147 overheated puppies inside a truck they were fixing. Three puppies died of heat stroke, and a fourth died from parvovirus. Driver Curtis Baker, 19, and the breeder, Jim Hughes of Do Bo Ti Kennels in Purdy, Missouri, escaped prosecution for cruelty in exchange for surrendering the puppies to Nashville Metro Animal Control, the Nashville Humane Society, and the S u m n e r County Humane Society. The surviving puppies all found homes within hours of being offered for adoption. Winning a cruelty conviction would apparently have hinged on whether or not Baker told the garage that puppies were in the truck and would need air circulation. A mechanic reportedly turned off the truck’s air conditioner in order to work safely.

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