Spring 2004 state legislation
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2004:
Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco on June 3 signed a bill
banning so-called hog/dog rodeo, in which dogs attack penned pigs,
to take effect on August 15, but efforts to ban cockfighting failed
to clear the state house agriculture committee. Louisiana and New
Mexico are the last two states to allow cockfighting.
Vermont Governor James Douglas and Tennessee Governor Phil
Bredesen have signed 2004 bills creating felony penalties for cruelty.
The Tennessee bill, however, only allows a felony penalty
for a second offense, exempts animals who are injured while being
“trained,” and exempts animals who are being used for work or
hunting. Further, the cost of jailing convicted offenders is to be
taken from the Tennessee pet overpopulation fund, raised by license
plate sales. Jailing just a few offenders could drain the fund. The
original purpose of the Tennessee bill, retained in the final
version, was to require peace officers who may encounter dangerous
dogs to be trained about dog behavior.
The Alaska legislature passed a felony cruelty bill on May 9,
but it had not been signed by Governor Frank Murkowski. as of June 23
The Humane Society of the U.S. reported on June 15 that more
than 90% of animal cruelty prosecutions involve neglect. Seven
neglect cases were prosecuted as felonies in 2002; 23 in 2003, only
seven of which brought convictions; and eight in 2004 through May 1.
Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher on April 22 signed a bill
banning the use of gunshots to kill impounded dogs and cats.
The South Carolina legislature on June 3 sent to Governor
Mark Sanford a bill requiring animal control officers, humane
officers, and social workers to cross-report suspected animal abuse
and child abuse cases.
Minnesota adopted a ban on keeping wild and exotic cats,
bears, and non-human primates as pets, to take effect on January 1,
2005. Pets currently in private possession are exempted. Current
keepers of the covered categories of private pets will be allowed to
replace a deceased animal one time only. The New York legislature
sent a similar bill to Governor George Pataki on June 22.
Legislative losses for animal defenders came in Michigan and
Minnesota, where dove hunting was reauthorized for the first time
since 1905 and 1946, respectively.