Spring 2006 brings notable legislation in seven states

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2006:

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius on April 17, 2006 signed
into law the state’s first felony cruelty penalty. Persons convicted
of felony cruelty must serve at least 30 days in jail, pay a fine of
from $500 to $5,000, must undergo a psychological evaluation, and
must complete an anger management course before being released. The
law also requires persons convicted a second time of misdemeanor
neglect of animals to spend at least five days in jail.
Maine Governor John Baldacci on March 31, 2006 signed the
first state law specifically giving judges the authority to include
pets in a protective order against domestic violence. “Baldacci
called it ‘unconscionable’ that 76% of victims who seek safety at
domestic violence shelters report that their abusers either harmed or
threatened their pets as a tool to control and intimidate them,”
reported Sharon Kiley Mack of the Bangor Daily News. Anne Jordan of
the Maine Animal Welfare Advisory Council cited data published by the
California-based Latham Foundation showing that 87% of Wisconsin
domestic violence victims reported that animal abuse occurred in
their presence; 70% of animal abusers convicted in Massachusetts had
previous records for violent crimes; and animal abuse occurred in
88% of the families involved in New Jersey child abuse investigations.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on April 14, 2006 signed
into law a bill extending the state anti-cruelty law to cats. The
law previously only protected dogs. The new law also bans so-called
hog/dog rodeo. Alabama Governor Bob Riley on the same day also
signed a bill banning hog/dog rodeo. Both bans take effect on July
1, 2006. Louisiana banned hog/rog rodeo in 2004. The three Gulf
states have been the hub of hog/dogging, in which dogs are set on
captive boars.
Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal in March 2006 signed into
law a bill requiring that any unvaccinated dog, cat or ferret who
bites a person be euthanized immediately for rabies testing. Wyoming
is among the few states that do not mandate rabies vaccination of
companion animals.
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell on April 14, 2006 signed
legislation increasing the penalties for “property destruction that
is designed to stop a lawful activity that involves animals, plants
or natural resources,” under a variety of statutes pertaining to
such offenses as arson and burglary. The new law also allows
property owners to sue people convicted of such offenses for triple
Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine in early April 2006
endorsed legislation creating a felony penalty for keepers of dogs
who kill or maim people who are not committing criminal acts at the
time. If a dog previously declared dangerous bites a person, the
maximum penalty could be one year in jail, a $2,500 fine, or both.
If the dog kills or injures another dog, or a cat, the maximum
penalty could be six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.
Washington Governor Christine Gregoire on March 24, 2006
signed into law a felony penalty for bestiality. The bill was
prompted by the July 2, 2006 death of Kenneth Pinyan, 45, of
Seattle, from a perforated colon, after alleged inducing a stallion
to mount him while James Michael Tait, 54, of Enumclaw, videotaped
the incident. Washington had no anti-bestiality law, and
investigators concluded that they could not win a cruelty case
against Tait, but Tait pleaded guilty in November 2005 to criminal
trespass, receiving a one-year suspended jail sentence, a fine of
$300, an order to perform eight hours of community service, and an
order to have no contact with the owners of the horse. “Senator Pam
Roach (R-Auburn) began drafting the bill days after hearing that the
dead man had been visiting an Enumclaw-area farm in her district that
was a destination for people wanting to have sex with animals,”
wrote Seattle Times staff reporter Jennifer Sullivan. “Authorities
said the Enumclaw farm was well-known on the Internet,” added Rachel
La Corte of Associated Press.

Noteworthy ordinances

The Chicago City Council on April 25, 2006 banned the sale
of foie gras, made from the distended livers of force-fed ducks and
geese. Foie gras production and/or sale is already banned in
Britain, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Sweden,
Luxembourg, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Israel. The
Chicago ordinance was introduced by 49th district alderman Joe Moore.
The Solano County, California board of supervisors on April
25, 2005 gave preliminary approval to a ban on hare coursing, in
which hounds are set on rabbits. Banned in Britain since February
2005, hare coursing surfaced in Lagoon Valley, within Solano
County, in early 2006. Seldom seen in the U.S., hare coursing
somewhat resembles hog/dog rodeo; setting dogs on captive coyotes
and foxes at so-called chase pens; and raccoon hunting with dogs,
widely practiced but especially common in the South.
The Southampton, New York town board on March 2, 2006
banned body-gripping traps within city limits. Several other Long
Island communities are reportedly considering similar ordinances.

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