New animal protection laws in Texas, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maine
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2007:
New Texas legislation permits felony prosecution of people
whose dogs kill or maim other humans, but attorneys familiar with
handling dog attack cases and representatives of the animal control
officers who will have the primary duty of enforcing the new law told
Roy Appleton of the Dallas Morning News that it does not actually
eliminate the ancient “one free bite” rule for determining if a dog
is vicious, and will require animal control officers to do criminal
investigation, whereas the typical animal control offense is a
summary infraction. “This is better than what we have now,” said
Dallas attorney and Animal Legal Defense Fund president Robert
Trimble, “but whether it solves the problem, I guess we’ll have to
wait and see.”
Texas also banned keeping dogs tethered between 10 p.m. and 6
a.m., and limited tethering to three hours within any 24-hour
period. Waco police department animal control chief Clare Crook
noted to Waco Tribune-Herald staff writer David Doerr that
enforcement may be complicated by thin animal control staffing during
night hours, but felt the law would be helpful.
In addition, Texas extended anti-cruelty protection to
homeless animals, increased the penalties for dogfighting, banned
horse-tripping (a common event in so-called chareada rodeo), and for
the first time expressly required that animals be given adequate
New York Governor Eliot Spitzer on August 28, 2007 signed
into law the first state ban on electrocuting animals for their fur.
Spitzer a week earlier endorsed into law a requirement that all fur
garments regardless of price be labeled in a manner that accurately
identifies the species from which the fur came. A similar federal
law exempts garments priced at under $150.
Illinois and Massachusetts in August 2007 became the most
recent of 34 states to ban so-called “Internet hunting,” in which
penned animals are shot with weapons from afar, using a computer
mouse or joystick.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on September 4 signed into
law stronger penalties for cockfighting, including the possibility
of winning a felony conviction on a first offense. The new law also
allows courts to order forfeiture of animals to an animal control
officer or animal shelter upon conviction of an animal keeper for
cruelty, aggravated cruelty, or torture. In addition, the law
elevates injuring or killing a police dog, service animal or rescue
dog to a felony.
A new Maine law taking effect on September 21, 2007, pushed
by dog breeders, requires anyone other than a state-licensed breeder
who advertises puppies or kittens for sale to obtain a $25 permit.
Licensed breeders pay $75 per year, and pay $25 per animal sold to
the Help Fix Maine Program, to subsidize pet sterilization.