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2011-01-06

ASPCA's 2010 legislative victories

Special to the Courier

In 2010, personnel with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals fought for and celebrated major legislative victories for both companion and farm animals.
As 2010 wraps up, let's take a moment to celebrate some achievements around the country. Notable 2010 legislative victories include:
• Federal - When the 11-year-old Crush Act was invalidated by the US Supreme Court in April, Congress acted fast to make sure that lack of a federal law didn't lead to a revival of the vile crush video industry. A more narrowly constructed version of the law was passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and was signed into law by President Obama on December 9.
• Missouri - Perhaps the toughest battle this year was fought in Missouri, where a puppy mill ballot initiative directly before the state's citizens meant that every vote counted - and the opposition was fierce. On Nov. 2, Missourians hit the polls in support of Proposition B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act. Effective in one year, the statute will help dogs in the "puppy mill capital of America" by restricting commercial breeders to no more than 50 breeding female dogs, increasing the size of dogs' living spaces and requiring yearly veterinary exams.
• New Hampshire - In April, legislation to end Greyhound racing in New Hampshire forever was overwhelmingly passed by the state's Senate. Governor John Lynch signed the Greyhound Protection Act into law on July 8, adding New Hampshire to the majority of US states where this cruel "sport" is now illegal.
• California - In 2009, California passed the landmark Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, which outlawed "battery cages" and mandated that California's egg-laying hens be housed with enough room to stand up, turn around and spread their wings. This year, the Golden State upped the ante by approving Assembly Bill 1437, which requires that by 2015, all whole eggs sold in California come from farms that meet the Act's humane standards for housing laying hens.
• Tennessee - Kudos to the Tennessee General Assembly for finding creative ways to fight back against dog fighting. Passed in both chambers nearly unanimously, TN HB 238 and SB 555 prohibits persons convicted of certain violent and drug-related felonies from owning dogs deemed vicious - based on their individual behavior, of course - and will also require any dog in the possession or custody of a violent felon to be spayed or neutered and micro-chipped. This new legislation is expected to make it much tougher for violent felons to breed and train dogs for fighting.
• Connecticut - A new law developed by the ASPCA, Connecticut Votes for Animals and Connecticut animal control officers to prohibit the dangerous and inhumane chaining-tethering of dogs was passed in late spring and went into effect on Oct. 1. The vocal and steadfast support of ASPCA's Connecticut Advocacy Brigade helped this legislation squeak through in the final hours of the state's legislative session.