What’s the proposed animal welfare legislation in your state? Keep up to date on Ohio animal welfare campaigns as well as surrounding states, plus national legislation initiatives.

Archive for the ‘Animal Welfare Laws and Legislation’ Category

Urge Your Reps to Vote NO on Farm Bill NOW!

Posted on June 20th, 2013

In a disappointing late-night move, the House leadership refused to allow debate on any animal welfare amendments when the Farm Bill goes to the full House. Bipartisan amendments on horse slaughter, horse soring, and protecting egg-laying hens were left out of consideration, while the dangerous, overreaching “King Amendment” remains in the Farm Bill.

The King Amendment seeks to repeal state laws regarding agriculture production and could nullify measures on farm animal confinement, horse slaughter, puppy mills, shark finning, and a wide range of other concerns including food safety, child labor and the environment.

This provision is so potentially harmful, and with no amendment or debate allowed to consider the King provision on the House floor, we must now stop the entire Farm Bill in its tracks.

It is critical for every member of the House to hear from concerned advocates like us ASAP – like, today.Animal Welfare

To block the King Amendment, please call your representative and urge them to vote “no” on the Farm Bill.


Please make a brief, polite phone call to your U.S. Representative (http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/) urging opposition to the Farm Bill, which in its current form would include the King Amendment that could nullify many state laws that protect animals.

Here is what you say:

“As a constituent concerned about preventing cruelty to animals, I’m calling to urge you to please vote ‘no’ on the Farm Bill because I want animals to have protection from cruelty.”



Threat to Dog Protection Introduced in Farm Bill: CALL YOUR REPS NOW!

Posted on June 17th, 2013

We’re now facing one of the most serious threats to dog protection laws ever—and we need your help to stop it.

The House of Representatives’ Farm Bill contains an amendment from Rep. Steve King (R-IA) that could wipe out dog protection laws nationwide. Laws banning dog meat sales and those cracking down on puppy mills are all in jeopardy.

*And it doesn’t stop there: this amendment could also repeal laws banning horse slaughter—along with environmental protection, worker safety, and other important laws.

The Congressional Farm Bill amendment would nullify every state law that cracks down on puppy mills and bans the sale of dog meat.

If the King amendment passes, these could all could be nullified.

Please make a brief, polite phone call to your U.S. Representative urging support of the Denham-Schrader amendment, which would strip the King amendment from the Farm Bill.

Here’s what you say: “As a constituent concerned about preventing cruelty to animals, I’m calling to urge you to support the Denham-Schrader amendment because I want animals to have protection from cruelty.”

This will only take five minutes of your time and it means SO much. Every call made equals a vote in favor of animals everywhere.

Natural Balance Outdoes Itself with 2013 Rose Parade Float; Honors Armed Forces Canines

Posted on January 2nd, 2013

Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance really knows how to push the marker…. First they got their spokes-dog, Tillman, the super-famous skateboarding Bulldog, to become an honorary member of the canine armed forces (Honorary Private 1stClass Marine), then they, in partnership with Petco and Maddie’s Fund, worked for over seven years to get a national monument made honoring canine members of the armed forces.

The Natural Balance Rose Parade Float

But for all intensive purposes, what I’ll be talking about now is the fabulous float they had a hand in creating for the 2013 Tournament of the Roses Parade in Pasadena, California and their efforts toward the latter.

I was lucky enough to get to go to the parade with the company and see the float, and had the chance to interview several members of the armed forces, both human and canine! It was spectacular. This is one amazing company doing some amazing things…

After talking with Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham and Lucca, a German Shepherd, from the Marines, and then with Sergeant First Class Charles Shuck and his search dog Gabe, a Yellow Labrador Retriever, from the Army, I was dually impressed.

Lucca lost a leg saving Willingham’s life from an IED, and Gabe had over 25 explosives finds in Iraq in 2007, the record for


any dog in the military that year. Both Willingham and Shuck seem as dedicated and in love with their dogs as any non-military human who just flat-out is in love with their dog. In fact, Willingham NEARLY got choked up talking about how many times Lucca saved his life and the amazing (either 6 or 8) years of service she gave before retiring. Now Lucca just loves to go belly up and get scratches I quickly learned, and she also loves to play with her Kong. Gabe’s favorite past time nowadays is waiting patiently for Shuck to tell him to eat a treat! Shuck will put a treat on the ground and Gabe will just stare at it until Shuck tells him its okay!

Aside from celebrating these national heroes – the men and the dogs – Natural Balance is taking part in a bigger mission. A mission to get a Military Working Dog National Monument built in Texas.


The float in the parade was a floral replica of the bronze and granite United States Military Working Dog Teams National Monument, to be dedicated in late 2013 at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. It was prominently displayed beneath lush orchid-laced cherry trees. Flowing floral flags of America’s armed-service branches; U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard are proudly displayed as a background to the monument.

Featured on the monument are (left to right) the Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever and Belgian Malinois.

This is the first time in the history of the US military that an animal, a dog, has been elevated to National Monument status by U.S. Congressional Law.

Planned Monument

John Burnam, a former Vietnam War dog handler, founded the National Monument and orchestrated its design. (He is pictured at left.)

Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc., Petco, and Maddie’s Fund are the Official Corporate Sponsors funding the National Monument project. The National Monument is solely funded by sponsor and citizens donations (zero tax dollars).

This is one spectacular company on one hell of a mission. I am honored that I got to be a part of their celebration in Pasadena this year. GO NATURAL BALANCE! Follow them online at @NaturalBalance on Twitter and here on Facebook.

** You can also follow Gabe, who was the American Humane Association Hero Dog of the Year in 2012, on Facebook here.

Planned Etching on Monument


Ohio House Passes Critical Puppy Mill Bill: SB130

Posted on November 15th, 2012

ASPCA encouraged by passage of SB 130,
Requires commercial dog breeding facilities to be licensed, inspected

The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) yesterday applauded the Ohio House of Representatives for passing Senate Bill 130 by a vote of 89-5. This bill is crucial and something that I have talked about multiple times before on the blog, requiring commercial dog breeding facilities to be licensed and inspected for the first time in the state’s history.

The ASPCA had worked to strengthen the bill, recommending that critical provisions which had previously been removed from the bill, be reinstated.

“The Ohio General Assembly has been considering various puppy mill bills for over six years,” said Vicki Deisner, state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Midwest region. “Ohio has taken a critical step today by regulating commercial breeders, which will improve the living conditions of breeding dogs destined to spend their whole lives in these barren, commercial breeding facilities.”

Sponsored by Senator Jim Hughes (R-Columbus), SB 130 unanimously passed in the Ohio Senate last February. While the Senate version of the bill contained many strong provisions, the current version has been stripped of several of the vital requirements that would most improve the lives of Ohio’s puppy mill dogs.

The ASPCA had recommended to the Ohio House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee that every breeding dog receive a hands-on veterinary exam once a year, and that facility inspections be performed by state-level inspectors only.

“In order to ensure that all breeding dogs are healthy and safe, each dog should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year,” said Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign.

“In its current form, SB 130 does not require this, but the legislation is still a step in the right direction. We look forward to eventually working with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to ensure more humane standards of care are instituted.”

Ohio has become a haven for puppy mill operators, which is why in addition to its legislative work, the ASPCA has focused part of its national “No Pet Store Puppies” campaign on the Columbus area.

The campaign aims to reduce the demand for puppy mill puppies by urging consumers to pledge not to buy any items—including food, supplies or toys—from stores or websites that sell puppies.

Last year, a poll conducted by Lake Research Partners revealed that while 86 percent of Columbus-area residents would not purchase puppies if they knew they came from puppy mills, 74 percent of Columbus area residents are unaware that most puppies sold in pet stores come from them.

The ASPCA believes that convincing consumers not to shop for anything, including puppies, at pet stores that sell puppies is a necessary part of stopping the demand for puppy mill dogs.

To learn more about the ASPCA’s efforts to eradicate puppy mills, please visit www.NoPetStorePuppies.com.

The ASPCA is not the only group concerned with what is going on here in Ohio, my home state (I live on the lake in Cleveland, about two hours north of Columbus.)

Several other groups have slaved for years on petitions, awareness, etc doing very honorable work to ensure Ohio citizens are aware. And though their work may not specifically be about SB 130, we Ohio animal welfare groups support one another, helping each other to spread each other’s work, “liking” things on Facebook, and writing, Tweeting, and Pinning where ever asked.

The Humane Society of the United States was also applauding Ohio yesterday; they were involved in the passage of this SB130 as well – their heavy lobbying efforts undoubtedly had an effect. They noted in a press release yesterday that Ohio is one of 22 states with no regulation or oversight of commercial high volume breeding kennels.

“S.B. 130 is the product of careful consideration, intense labor and a spirit of cooperation,” said State Rep. Dave Hall, Chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. “Thanks to Senator Hughes, we had a good base. I’m pleased to say that the House Agriculture Committee was able to work with both sides of this issue to clarify and strengthen certain aspects that were critical for its passage. We were able to find that elusive ‘middle ground.’ As someone whose family has taken care of several rescue pets, I can say with confidence that this bill’s passage is a major victory for all Ohio dog lovers.”

Other local groups involved include Columbus Top Dogs, which works on many fundraisers and local issues, the Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions, which works tirelessly on banning the awful auctions which purport the puppy mill problem, and the Nitro Foundation, which is currently working assiduously to amend legislation and make a first-time offense of animal cruelty a felony in Ohio. Currently, Ohio is one of only 4 states where a first count of animal cruelty is a misdemeanor. Offenders rarely get more than a measly slap on the wrist, fine and warning for doing things like beating, burning and killing dogs and cats.

If I missed your organization, please share in the comments. But A HUGE CONGRATS goes out from ThoughtsFurPaws to ALL involved in the passing of SB130 in both the Senate and the House finally. A rousing “thank you” also goes out to my legislators – now please listen to us animal welfare advocates on the other issues we’ve been writing and calling about, ie HB 108!

We have been waiting for years as you will see from the old blog posts (search Puppy Mills, or Animal Welfare Ohio SB 130).

I will soon be writing another post on this because many small time breeders and rescues feel this bill is a burden.

Stay tuned to read their perspective…

About the ASPCA®

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Animal Welfare Org.s Praise OH Governor Kasich for Signing Dangerous Wild Animal Act into Law

Posted on June 9th, 2012

Ohio now joins majority of states in restricting private ownership of dangerous exotic wildlife

The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA® and Born Free USA issued statements in response to Ohio Gov. John Kasich enacting the Dangerous Wild Animal Act into law this past week.

Introduced by state Sen. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, the bill was passed by the Ohio House of Representatives by a vote of 87 to 9 on May 22, and the Ohio Senate by a 30 to 1 vote in April.

Wild Tiger Courtesy Born Free USA

With Gov. Kasich’s signature, there remain only six states with little to no restrictions on the private possession of dangerous wild animals—Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS stated, “Common sense, rather than tragedy, should drive public policy decisions, but sometimes it takes a high-profile event to focus the attention of lawmakers on issues not in the headlines.”

“For all the states that have not adopted sensible policies on private ownership of dangerous exotics, the grim drama that played out in Zanesville should provide all of the evidence

Courtesy HSUS (cropped)

they need to get cracking and adopt strict and sensible policies. We are grateful to Governor Kasich and the legislature for standing firm on this issue, and working to protect animal welfare and public safety,” Pacelle continued.

“The ASPCA commends Gov. Kasich for recognizing the need to regulate dangerous exotic animals and ensuring the safety of Ohio residents, as well as the health and well-being of wild animals kept as pets,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations.

“Safety should always be the paramount concern of lawmakers, and having dangerous exotic animals in our communities, without any regulation or restrictions, threatens us all and the animals pay the ultimate price.”

Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA added, “Today marks a strong—and long overdue—step forward in protecting exotics and Ohioans from the dangerous and inhumane ‘pet’ wildlife trade. Born Free USA knows the cruel effects of the trade firsthand. Many of our Primate Sanctuary residents were rescued from abusive situations in which they were forced into captivity as someone’s pet.”

“There is an epidemic in this country of owning wild animals as ‘pets’ and it must stop. As documented by Born Free USA’s Exotic Animal Incidents Database, numerous incidents involving death and injuries to humans from captive ‘pets’ occur regularly and nationwide. We commend Governor Kasich for signing this urgently needed public safety and animal welfare measure into law, and we urge other states to follow suit.”

The new law will:

•    Ban new ownership of dangerous wild animals, including big cats, some smaller exotic cats, bears, hyenas, gray wolves, non-human primate species, alligators and crocodiles in Ohio;

•    Grandfather existing animals so people who currently have them can keep them, as long as they obtain a permit;

•    Require owners of exotic animals covered under the grandfather clause to acquire liability insurance or surety bonds ranging from $200,000 to $1 million;

•    Require existing owners of exotic animals to comply with housing and safety standards that will be established by the Ohio Department of Agriculture; and

•    Require criminal background checks to qualify for a permit for owners of existing exotic animals.

The exotic pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry that contributes to the suffering of millions of animals, often threatening public health and safety, disrupting ecosystems and driving species to endangerment and extinction.

Each year across the nation, countless numbers of exotic animals are purchased as pets at retail stores and from private breeders and dealers at auctions or over the Internet. Since the vast majority of people who keep exotic animals cannot meet their needs, the animals often become the victims of abuse and neglect—they are caged, chained, tranquilized or even beaten into submission.