Eye on the Legislature – Bills to Watch

Preventing animal cruelty  Senate Bill 5065
Introduced by Sen. Michael Carrell, (R-Lakewood) (R) on January 12, 2011, to revises animal cruelty provisions by expanding the definition of necessary food and water and shelter to more closely meet the needs of and sustain animals. The bill prohibits violators not just from owning specified animals, but from living with them. It also imposes a fine of one-thousand dollars for the first violation, and two-thousand five hundred dollars for a second violation. Subsequent violations are a gross misdemeanor. (Companion: HB 1147).
http://savewashingtonpets.org/crueltybill.aspx

Senate Bill 5356 (Establishing seasons for hunting cougars with the aid of dogs)
Introduced by Sen. Bob Morton, (R – Kettle Falls) (R) on January 21, 2011, to direct the Fish and Wildlife Commission to establish rules and a season for hunting cougars with the aid of dogs. This act also removes conditions on the use of dogs in cougar hunting only as a last resort and solely for the purpose of protecting livestock, although the Commission may impose conditions in its rules. (Companion: HB 1124).

Senate Bill 5151 (Creating a pet population control and safety program)
Introduced by Sen. Maralyn Chase, (D-Shoreline) (D) on January 17, 2011, to create the companion animal safety, population control, and spay/neuter assistance program and spay/neuter assistance account. The program provides for spaying and neutering of feral and free-roaming cats and companion animals owned by low-income individuals. It requires the department to administer the program and authorizes private veterinarians, private veterinary practices, animal care and control agencies, and nonprofit organizations to apply to the department to participate in the program.
Senate Bill 5144 (Requiring registration of animal abusers)
Introduced by Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, (D-Bothell) (D) on January 17, 2011, to requires the registration of animal abusers and authorize the release of certain information on animal abusers. “Animal abuser” means a person over eighteen years of age, or a minor who has been tried as an adult, who has been convicted of a criminal animal abuse offense. The attorney general is required to keep the registry and make it available for public access over the internet. The information includes an abuser’s personal information, but not his/her social security number, a record of his/her animal abuse convictions, and his/her photograph.

House Bill 1243 (Concerning crimes against animals belonging to another person)
Introduced by Rep. Joel Kretz, (R-Wauconda) (R) on January 17, 2011, creates a class C felony for intentionally killing or harming another’s livestock. This act allows the owner of livestock damaged by such conduct to file a civil lawsuit and collect triple the amount of damages if prevailing. This act also adds livestock to the class of animals protected under current animal cruelty laws.