Voters Approve New Animal Welfare Laws in Florida and California

This week’s midterm elections saw two major animal welfare victories in the states of Florida and California.

Florida’s Amendment 13, a measure to ban commercial Greyhound racing, was approved by 69% of voters in the state.  Thanks to this new legislation, Greyhound racing will be phased out over the next two years.  Good news for dog lovers interested in adopting retired Greyhounds!

In California, Proposition 12 was on the ballot.  Prop 12 was approved by 61% of California voters.  This measure will establish minimum space requirements for farm animals (egg-laying chickens, veal calves, and breeding pigs).  It will also ban the sale of meat and eggs from farms that don’t meet the space requirements.

Do you know the animal protection laws in your state?  You can find out by clicking on the interactive map on the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s website.

 

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US Law Enforcement Works to End Animal Abuse

Did you know that the National Sheriffs’ Association has a division called the National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse?

The NLECAA website has lots of great information for animal lovers around the US who are interested in finding out how law enforcement responds to animal maltreatment.

They recently released a report on the connection between animal cruelty and violence against humans.  The report notes that before 2016, animal abuse was put into an “all other offense” category in a national crime statistics database.

Since 2016, law enforcement now collects data from all over the country on animal cruelty, including gross neglect, torture, organized abuse, and sexual abuse of animals.

The report provides guidance for first responders on the scene at animal abuse investigations, including how to link animal abuse to other forms of possible violent criminal activity.

You can download the full report HERE.  The National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse also has a guide on how to report suspected animal abuse in your state.

You can follow the work the NLECAA is doing to protect animals on Twitter!

Images:  NLECCA

 

UK Bans Use of Shock Collars for Pets

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs announced new legislation banning the use of electronic training collars for dogs and cats.

These devices, commonly called shock collars or e-collars, send an electronic pulse to your pet, with the idea of correcting unwanted behaviors.  Animal welfare experts note that the devices cause unnecessary harm and suffering and may even worsen a pet’s aggression or anxiety problems.

The Department reports that the ban on e-collars will not extend to invisible fencing systems, because they believe these are useful in keeping dogs and cats away from roads and traffic.

Secretary of State Michael Grove says of the ban, “We are a nation of animal lovers and the use of punitive shock collars cause harm and suffering to our pets. This ban will improve the welfare of animals and I urge pet owners to instead use positive reward training methods.”

The Department notes that members of the public are evenly divided over the use of invisible fencing, with 50% still in favor of the fences.  They also report that many citizens have expressed concern over people’s lack of knowledge and training when it comes to the proper use of electronic devices.

 

Vets Warn that People are Hurting their Pets to Get Opioids

A recent editorial in the American Journal of Public Health has been getting a lot of attention in the news, as it points to a disturbing new trend among drug users.

Researchers at the University of Colorado conducted a survey of veterinarians and discovered a growing concern among vets that their clients are intentionally hurting their pets to obtain prescription painkillers.

Substance abuse experts note that people who suffer from opioid addiction will go to great lengths to obtain drugs, and the use of veterinarians is a little-known part of the problem.

According to the survey of nearly 200 veterinarians, 13% reported that they suspected a client had intentionally hurt a pet to obtain drugs.

45% of the vets said that they knew of either clients or staff members who abused opioids.  12% knew that a staff member was either diverting or using veterinary painkillers.

Concerned veterinary professionals can enroll in an online course about prescription drug abuse and veterinary practice, created by the Colorado School of Public Health.  Click HERE for more information.

 

Summer Pet Safety – Dogs and Hot Cars

With the Memorial Day holiday weekend just around the corner, now is the perfect time to share an important reminder with all pet owners:  Dogs and hot cars don’t mix!

According to the ASPCA, leaving pets alone in a hot car is animal cruelty.  Pets can die from overheating in a parked car very quickly.  Certain dogs are at higher risk for heat-related illness, including:

  • Puppies
  • Senior dogs
  • Short-muzzled breeds
  • Dogs with dark and/or thick coats

Remember that on a day that feels comfortable to you, the temperature inside a car can be 20 degrees higher than the outdoor air temperature, even with the windows cracked open.

Don’t take your dog with you when you’re out running errands in your car on hot summer days.  If you see a dog left alone in a hot car, be sure to call local law enforcement or animal control right away.