Saturday, March 17, 2007
Animal Sheltering Service Act now waits for Governor Richardson’s signature
By a vote of 60-0, SB458, the Animal Sheltering Services Act, passed the House of Representatives on Thursday March 15. Animal Protection Voters is deeply grateful to Senator Mary Jane Garcia who sponsored the Senate bill and Representative Thomas Swisstack who sponsored the House bill.
The Animal Sheltering Services Act authorizes the creation of the Animal Sheltering Services Board, which will promulgate recommended standards for New Mexico’s shelters, and mandatory standards for the practice of euthanasia. The Act also creates the Animal Care and Facilities Fund, which will be able to accept donations and legislative appropriations to assist communities with carrying out the provisions of the Act. The fund will be able to accept and the board help implement legislative appropriations for spay-neuter projects should they be funded by the legislature in the future.
It has taken four years to get this important legislation approved and funded.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
ASSA & some misconceptions
The Animal Sheltering Services Act has received overwhelming support. That support has come from legislators, animal shelter leadership around the state, and organizations such as the NM Municipal League and the NM Animal Control Association.
As with most bills there has been opposition as well. We have heard from some people that have concerns about the repercussions of the state-level board (ASSB) that will be created. It seems that some of these concerns would be alleviated if the bill were read… I know, I know—word of mouth is easier than actually reading the 23-page bill.
Here is what I’ve been hearing:
• “The ASSA puts an undue financial burden on municipalities and counties as they implement the established standards.”
The ASSB will establish voluntary standards for shelters. Not mandatory. Voluntary.
• “ The ASSB will be packed with animal rights activists.”
The nine members will be appointed by the Governor.
Those members are outlined very specifically in the bill. Here are the groups that will be represented: NM Municipal League, NM Association of Counties, veterinary community, rescue organizations, domestic pet breeding community, animal advocacy community, the general public, and the animal shelter community (with those shelter representatives having specialized experience in operations and euthanasia).
• “ The ASSA puts shelter operations in the hands of animal rights groups”
Currently, when shelters seek guidance, they contact the following groups: HSUS and APNM. These groups will come out and provide an evaluation. The HSUS consultation is very thorough and comes with a high price tag. APNM comes out on a more informal basis as time and staff resources allow.
After the Animal Sheltering Services Board is created, there will be another option for shelters. APNM won't be the only in-state organization available for shelter consultations. HSUS will still be the desired evaluation tool for some communities. But by and large, the ASSB will provide the guidance so necessary in our sheltering community.
• “HSUS is the only group that provides euthanasia training. Training should be provided by the AVMA.”
HSUS does not provide euthanasia training. AVMA does not provide euthanasia training.
The groups that DO offer humane euthanasia training are: American Humane Association, National Animal Control Association, and the University of Missouri. These three groups have offered this vital training in New Mexico within the past year.
• “ASSA is paving the way for statewide mandatory spay-neuter.”
I know this bill inside and out… I just can’t find anything in the text that implies some backdoor trick for mandatory s/n. The ASSA does create a fund that could accept s/n appropriations. It does give the board the power and duty to work with communities on s/n programs. The nine member ASSB certainly has not power to implement mandatory s/n.
The bottom line is this:
The time has come for companion animals to have a place in our state government. They deserve to be compassionately cared for while being housed at shelters, and treated with dignity if their lives must end. And the people who take on the difficult job of working at shelters deserve some help, too.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
As Governor Richardson said so eloquently, "It's history."
On Monday, March 12, 2007, history was made for both roosters and the citizens of New Mexico. New Mexico has officially become the 49th state to ban the cruel sport of cockfighting! Flanked by actress and extraordinary animal activist, Ali MacGraw, the sponsor of SB10 Senator Mary Jane Garcia, Representative Peter Wirth, Animal Protection Voters Executive Director Lisa Jennings along with the APV staff and former staff and Allen Sanchez, Exec. Dir. of the NM Conference of Catholic Bishops, Governor Richardson signed the bill to ban cockfighting.
While the penalties have been reduced in this final version of the bill, the public can be assured that law enforcement will be more than happy to raid illegal rings and enforce this law. Governor Richardson also stated yesterday that we can come back and make the bill stronger in a few years if this law doesn't keep people from participating in these cruel killing contests.
Rocky "Not So" Cocky and Joey "The Chicken" Rooster are now free to strut their stuff around the barnyard and relax with their lady hen friends where they belong - their fight is canceled forever.
Representative Tom Taylor also had an idea:
HOUSE MEMORIAL 12
- STATE OF NEW MEXICO -
FIRST SESSION, 2007
Thomas C. Taylor
A MEMORIAL SUPPORTING A SUITABLE RETIREMENT FOR FIGHTING COCKS.
WHEREAS, in the heated and emotional debate over whether
to prohibit cockfighting in the state of New Mexico, a question
that by all appearances will be settled in a matter of weeks,
few have considered the fate that awaits the proud and mighty
fighting cocks in their imminent retirement; and
WHEREAS, the lonely cluck of the warrior with no battle
plucks at our heartstrings and stirs the very fabric of our
compassionate souls; and
WHEREAS, if the fighting cocks are anything like the rest
of us, they have devoted precious little time and energy to
planning for their golden years; and
WHEREAS, it would be an intolerable and ironic injustice
to free the fighting cocks from the arena, where they at least
had half a chance to see the next sunrise, only to have them
land, literally, in the frying pan; and
WHEREAS, it is not in the public's interest to allow
retired fighting cocks to simply roam freely in New Mexico
because they have nasty dispositions and no tolerance for other
cocks and would almost certainly join the ranks of feral cats
and stray dogs, all the while spreading their dang little
feathers just about everywhere; and
WHEREAS, everybody loves a winner and, by definition, each
of the soon-to-be-retired fighting cocks is undefeated;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the appropriate
state agencies be requested to design and implement a
retirement program befitting the majesty of the fighting cocks
that includes twice-weekly visits from the very best cage-free
hens the state has to offer, one high-definition television for
every six cocks and a subscription to ESPN, animal planet and
CMT pure country, but not to the food network or FOX news.
Animal Sheltering Services Act in the final week
With the cockfighting ban accomplished, our last push at the roundhouse is the Animal Sheltering Services Act. It is down to the wire in the last week as many bills will simply die for lack of time. Hopefully, ASSA will not be one of those.
At this point, ASSA/SB458 has 2 more steps. We are waiting for a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. That committee already heard the identical House version of the bill. The final step is then the vote on the House floor.
We have until noon on Saturday, 3/17....
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Roosters on the way to roost on Governor's desk!
SB10 is on its way to Governor Bill Richardson's desk for signing this week!
After passing back through the Senate for a technical amendment concurrence last week by a vote of 27-6, the bill is ready for signature. Senator Phil Griego attempted to stall SB10 during concurrence by voting against accepting the amendment which was actually a legal "fix" for the incorrect amendment that Sen. Griego added on the Senate floor during SB10's initial Senate vote, he was joined by only 5 other Senators and his stalling attempt failed.
This historic moment signifies a new direction for the state of New Mexico and one that should make every animal lover celebrate. This reflects that New Mexicans' values are to protect all animals and not subject any animal to horrific acts of cruelty for entertainment and illegal gambling.
On behalf of the roosters, Animal Protection Voters thanks everyone who in the past and present have brought us to this historic time!
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Roosters almost home free
Tonight the bill to ban cockfighting passed the House by a vote of 49-20! There was about 45 minutes of debate. Many in the House spoke in support of the bill including Rep. Al Park, Rep. Peter Wirth, Rep. Bill Rehm, Rep. Jeff Steinborn, Rep. Antonio Maestas and Rep. Gail Chasey. There were the usual attempts at amendments including adding an appropriation to send the bill to the House Finance Committee which was narrowly defeated. The bill now heads back to the Senate for concurrence on an amendment.
Many thanks to all who have supported and worked so hard on this bill for so many years. History has finally been made for the roosters and New Mexico is stepping up to join the other 48 states that outlaw these horrible killing contests. We hope the cockfighters can find a new joy in gambling on something else.....perhaps the World Series of Poker? I hear they are taking entries now for next year.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
ASSA Clears the Senate
Hi there, political animals! Good news on the Animal Sheltering Services Act (SB458)-- last week it passed the Senate by a vote of 29-6. We are in the home stretch in the roundhouse, things are moving fast, and everyone is working late. We'll keep you posted...
Oh, and if you are just joining us, check out the archive links to your left-- January & February 2007.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Victory for Chained Dogs
They aren’t all being let off their chains and invited onto the couch, but attention is on the plight of chained dogs. On Monday, 2/26, the House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of HM19.
In the next year, the Department of Public Safety will study the humane and public safety implications of persistently tethering dogs. The resulting study can be used to guide future policy- at the state, county and local levels.
Working on HM19, it became apparent that this issue was one that legislators care about. The morning of the vote on the House floor, faxes in opposition to the memorial were sent to all representatives. After they were read and responsibly placed in the recycling bins… and one staffer finding falsified information on the fax regarding a AVMA statement...the New Mexico House of Representatives needed no debate before their unanimous vote!
Thanks to Representative Miguel Garcia for sponsoring HM19.