Animal rights activists are furious after an Alabama Senate bill dubbed the ‘pet abuser protection act’ passed committee.
The new bill gives the Department of Agriculture exclusive authority to report animal cruelty.
Bill 196, authored by Senator Williams, Sessions, Whatley, Chesteen, Price and Scofield, means that ‘all laws, ordinances and rules passed by counties and municipalities about the regulation of the treatment, sale, production or transportation of animals are wiped clean unless it deals with zoning or business licenses’, according to reports in abc3340.
All complaints about animal abuse will now go directly through the Department for Agriculture.
Allison Black Cornelius, CEO of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, has heavily criticised the new legislation.
‘Pet abuser protection act’
“How in the world would the Department of Agriculture have enough employees to go run every single alleged neglect and abuse call for every single citizen for 67 counties in every single city in those 67 counties,” Cornelius told the publication.
“We call it the pet abuser protection act,” said Cornelius.
Lawmakers say the new bill will make it easier to punish those who call in with fake claims as complainants must make a sworn statement.
According to the new bill, an animal must have a serious physical injury or have died due to abuse or neglect. If a complaint does not fulfill this criteria then callers can face possible jail time and up to $500 in fines.
Animal rights activists have also heavily criticised a clause which means any successful complaint needs to go to a judge before an animal is removed from a situation. The judge will have up to ten days to sign off any order to remove an animal from a property, which welfare organisations say is far too long and could lead to serious suffering for abused and neglected animals.
Share this article to reveal the severe impact the new bill in Alabama could have on animal welfare.
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