The Missouri Legislature has convened for 2021 and multiple bills affecting animals have already been filed. Fortunately, numerous bills have been filed to help animals such as increasing penalties for animal abuse, assisting dogs in hot cars, tax incentives for adopting an animal, establishing an animal abuse registry, and requiring psychological evaluation and treatment for animal hoarders and those who abuse animals. There is even a bill that would provide whistleblower protection to those who report abuse to animals in research at any state institution of higher learning.
Regrettably, there have also been numerous bills introduced that are intended to significantly weaken our existing animal welfare laws. The most egregious of these bills would eliminate the disposition process that that has successfully removed animals from cruel puppy mills and abusive situations. Another bill would prohibit anyone from testifying or providing evidence in a criminal or civil trial against an animal business except for the Sheriff and the Missouri Department of Agriculture. In addition, there is a bill that would prevent anyone from filing a lawsuit to protect animals. And, there are three bills that would prohibit municipalities from banning cruel animal events and would restrict municipalities from regulating the care of animals.
Unfortunately, these harmful bills are being encouraged by the Missouri Pet Breeders Association, the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, and other agricultural trade groups that represent the interests of the worst dog breeders, farmers, and ranchers in their respective industries. Instead of working to rid itself of the bad actors, these associations strive to protect the worst of the worst and seek to protect those that abuse and neglect their animals from the consequences of their actions.
We will need your support and assistance, once again, as we work to defeat these harmful bills and work to help pass the good bills that would advance animal welfare in the state.
As issues arise where we need your help, we will be sending out Action Alerts asking you to contact your state legislators. With your help, the Alliance will continue to be a forceful voice on behalf of the animals and you can be assured that we will be aggressively fighting for the animals at our state Capitol.
We look forward to your support once again as we strive to make 2021 a Happy and Humane New Year for the Animals!