Summer 2009 Newsletter



Number of Animal Protection Bills
At All-Time High in '09 Legislative Session -

A Summary of What Passed and What Didn't

By Monica Garcia, Animal Protection Voters

New Mexico's fast-paced 2009 legislative session involved the introduction of an unprecedented number of animal protection bills, yet the 60-day period was confounded by a broad lack of funding for programs and projects. Still, by the conclusion of the session, several animal protection bills were approved.

Results of the 2009 legislative session follow.

PASSED!

SB 127, Custody and Care of Mistreated Animals, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth and sponsored on the House floor by Rep. Al Park. This allows for financial relief for local governments, animal shelters, the New Mexico Livestock Board and non-profit horse shelters. Agencies responsible for the care of animals seized in animal cruelty cases may now petition the court for reimbursement of the cost of their care. Costs would be paid by those charged with animal cruelty.

SB 185, Pet License Plate Fees to Animal Care Fund, sponsored by Sen. Mary Jane García and Rep. Bill O'Neill. Improves the funding mechanism of the existing spay/neuter license plate law. When this law goes into effect, $25 of the $35 license plate fee will go directly to the Animal Care and Facilities Fund managed by the Animal Services Board, to be distributed to local spay-neuter programs.

HJM4, Wildlife Corridor Info Sharing, sponsored by Rep. Mimi Stewart, describes the importance of conserving wildlife habitat corridors and the need for multiple partners to work together to protect such resources, prevent damage to property and vehicles, as well as injury and death to people.

HB 265, No Gas Chamber for Animal Euthanasia, sponsored by Rep. W. Ken Martinez, prohibits the euthanasia of dogs and cats using carbon monoxide gas chambers.

HB 593, Animal Euthanasia Requirements, sponsored by Rep. W. Ken Martinez, gives euthanasia technicians who are licensed by the Animal Sheltering Board the authority to purchase, possess and administer controlled substances for euthanasia and pre-euthanasia of cats and dogs at animal shelters. This will provide shelters an alternative to contracting with veterinarians for these purposes.

HB 2, New Mexico's State Budget, sponsored by Gov. Bill Richardson, includes a line item that provides $100,000 in state funding in fiscal year 2010 for New Mexico's few remaining animal shelters that use gas chambers for euthanasia to transition to humane euthanasia by injection.

SB 504, Feral Hog Control, sponsored by Sen. Phil Griego, makes it illegal to import or transport live feral hogs to or within New Mexico, or to hold for breeding, sell, or operate commercial feral hog hunting operations within New Mexico.

NOT PASSED

HB 159, Expand Cruelty to Animals Definition, sponsored by Rep. Al Park. This bill would have amended the current animal cruelty statute by expanding the definition of an "animal" to include "captive reptiles," and more clearly defining "sustenance" as food, water or shelter. It added a definition of "criminal negligence" that would have assisted with the prosecution of cruelty cases.

HB 781, the Equine Protection Fund, sponsored by Rep. Andy Nuñez. There are urgent needs for horses throughout New Mexico, and those in support of this important legislation have not abandoned the initiative. Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) is leading the process to establish a private fund to address the most immediate needs of New Mexico's horses.

HB 434, Family Violence Protection Act Revisions, sponsored by Rep. Rhonda King. This would have amended the Family Violence Act to include animals in a Temporary Domestic Protection Order. This would help keep animals from being used as leverage against the primary victims of domestic violence.

HB 2, Intentionally Starving Animals to Death, sponsored by Rep. Patty Lundstrum. This would have amended the animal cruelty statute to include malicious and intentional dehydration and starvation as a fourth degree felony.

HB302/SB358, Española Animal Services funding, sponsored by Rep. Debbie Rodella and Sen. Richard Martinez. These would have amended the state's budget to appropriate monies for operations of the Española Animal Shelter.

HB 456, Purchase Police Dog Protective Vests, sponsored by Rep. Don Tripp. Bill would have amended the Law Enforcement Protection Fund to allow purchase of protective equipment for police dogs.

SB 313, Cruelty to Animals Includes Abandonment, sponsored by Sen. Tim Eichenberg. This would have amended the state's animal cruelty statute to provide felony penalties for those who intentionally starve or dehydrate their animals to death.

SB 391, Landowner Takings of Certain Animals, sponsored by Sen. Michael Sanchez. Bill would have amended the state game and fish statutes by removing a landowner's right to kill wildlife that presents a threat to property. It would have offered compensation to landowners for the monetary loss of crops.

For more information on the work of Animal Protections Voter's work, go to www.apvnm.org.



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