Our state legislature is currently in session in Santa Fe. Bills protecting animals from neglect and abuse are being introduced and voted on by our state representatives and state senators.
This is your opportunity to be heard on behalf of the animals! Communicate your support for laws to help animals (listed below) to both your state representative and your state senator through e-mail or phone.
Senate Bill 155 (SB 155) Expand Animal Cruelty Definitions
SB 155 introduced by Senator Jacob Candelaria adds language that expands the definition of extreme cruelty to include, “Intentionally starving or dehydrating an animal to a point that imperils the animal’s life.” The bill makes this type of violation a fourth degree felony.
Senate Bill 83 (SB 83) Animal Cruelty Definitions and Penalties
Animal Protection Voters has asked for better language relating to cruelty definitions and penalties for perpetrators. SB 83 was introduced by Senator Richard Martinez to accomplish the above objectives. Among the changes are definitions for “sustenance” (includes food, water and shelter), and for “recklessly” (acting with knowledge that the actions or lack of actions create a substantial risk to the welfare and safety of the animal). The bill also makes the first offense of committing cruelty to animals that causes death or great bodily harm -- a fourth degree felony.
House Bill 63 (HB 63) No Breed-Specific Local Government Dog Regulations
HB 63 introduced by Representative Yvette Herrell prohibits municipalities and counties from enacting any breed-specific regulations. Some local jurisdictions in New Mexico have banned a specific breed of dog based on a perceived general aggressiveness of that breed. As we know, aggression cannot be presumed simply because a dog is of a specific breed.
Senate Bill 274 (SB 274) Horse Shelter Rescue Fund
Animal Protection Voters is working to raise money to help care for abandoned horses. A voluntary check-off on NM tax forms will be added and referred to as the “horse shelter rescue fund.” The money raised by that fund will be used to assist horse rescues and homeless horses. This objective is accomplished in SB 274 introduced by Senator George Munoz.
House Bill 316 (HB 316) No Animal-Killing Contests
Animal Protection Voters has also initiated a bill to prohibit animal-killing contests. This occurs when someone organizes or sponsors a competition whereby individuals participate in the killing of one species of animal, such as coyotes, and the participant killing the most animals is declared the winner. HB 316, introduced by Representative Nate Cote, prohibits this kind of practice.
Senate Bill 139 (SB 139) Disposition of State-Owned Animals
People for Animal Welfare of NM has asked Senator Mark Moores to introduce a bill to change the way retired state police dogs are handled. Current policy allows retired police dogs to be disposed of in the same way as surplus equipment. Rather than attempt to sell the K-9 officer to the “highest bidder,” we ask that the first option be to give the dog to his/her handler or trainer free of charge. The second option would be to give the dog to a qualified rescue group. A final option would be to sell the canine to a qualified purchaser. The bill that achieves this objective is SB 139.
In order to become law, bills need to be approved by both the State Senate and the State House of Representatives. Please contact both your state senator and state representative and ask them to pass these bills. To determine the names and contact information of your state senator and state representative, click here. Call or email your representative to express your support for these bills.
If you call your legislators, just ask the person answering the phone to tell the senator or representative that you are a constituent, and request that he/she supports each of the six bills. If you email them, you can do the same thing and give your address, in addition to writing a brief message including the listing of the six bills.
Writing Effective E-Mails to Our State Senator and State Representative
Please put a short, general pro-animal title in the subject line of your e-mail. Below are some you can use, or you might come up with others.
· Please Protect Animals from Harm
· Please Stop Animal Cruelty
· Please Vote Yes for Humane Treatment
· Animals Need Protection
· Please Pass Animal-Friendly Bills
· Please Support Humane Treatment
· Please Support the Welfare of Animals
· Please Vote Yes to Protecting Animals
· Please Pass Anti-Cruelty Bills
Then in the body of your e-mail, close to the beginning, please list the names and numbers (SB or HB) of each of the six bills and ask that your legislator support each one. Then if possible, you might write a brief message.
NOW is Our Chance
This is our opportunity to improve the lives of animals for years to come! Though we currently rank as one of the most lax states in dealing with animal cruelty, that can all change with YOUR voice being heard! Please do everything you can now to help those who can’t speak, but do suffer. Please contact your state senator and state representative as soon as possible!