Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Update on HB 1755, the Dog Tethering law.

HB 1755, Concerning the Humane Treatment of Dogs, passed out of committee yesterday. Please note that this does NOT mean the bill has passed the legislative process and will become law. This was just one step in the process, and there is still time to take action.

The first substitute bill passed the judiciary committee by a small majority, but they DID take out the part that would revise the definitions section to change the definitions of food, water and shelter for all animals. So that's good. But we still need to keep an eye on the bill even though it is now only about tethering dogs.

I have so far received emails from three of the committee members that voted against the bill. I am asking them what happens next with it, and what we can do, now that it has passed committee. I'm also offering to publish their statements about why they take the position they do on the bill. If I receive replies from any that voted to pass, I will make the same offer to them so that readers can see both sides of the argument.

You can read the substitute house bill here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/cmd/default.aspx?cid=JUDI

Select the plus sign next to 1/30/2012 1:30 PM, then Executive Session, then 1755, then Amds/Proposed Subs and click on 01-PSHB 1755 with effect(1) (162k)

Proposed Substitute House Bill 1755 (1)
By Representative Goodman


- Removes modification of the definitions of “necessary food” and “necessary shelter.”

- Charging is mandatory rather than discretionary if the owner is found to have restrained a dog under the circumstances described in the act.

- It is a violation to restrain or tie a dog outside during a severe weather advisory (rather than a declared weather advisory) unless the dog is provided with adequate shelter.

- The dog must have a range of movement equal to three times the dog’s length and cannot be restrained in such a way that the dog has to stand, sit, or lie down in its own excrement or urine or that causes pain to the dog.

- Removes the prohibitions against restraining or tying a dog in a manner that does not allow the dog shelter when temperatures are outside of the range of forty to eightyfive [sic] degrees or when there is precipitation, or in a location near a school or daycare.

- Adds a requirement that the restraint cannot weigh more than one-eighth the dog’s body weight.

- Exempts the act of transporting a dog in a vehicle from constituting unlawful tethering.

- A written notice of first violation must describe the nature of the violation.

- Changes the time an owner has to remedy the violation from 48 hours to 14 days.

- Adds a new chapter describing written exemptions granted to individual owners at the discretion of the animal control authority. An exemption can be granted upon unusual circumstances that make the tethering necessary as long as the tethering is for no more than 16 hours in a 24 hour period. An exemption may also be granted if the dog is an arctic breed used as a sled dog. In either circumstance the dog’s health and safety must be attended to. Exemptions may be revoked at the animal control authority’s discretion if the conditions for the exemption no longer exist or a wellfounded [sic] complaint is placed alleging neglect, nuisance, or safety threat.

- Removes the emergency clause.

- Makes several other changes for technical correctness and clarity

To read the actual bill as it appears now, you need to go on the website as described above.

Here, again, is the link to the main legislative website page for HB 1755, Concerning the Humane Treatment of Dogs: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?year=2011&bill=1755

And here is the page for the companion Senate bill, SB 6749, Concerning the Humane Treatment of Dogs: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?year=2011&bill=5649

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