State pet protection bills move forward

The Vermont Legislature passed a bill that would require a bitter additive to be mixed into antifreeze and coolants sold in the state. The measure says that the bitter substance denatonium benzoate must be added to antifreeze or coolant containing more than 10 percent ethylene glycol, in order to make it unpalatable to animals and humans.

The bill is awaiting signature by Gov. Jim Douglas. According to the Humane Society of the United States, eight other states have adopted similar laws: Arizona, California, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington.

The Washington state senate approved a bill that would help protect pets in cases of domestic violence.

In some domestic violence cases, the abuser will attack or threaten the victim’s pet. HB 1148 is designed to prevent such tactics. The bill defines pets as “personal property” If the court grants a protection order in a domestic violence case.

“The court may order that a petitioner be granted the exclusive custody or control of any pet owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the petitioner, respondent, or minor child residing with either the petitioner or respondent and may prohibit the respondent from interfering with the petitioners efforts to remove the pet,” the bill reads. “The court may also prohibit the respondent from knowingly coming within, or knowingly remaining within, a specified distance of specified locations where the pet is regularly found.”

he bill was delivered to Gov. Chris Gregoire and is awaiting her signature.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Legislature is considering amendments to the state’s Revised Code that would afford for the protection of companion animals in temporary protection orders, domestic violence protection orders, anti-stalking protection orders, and other protection orders.

The proposed amendments of House Bill 55 would add clauses in court protection orders so that human victims as well as their companion animals would be legally protected. The House Criminal Justice committee is scheduled to consider the bill this week.

The bill also revises penalties and sentencing provisions for the state’s cruelty to animals statutes.

Another bill being considered this week would amend the same statute to increase the penalty for animal cruelty. House Bill 70 would bump up the cruelty charge from a first- or second-degree misdemeanor to a fifth degree felony.

Under Ohio law, a first-degree misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of no more than six months in prison and a $1,000 fine. A fifth-degree felony can carry a $2,500 fine and up to a year in prison.

NEWStat Legislation & regulation