Legislation & regulation

  • October 24, 2010

    Sanofi, Merck may be preparing to sell off some assets

    Two huge drug manufacturers could be getting ready to sell off some animal health assets, worth some $1 billion, later this year.
  • January 5, 2010

    Delaware adopts exotics regulations

    Delaware has enacted a set of new regulations that puts increased restrictions on owners of exotic animals. The state Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health and Food Products Inspection adopted the regulations last month, and they became effective Dec. 28. The regulations give the state veterinarian the authority to grant, deny or revoke permits for people wishing to own, sell, display or rehabilitate an exotic animal. The regulation defines “exotic” as “a live wild mammal, hybrid of a wild mammal, and a live reptile not native to or generally found in Delaware. An exotic animal is ecologically foreign to Delaware.” The regulations make exceptions for certain exotics.
  • November 24, 2009

    Houston vaccination ordinance highlights sticky issue

    The city of Houston is attempting to enforce a decades-old law regarding a veterinarian’s role in pet licensing, but the law is meeting with opposition from many of the city’s veterinarians. The ordinance, passed in 1985, states that veterinarians who vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies must either provide owners’ information to the city’s Bureau of Animal regulation and Care (BARC), or issue the licenses themselves. Houston veterinarians received a letter from the city’s Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department in late September. The letter reminded veterinarians that according to the city ordinance (Chapter 6 of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances), all dogs and cats must be licensed in Houston. The letter explains that according to the ordinance, veterinarians who vaccinate any dog or cat within Houston city limits must either: License the animal while acting as a deputy licensing authority at the time of the administration of the vaccine; orProvide a copy of the fully executed vaccination certificate to the Houston Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care with the following information: Description of the dog or catIf the animal has been spayed/neuteredNumber on the rabies vaccination tag issuedName and address of the ownerNumber of the Houston registration tag, if any The letter threatens steep penalties for veterinarians who do not comply with the ordinance.
  • October 13, 2009

    Supreme Court weighs animal cruelty law

    The United States Supreme Court is considering overturning a decade-old law banning depictions of animal cruelty. And according to one Supreme Court justice, that could pave the way for a “human sacrifice channel” or an “ethnic cleansing channel” on cable TV. The court heard the case of United States v. Robert Stevens last week, in which U.S. Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal argued that Stevens should be convicted under Title 18, Section 48 of the U.S. Code. The law states: “Whoever knowingly creates, sells, or possesses a depiction of animal cruelty with the intention of placing that depiction in interstate or foreign commerce for commercial gain, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”
  • October 13, 2009

    Florida senator proposes ban on reptiles

    A proposed law in Florida would ban at least six reptile species from the state. Democratic state Sen. Eleanor Sobel is proposing an amendment to Florida’s law on venomous reptiles and other “reptiles of concern.” The amended bill lays out six specific reptiles that would be illegal to keep, possess, import, sell, barter, trade or breed, unless the owner secures a permit before July 1, 2010 – the same day the law would go into effect if passed. Owners of anacondas (except green anacondas) would have until Oct. 1, 2010 to obtain a permit. The species in question are: Burmese or Indian python (Python molurus)Reticulated python (Python reticulatus)African rock python (Python sebae)Amethystine or scrub python (Morelia amethystinus)Anaconda (Eunectes)Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus) The bill also includes a wide-open seventh category of prohibited reptile: “any other reptile designated as a reptile of concern” by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
  • September 29, 2009

    China begins taking comments on proposed Animal Protection Law

    China has completed a draft of its first-ever “Animal Protection Law,” and has begun to seek public input. The proposed law was drafted by a team of more than 20 people from China and other countries. If passed, those found guilty of animal cruelty would be fined up to 6,000 yuan ($877) and two weeks in prison. The law would also require microchips in pets, and prohibit owners from breeding their pets. One section of the proposed law deals with witnesses to animal cruelty. In an article in the Yangtze Daily, the author of the “General Provisions” section, Wuhan University Professor Cai Shouqiu talked about some of the law’s provisions. Cai said that under the law, those who witness animal abuse would have the right to represent the animal in court.
  • September 15, 2009

    Iowa committee to discuss puppy mill legislation

    The legislative session is over, but a special committee has been formed in Iowa to discuss the fate of commercial breeders in that state. No action was taken on House File 486, Iowa’s version of the “puppy mill bill,” during the regular session. But a committee was formed and will meet near the end of September to study the matter further, according to state Rep. Jim Lykam, who supported the bill. The act would have given inspectors from the Iowa Department of Agriculture the right to inspect federally licensed breeding facilities where animals are suspected of being abused. Under the current law, only federal U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors can enter such facilities.
  • September 15, 2009

    California sees spate of legislative activity

    In the past few weeks, legal activity in California has potentially affected the lives of many companion animals. Mandatory spay-neuter bill fails Senate Bill 250 was defeated by the State Assembly by a vote of 28-42. The bill would have required the mandatory spaying and neutering of cats and dogs kept as pets in California, with some exceptions. Commercial breeder regulation moves ahead Assembly Bill 241, the Responsible Breeder Act, deals with the commercial breeding of dogs and cats. According to the bill, no person or business entity in California can have more than a combined total of 50 adult unsterilized dogs and cats for breeding or raising them for sale as pets. Budget cuts reduce shelter grace period With a budget deficit in the billions of dollars, California has had to try and find ways to cut costs. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a compromise between Gov. Schwarzenegger and the state Legislature to reduce the deficit will shorten the holding period at animal shelters.
  • August 18, 2009

    Property or more? Pets and the law

    Two recent court cases have brought a longstanding debate back into the spotlight: How much is a companion animal worth? Both cases involve plaintiffs who are seeking non-economic damages for the deaths of their pets. In both cases, the state laws say that pets are property. In one case, a woman sued her veterinarian for distress and loss of companionship. In another case yet to be decided, a man is suing another private citizen for damages resulting from the death of his dog.
  • August 18, 2009

    HAPPY Act goes before U.S. House

    A recent bill brought before the U.S. House of Representatives could pave the way to making veterinary care more affordable to everyone. One legal expert says that the bill is also a step in the right direction toward a proper designation of companion animals in the eyes of the law. The Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act was introduced to the House on July 31 by Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) The bill proposes to amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow up to a $3,500 tax deduction for qualified pet health care expenses for qualified pets. According to the bill, “qualified pet care expenses” means money paid for the care of the pet, not including its purchase, and a “qualified pet” is defined as “a legally owned, domesticated, live animal.”