Lawmakers Refuse Vote on Pet Animal Law, KHS Urges Lawmakers to Reconsider
Wichita, KS – A Senate Bill that would adjust inspection policies for puppy mill breeders was pulled from the House debate floor during Kansas lawmakers last session. Now, the Kansas Humane Society (KHS) and other Kansas animal shelters are urging legislators to reconsider and allow Senate Bill 47 (SB47) to go to vote.
The main points of Senate Bill 47 important to KHS and its supporters are:
-- SB47 would require breeders to be inspected by the same standards shelters are. Breeders would not be given prior notice of inspections, must pay the state if they miss an inspection, and be penalized if they do not meet humane standards at their facilities.
-- SB47 would retain the $10 licensing fee all animal foster families must pay to the state. Rep. Hoffman wants to increase that fee to $40, which would potentially greatly reduce the number of foster families able to help care for and save animals.
-- SB47 would allow shelters to perform off-site adoptions. This means families could adopt pets directly from special events and host adoption events at other locations rather than have them return to the shelter facility to adopt.
Kansas is the 3rd worst puppy mill state in the country and KHS believes SB47 could help fix this epidemic. SB47 has already been passed by the Senate and approved by the House Agricultural committee, but State Rep. Kyle Hoffman (R) of Coldwater urged House GOP leaders to formally remove the bill from the House’s debate calendar. KHS President and CEO Mark Eby says he is confused and saddened by Rep. Hoffman’s efforts to keep the House from debating and voting on this bill.
“I’ve tried really hard to listen to both sides of this debate,” said KHS CEO Mark Eby. “I’m struggling with why anyone would support the puppy mill breeders and not want to have inspections be the same as they as for the shelters? There is no reason to put the burden on foster families who are doing good work for the animals, when there are breeders just trying to make money.”
KHS is a member of the Pet Animal Coalition of Kansas (PACK). The following shelters are PACK members and are committed to supporting Senate Bill 47.
-Salina Animal Shelter
-Lawrence Humane Society
-Helping Hands Humane Society, Inc.
-Great Plains SPCA
“This is the sixth year that we have advocated for updating the Kansas Pet Animal Act,” said President of PACK, Kate Meghji, who is also executive director of the Lawrence Humane Society, “And I find it terribly concerning that shelters and rescues, who represent the largest number of licensees in the state, are being treated differently than breeders, when it comes to state inspections.”
Lawmakers returned to session on May 1st, and now KHS is encouraging citizens to contact their legislators and ask them to push the conference committee to allow a vote on Senate Bill 47. It cannot pass if it is never voted on. If nothing is done, many breeders and puppy mills in Kansas will continue to operate with preferential treatment from the state.
“It’s obvious that the reason Kansas has a puppy mill problem is because the existing legislature allows for low performing facilities to operate and be profitable,” said Salina’s Animal Services Manager Vanessa Cowie. “This bill would assist our state in encouraging a sustainable and humane industry for our companion animals, by expecting and enforcing a higher standard or care.”
ABOUT THE KANSAS HUMANE SOCIETY
Founded in 1888, the Kansas Humane Society is a community resource for pets and people, dedicated to enhancing the welfare of all companion animals. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, KHS receives no federal, state or local tax dollars, support from the Humane Society of the United States, is not a United Way agency, and depends entirely on private donations and fees for service. More information is available at www.kshumane.org.