I wrote earlier this week about the arrogant efforts of Missouri politicians to undo Prop B just two months after the electorate adopted the anti-puppy mill ballot measure — and 10 months before the initiative takes effect (since Prop B gave large-scale dog-breeding operations a full year to comply with the new humane standards of care). While the anti-Prop B efforts are an appalling snub of voters and the democratic system of majority rule, there are some other legislative proposals in other states that are truly off the wall. A handful of lawmakers in a few states are setting a new standard of reckless and dunderheaded behavior in introducing these bills. We hope none of these measures will advance beyond the introduction stage, but we’ll be keeping close tabs.
Nebraska LB 306
Sponsored by freshman Sen. Tyson Larson, this bill requires humane societies and horse rescues to accept and care for any horse that is presented to them, and would make it a crime, a class IV misdemeanor, if the group doesn’t have enough space or money to take in an animal dumped on their doorsteps. Sen. Larson’s unbelievable bill turns moral responsibility on its head, allowing reckless animal owners to casually dispense with animals they’ve acquired without proper forethought and shifting the care and cost burdens onto struggling local organizations, who are already up to their ears cleaning up the messes of other irresponsible animal owners. For the government to require these local organizations to care for every animal presented to them, and to create a crime if they are unable to take them in, that’s akin to requiring the Sierra Club to cover the costs of every environmental polluter and to require nothing of the very polluters who create the problem in the first place.
Utah HB 210
This session, the Utah legislature will consider a bill to allow people to shoot any animal they believe to be feral — essentially green-lighting the shooting of feral dogs and cats, and giving people a pass if they shoot someone else’s pet. It’s the Wild West, and there are no rules when it comes to the care of animals, if this lawmaker gets his way. This crazy idea comes at a time when there are more effective efforts than ever to address the management of feral dogs and cats by humane means, such as trap-neuter-return.
Montana LC 1839
And in Montana, legislation is being drafted with the goal of “nullifying and voiding the Federal Endangered Species Act.” Imagine if states had the authority to willy-nilly void any federal law they don’t want to follow! Don’t like the federal Endangered Species Act? Just nix it. How about the federal Controlled Substances Act? Nullify it. Civil rights, labor laws, environmental protection laws? Brushed aside as some sort of outrageous federal intervention. Forget about the tripartite system of lawmaking, with power vested in local, state and federal governments. In this aberrant construction of government, the states are supreme and they don’t need any stinking ideas from local or federal lawmakers.
I know it must be a tough call, but let me know which of these ghastly ideas you think is the worst. I’ll report back to you next week with the results.