|HSVMA Brings Veterinary Voice to California Humane Lobby Day|
|Thursday, June 14, 2012 02:18 PM|
HSVMA staff and student member, Heather Rally, outside the California State Capitol after a successful Humane Lobby Day.
HSVMA joined dozens of California animal advocates to speak in favor of critical legislation affecting the state's animals in Sacramento on Tuesday, June 12, 2012. The event marked HSVMA’s third participation in a Humane Lobby Day this year; HSVMA also had veterinary teams at the Massachusetts and New York events in April. California Humane Lobby Day was sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA and other national and local humane organizations.
HSVMA veterinarian, Dr. Barbara Hodges, Western University veterinary student and HSVMA student member, Heather Rally, and HSVMA staff joined citizen advocates to meet with lawmakers at the California State Capitol to urge them to pass legislation that will significantly impact animals.
“At each and every Humane Lobby Day I’ve attended—including this year’s event—I am again reminded that the impact of a collaborative animal advocacy effort can be far greater than the efforts of the individual advocates themselves,” said Dr. Barbara Hodges. “When, as veterinary professionals, we join with like-minded constituents from veterinary schools, shelters, humane societies, rescue organizations and the general public, our collective voice is more nuanced, more powerful and more effective than ever in speaking to our representatives about legislation that protects the health and well-being of the community’s animals.”
Reflecting on her first Humane Lobby Day experience, Rally said “I learned not only that lobbying at my state capitol can make a tangible difference for animals, but I was also able to witness and begin to understand how that process works. I feel as if I have been instilled with the knowledge, the tools, and the confidence to turn my passion for animal welfare into a political force.”
Among the legislation being advocated for was Senate Bill 1229, introduced by Senator Fran Pavley and co-sponsored by HSVMA and The Paw Project. This bill would prohibit landlords from advertising or establishing rental policies requiring tenants’ animals to be declawed or devocalized (debarked). Some California landlords require declawing of cats and the devocalization of dogs as a condition for renting. SB 1229 would prohibit such a condition and impose a civil penalty of $1,000 per animal for every violation of the law.
HSVMA also vigorously advocated in favor of SB 1221, which would prohibit the inhumane and unsporting practices of using dogs to hunt down bear and bobcats—a practice known as “hounding.” This bill not only aims to protect California wildlife, but the dogs as well. Hounds are often injured during the chase or by the animals they are pursing, become lost or abandoned, or in some cases, victims of severe neglect. In addition to participation in Humane Lobby Day, HSVMA has submitted a letter of support for this important legislation as well as urged California veterinary professionals to contact their legislators.