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Montana to Hear 'Animal Hoarding' Bill on March 19

(Wednesday, March 18, 2009)

On Thursday, March 19, the Montana House Judiciary Committee will hear a bill to expand the definition of animal cruelty. The American Kennel Club urges all responsible dog owners, fanciers, and breeders to contact the Montana Senate and express their opposition to Senate Bill 221, which would expand the definition of animal cruelty to include "animal hoarding".

As defined in Senate Bill 221, "animal hoarding" takes place when a person does all of the following:

  • Owns 10 or more companion animals or household pets
  • Fails to provide necessary care, such as adequate water, shelter, and veterinary care, and
  • Confines the animals in a severely overcrowded environment.

Exemptions are included for purebred animal breeding facilities or "facilities for animals related to sanctioned endurance races", unless the owners fail to comply with the standards of care.

Those convicted of animal hoarding will be forced to undergo a psychological or psychiatric evaluation.

Because cruelty and negligence laws already exist in Montana statute, and these measures define cruelty to include acts such as not providing adequate food and water and confining animals in a cruel manner, the AKC believes this bill is unnecessary. The measure simply confuses the issues of the number of dogs an individual owns with quality of care.

The American Kennel Club's mission includes working to protect the rights of all dog owners and promoting responsible dog ownership. The AKC strongly supports the humane treatment of dogs, including providing an adequate and nutritious diet, clean living conditions, regular veterinary care, kind and responsive human companionship and training in appropriate behavior.

What You Can Do to Help:

  • Attend the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, March 19, and express your opposition to Senate Bill 221. The details are as follows:
  • Thursday, March 19, 2009
    Time: 8:00 a.m.
    Montana House Judiciary Committee
    Hearing Room 137