On Thursday, February 15, an Arizona committee will consider multiple bills impacting animals, including bills regulating dogs outdoors and amending the laws regarding seizure of animals when the owner is suspected of mistreatment.
Those who wish to comment may do so by using the contact information listed below.
SB 1047 – New Provisions for Dogs Kept Primarily Outdoors
This bill amends current cruelty laws, including providing new reasonable provisions regarding shelters for dogs kept primarily outdoors. These provisions include having a shelter that is structurally sound and is of sufficient size for the dog to be able to stand, turn around, and lie down and maintain a normal body temperature.
The bill also requires bedding to protect dogs from “extreme weather”, which is defined by a heat advisory, certain weather warnings (such as a monsoon, dust storm, etc.), and when the temperature is below 32 degrees or over 100 degrees.
AKC does appreciate that the bill is very clear that these new provisions only apply to dogs kept primarily outside, and provides exemptions for hunting, training, competitions and events, and other activities.
SB 1204 – Amendments to Law Regarding Seizure on Suspicion of Cruelty
SB 1204 expands current problematic law in matters relating to seizure of animals. The current law allows for an animal to be seized if there is a preponderance of evidence that the animal was subjected to cruel neglect or mistreatment. The owner is required to post a small bond of $25 per animal to help defray the costs of care, and if the bond is not posted within 10 days, then the owner loses their property rights to the animal. AKC is concerned with current law, which could allow someone to lose their animal even if they are found not guilty.
This bill expands this law by stating that the animal may be seized if it is in distress due to mistreatment, which includes lack of proper food and water, lack of medical treatment, or if the animal has an injury, illness, physical impairment or parasites. The animal may also be seized if necessary to protect the health and safety of that animal or another animal, or if the animal is vicious and may be a danger to safety. The burden of proof is still with the seizing agency to prove to the court that the animal was lawfully seized. The bill would also allow “reliable hearsay” to be admissible.
SB 1204 would expand the cost of the bond to $500 per animal, and it clarifies that this is to defray the cost of veterinary, impound and board fees. The owner would not be required to pay the fee if they are successful in the hearings, or if good cause is shown that they are unable to pay. The agency seizing the animal may contract with a person, agency, or volunteer to care for the animal during the trial. AKC appreciates that this helps alleviate the burden on shelters and could allow for co-owners or others to care for the animal. We are asking for an amendment that the owner approve where the dog is taken, unless they have already relinquished their property rights.
How to contact the committee:
These bills will be considered by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Energy, and Water on Thursday, February 15. To contact the committee prior to the hearing, use the following contact information. If you are a constituent, be sure to mention that when contacting the members:
Sen. Sine Kerr, Chair (Dist. 25)
Sen. T.J. Shope, Vice Chair (Dist. 16, Sponsor of SB 1047)
Sen. Frank Carroll (Dist. 28)
Sen. Brian Fernandez (Dist. 23)
Sen. David Gowan (Dist. 19)
Sen. Juan Mendez (Dist. 8)
Sen. Priya Sundareshan (Dist. 18)
AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will provide updates as they are available. For more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.