Legislative Animal Welfare Victories in 2018

December 11, 2018
Amanda Carrozza

Amanda Carrozza is a freelance writer and editor in New Jersey.

The ASPCA is celebrating the many legislative victories it had a hand in this year.

The end of the year marks a time for holiday festivities, family gatherings, and lots of Internet lists. While it is fun to browse through the best pet products or most popular dogs on social media, the last few weeks of the year are also a great time to reflect on the strides made toward improving animal welfare. Since 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has worked to prevent animal cruelty in many forms—and 2018 was no different.

These are some of the ways ASPCA advanced its mission in 2018.

Reversing Bans on “Bully Breeds”

The Springfield, Missouri city council passed a law in 2017 that banned residents from bringing new pit bulls into their homes. To help reverse the legislation, the ASPCA assisted the locally based Citizens Against Breed-Specific Legislation in educating area residents about the dangers of breed-specific legislation. On Election Day 2018, residents overwhelmingly voted to repeal the law by a margin of 68% to 32%.

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Shortly afterward, a 30-year ban on the ownership of pit bulls and pit bull mixes was repealed in Yakima, Washington. In the fall, Yakima residents were finally able to bring pit bulls into the city legally.

Taking a Stance Against Puppy Mills

When puppy mill industry proponents pushed for special protections in Georgia and Florida that would have stripped local governments of their ability to regulate the sale of cruelly bred dogs, the ASPCA started campaigns to block their efforts. In both instances, the group was successful. In March, amendments were withdrawn from consideration in Florida that would have linked pro—puppy-mill agenda with unrelated bills about the state’s tax and agriculture moving through the legislature. In April, the Georgia Senate rejected repeated attempts by the puppy mill industry to attach its harmful language to bills related to housing and veterinary medicine.

Other related victories against puppy mills included a new law signed by Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland banning the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores statewide. The ASPCA worked with state legislators, rescue groups, and pet stores to ensure that the law encouraged pet stores to partner with rescues to adopt out homeless animals.

The New York State Legislature passed a bill that made it illegal to lease dogs and cats. This move made New York the third state in the nation, along with California and Nevada, to ban the deceptive financing schemes.

Ending Animal Cruelty

With the help of the ASPCA, the Indiana State Legislature recognized the link between domestic violence and animal abuse and passed a law permitting Child Protective Service and Adult Protective Service workers to report suspected animal abuse. According to the ASPCA, this opens the door for greater abuse intervention and enabling more animals get the help they need.

Lastly, on Election Day in November, Florida voters passed Amendment 13 to end greyhound racing in the state by December 31, 2020. The ASPCA was one of many organizations working for this victory, as there are still 17 dog tracks operating in the United States, 11 of which are in Florida. Passing the amendment ensures that thousands of dogs will no longer be forced to race and can be adopted.

View a complete list of ASPCA-related legislative victories on the society’s website.