Hawaii legislators are seeking changes to a proposed animal cruelty bill in an effort to prohibit the sale of unsterilized dogs and cats. The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) is urging the public to promptly speak out against the amendment, which it calls a “perversion” of the original bill.
As amended, House Bill 243 would prohibit a pet retailer from selling an unsterilized dog or cat. The purpose of this measure is to “mitigate the suffering of the feral cat and stray dog population,” according to the bill. It would take effect Jan. 1, 2012.
The original version of HB 243 provided that the killing, or attempted killing, of an animal of another person without that person’s consent would constitute animal cruelty in the first degree.
PIJAC issued an industry alert today in which the Washington, D.C.-based organization claimed the amended version of HB 243 establishes an unprecedented restriction on pet owners.
“There are various reasons why some pet owners prefer to obtain intact animals, and the decision to spay or neuter a pet is now made by the pet owner in consultation with his or her licensed veterinarian,” PIJAC stated in the alert. “Amended HB 243 would inappropriately deprive pet owners of this prerogative by substituting the state’s judgment in lieu of the veterinarian’s professional judgment and imposing a one-size-fits-all standard.”
PIJAC is calling on Hawaii residents to contact state House members and ask them to reject the bill as amended. PIJAC recommend the following talking points:
• The amended version of HB 243 is completely different from the original bill;
• Spay-neuter should be encouraged, not mandated;
• There are legitimate reasons why responsible pet owners choose to acquire intact animals;
• Negative health consequences can arise from early sterilization; and
• The decision to spay or neuter a pet should be made on a case-by-case basis by a pet owners and his or her veterinarian.
To view HB 243, click here.