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House OKs animal bills

By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER – Managing editor
Humane Society said this week they were pleased that Alabama's House of Representatives passed the Hog/Dog and Spay/Neuter bills Thursday. The bills now go to the Senate for a vote.
Officials with the Humane Society are hoping to have the Spay/Neuter bill before the Senate Committee in the next two weeks. After a three hour filibuster on Tuesday the House did not get to either the Hog/Dog or Spay/Neuter bills that were on the special order calendar.
Under existing law animals sold by public and private animal shelters are not required to be sterilized. The bill will require the sterilization of all dogs and cats sold or otherwise exchanged by public or private animal shelters, animal control agencies or a humane society.
Jama L. Singley, an animal cruelty investigator for the Lee County Humane Society, said that the bill will also provide penalties for failure to comply with the sterilization requirement. Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901 prohibits a general law whose purpose or effect would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds from becoming effective with regard to a local governmental entity without enactment by a 2/3 vote unless; it comes within one of a number of specified exceptions; it is approved by the affected entity; or the Legislature appropriates funds, or provides a local source of revenue, to the entity for the purpose.
The purpose or effect of the bill would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of Amendment 621. However, the bill falls within one of the exceptions defining a new crime. It would require all animal organizations (shelters and rescue groups) who adopt animals to either spay or neuter before adoption or contract with the new owner to spay or neuter within a specified time frame.
According to Renee Jones, director of the Escambia County Humane Society, they are already in compliance. However, Jones said that there are other places within the state that don't spay or neuter.
According to lobbyist Jeff Martin, the Dangerous Dog bill was passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. It was introduced by Rep. Bill Morrow. The bill would require a bittering agent to be in all Antifreeze. The bill was assigned to the House Committee on State government.