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< Consider the Gauntlet Thrown | Main | Transportation Day >

Dog Days

Posted at 10:57 AM on February 20, 2008 by Michael Marchio (5 Comments)

Already by yesterday, the House subcommittee on Crime and Justice had practically created a pet Omnibus bill. They heard three bills, regarding the regulation of dangerous dogs, creating a licensing system for dog breeders, and a bill about animal fighting.

The one regulating dangerous dogs, HF2906, would give animal control authorities more power to hold the owners of dangerous dogs accountable.

Bill Forbes, with the Minnesota Animal Control Association, had this to say about it.

Currently we have a law that doesn't really do a lot to the [owner of] dangerous dogs, its the dog itself that generally pays
the maximum penalty. The [owner of] dangerous dogs goes out and gets another dogs after his dog is ordered destroyed and starts with a clean slate, which is not the issue.

He said that owners of dangerous dogs are primarily men, and the dogs are usually not trained or socialized properly and are often chained up outside, which he said causes the dogs to be aggressive.

A "dangerous dog" is defined as one that has a reported history of attacking people or other animals. Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul) offered an amendment that would have banned certain breeds of dog, such as Rottweiler’s, Pit Bulls and wolf hybrids, but it was not adopted into the bill.

The licensing plan, HF2469, sponsored by Rep. Frank Hornstein, would require breeders to register their operations with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. Some puppy mills have drawn attention for inhumane conditions. One person speaking in support of the bills said that he read an advertisement for a puppy in the newspaper, bought it from the breeders and then found out that it had contracted a neurological disease because it hadn’t been given its shots. The law would require breeders to be inspected before they could earn a license and maintain certain standards of care for the animals. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Delano) said that this might be an unconstitutional invasion of breeders’ privacy rights, and Rep. Paul Kohls (R-Victoria) worried that the Minnesota Board of Animal Health is already going to be strapped for the funding to do test cattle across the state, with the bovine TB case , and that that should be a higher priority for the state than inspecting puppy breeders.

The animal fighting bill, HF3132, changes the penalty for possession of training equipment or steroids for fighting animals, and buying a ticket for or even attending an animal fight from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Keith Streff, the senior investigator for the Golden Valley Animal Humane Society, spoke in support of the bill, and said that increasing the penalty for attending a dogfight would undercut the economics of dog fighting rings, and deter people from participating.

"It's like a football game," he said. "If you can't sell a ticket, it’s hard to play the game."

All three bills passed committee. Robert Byrd would be proud.

Comments (5)

Apropos of nothing, Virginia's state legislature has a tradition that when a member introduces a bill of purely local import, called a "dog bill," his or her colleagues will bark, growl and yip like dogs.

Go Carriers! (woof)

Posted by Doug Gray | February 20, 2008 11:42 AM

Rep. Leesch is a mind numbing do we vote these type of people into office, arent they suppossed to portray the peoples wants and needs not just their own?

Posted by JJ | February 21, 2008 11:42 AM

Hooray for Senator Robert Byrd! (his passion is evident)

Boo for our local rep Paul Kohls! Some things--like the safety and well-being of living beings--just shouldn't be "prioritized" out because of lack of funding and/or funding being allocated elsewhere. A challenge, yes. A reason to bail out, no.

Posted by Cari L. | February 21, 2008 3:18 PM

Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul) is an idiot. He does not even know that there is no such breed called pit bull. It is a collection of dogs like boxers and such. If you pass a bill or write a bill you should know the specifics about it. What kind of retards do we have in politics?

Posted by jay | February 26, 2008 11:44 AM

Mr. Streff is a lazy, conficted felon drug addict, and his bed fellow Rep. John Lesch is a bumbling idiot!
Both need a good slap to the head!

Posted by Guess | April 16, 2008 2:18 AM