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February 18, 2010 / V A Nichols

Action Alert!

SB 413 / HB 561

Hello everyone-
There is a big problem in the Alabama legislature- that is, if you care about animals.
Today, SB413 passed Senate Government Affairs Committee.

This bill prevents anyone-including law enforcement officers- from applying existing anti cruelty laws to any animal that is considered livestock.  It puts the entire scope of law with the State Veterinarian, and the Department of Agriculture.

So, for example, if a horse is cruelty neglected or abused, your local Sheriff would not be able to do anything about it. This bill CONSIDERABLY weakens an already not very strong law, and basically puts the fox in charge of the henhouse.

What’s really interesting is that the Investigations unit of the Department of Agriculture sent a letter to all Alabama Sheriffs in 2008, telling them that the Agriculture investigators would no longer be responding to animal cruelty complaints- that it is up to local law enforcement to do the job.

From: Peterson, Venus <Venus.Peterson@agi.alabama.gov>
Date: Tue, Oct 14, 2008 at 8:26 AM
Subject: RE: Horse neglect cases in need of investigation
To: Jama Singley jama@leecountyhumane.org>
Jama

We have recent sent a letter to all Alabama Sheriff’s Offices that they should handle animal cruelty cases before calling this office.

Venus A. Peterson
Ala Dept of Ag & Ind
Ag Investigations
P.O. Box 3336
Montgomery, AL 36109
Phone  334/240-7208

Fax  334/240-7265

Fax  334/240-3813

Toll Free  800/642-7761

Email  venus.peterson@agi.alabama.gov

TODAY, I received information that the agriculture investigators don’t even know anything about this bill.   So, WHO exactly is responsible for investigating complaints of, say, horse abuse???? Well, if this bill passes, the authority responsible for this is the same one that told the Alabama Sheriffs that it would be up to local law enforcement.

I am all for being reasonable, polite, saying please and thank you, especially when dealing with legislators. But, folks, the time is now to be firm.  This bill cannot be allowed to pass the House Agriculture committee.

The House version is HB 561. The contact info for the House Agriculture Committee Members is:
Thomas Jackson- Choctaw, Clarke, Marengo, Conecuh, Monroe Counties 334-242-7738
Steve Hurst Calhoun, Talladega Counties 334-353-9215
Mike Hubbard-Lee County 334-242-7739
Robert Bentley-Tuscaloosa 334-242-7691
Spencer Collier- Mobile County 334-242-7719
Randy Davis- Baldwin, Mobile Counties 334-242-7724
Chad Fincher –Mobile County – 334-232-7778
Alan Harper Pickens, Tuscaloosa Counties 334-242-7732
Earl Hilliard-Jefferson County 334-242-7684
Ralph Howard-Hale, Perry, Bibb, Marengo Counties 334-232-7759
Jamie Ison-Mobile 334-242-7711
Benjamin Lewis –Houston County 334-242-7756
A.J. McCampbell  -Green, Sumter, Marengo, Tuscaloosa Counties 334-242-7747
Henry White  -Limestone County 334-242-7712
Phil Williams –Madison County 334-242-7600

The message is simple- if your representative is on this committee; tell them to kill HB 561. Be polite, but firm. Tell whoever answers the phone that you live in the legislator’s district and that you do not want this bill to pass. If we fail to move on this, we are failing living, breathing creatures that depend on us to alleviate suffering.
Alabama has simply got to lose the reputation that this is a terrible state for animals and the people who care about them.  PLEASE SEND THE MESSAGE FAR AND WIDE.
And, yes, my blood pressure is up

Thanks for taking time to read and act on this e mail. If you prefer not to receive any emails in the future, please contact me privately.

Regards,

Mindy Gilbert
Alabama State Director
mgilbert@humanesociety.org
t
205-471-5541
The Humane Society of the United States

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