The Minnesota State Capitol rotunda echoed today with the rally cry of, “Breeder bill: pass it now,” as advocates convened to raise their voices in support of bills to regulate commercial dog and cat breeders.
According to Speak Up for Minnesota Dogs and Cats, the sponsor of today’s rally, SF 36 and HF 84 would regulate the dog and cat breeding industry in Minnesota by requiring commercial breeders to be licensed, giving the Minnesota Board of Animal Health the authority to inspect dog and cat breeding facilities and enforce existing State laws to ensure animal care standards are met. Additionally, the bills would impose civil, administrative, and criminal penalties for violators of the laws.
Governor Mark Dayton addressed the crowd, calling animal cruelty “unMinnesotan” and expressing gratefulness for his own Shepherds, who greet him with wagging tails after long days at the Capitol. He pledged to support the measure however he could.
Also speaking were House and Senate authors, Representative John Lesch (DFL-66B) and Senator John Marty (DFL-66). Representative Lesch recalled the 2007 passage of legislation awarding a grant to the city of St. Paul to create the St. Paul Blueprint for Safety. The Blueprint teaches officers how to identify dangerous domestic violence situations, and includes four questions officers should ask victims. One of those questions is, “Have you ever known the suspect to harm animals?” Representative Lesch pointed to this question and the link between animal abuse and human abuse as a “depravity of mind we fail to watch only at our own peril.”
Senator Marty echoed Governor Dayton’s statements about the benefit of having unconditional love from animals, giving thanks for the wagging tails of his own two shelter dogs.
Several members of the Speak Up for Minnesota Dogs and Cats coalition spoke in support of the bills, including Nancy Minion of Second Chance Animal Rescue, Ann Olson of Animal Folks Minnesota, Janelle Dixon of the Animal Humane Society, and others. HF 84 passed through the House Civil Law Committee on February 13, 2013 and will be considered by the House Public Safety and Finance Policy Committee on Thursday, February 21.
For more information, go to www.animalfolksmn.org.