Important spay and neuter assistance bills were recently introduced in the Washington legislature - and your support can help these bills become life-changing laws.
SB 5202 and HB 1229 would provide financial assistance for spay and neuter surgeries, potentially significantly reducing the cost of animal care. These bills would also significantly reduce the number of dogs and cats who are euthanized every year in Washington State shelters.
Currently, 60-70,000 healthy pets are euthanized every year in Washington shelters. These bills could save the lives of tens of thousands of Washington cats and dogs.
The hearing for SB 5202 is scheduled for Tuesday, February 5, at 10:00 a.m., before the Senate Agriculture Committee. The hearing will be held in Senate Hearing Room 3 in the John A. Cherberg Building at the Capitol.
The hearing for HB 1229 is scheduled for Wednesday, February 6, at 8:00 a.m., before the House Agriculture Committee. The hearing will be held in House Hearing Room B in the John L. O'Brien Building at the Capitol.
Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation has taken a lead role in preparing and advocating for passage of the Spay and Neuter Assistance Bill (SB 5202/HB 1229) and two bills addressing animal cruelty (SB 5204/HB 1202 and SB 5203/HB 1201).
Rick Hall, President of the Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation, discussed these important bills.
"This is one of the most significant pieces of animal welfare legislation that has ever been before our state legislature," Hall stated.
"These bills are important to Save Washington Pets because our goal is to see that spay and neuter assistance legislation is enacted for the benefit it brings to our state.
"It not only would save tens of thousands of companion animals' lives, but would help low-income pet owners spay or neuter their dogs and cats at a very affordable price, or for free. The cost of spay/neuter surgery, without such support, is a burden that many low-income pet owners can't overcome.
"And remember that low-income owners are very often Good Samaritans. They're people who have taken in abandoned or lost animals and are just trying to give them a loving home.
"The benefits go farther though. By increasing the numbers of animals that are spayed or neutered, we'll obviously reduce the numbers of homeless or unwanted animals born each year - animals that otherwise would place a financial burden on our cities and counties who run animal control agencies and shelters.
It's important to attend these hearings if possible.
"Attending helps legislators know how important these bills are to the people they represent," Hall stated.
"Anyone who attends the hearings may have a chance to testify. If a person doesn’t want to testify, even signing in and indicating that you're in favor of the bill passing is a very good thing to do.
If a person cannot attend the hearing, we suggest that he or she contact the legislators representing their district. Let those legislators know that HB 1229 and SB 5202 should be passed! We have guidance on our website, savewashingtonpets.org, about how to do that."
If you Cannot Attend the Hearings
1. Identify your district and your senator/representatives, then call and/or email them to let them know you support these bills (mention both bills by number as SB 5202/HB 1229). Helpful Hint: to avoid forms, use the legislator email directory.
2. If your senator or representatives are on the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee or the Senate Agriculture, Water & Rural Economic Development Committee it is especially important that you submit a letter/email or come to the hearing (where that legislator is a member) to testify.
Questions? Contact Save Washington Pets at email@example.com.
Your support could help ensure the passage of these bills that will advance and preserve the humane treatment of animals.
For more information from the Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation/Save Washington Pets, visit their website at www.savewashingtonpets.org.
Save Washington Pets is a registered trade name of Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation, a 504(c)(4) organization.
"Like" this column to help share it with others!
If you would like to continue to receive important information, features, and news related to pets in Seattle and beyond, please click the "Subscribe" icon located at the top of this column. It's free, convenient, and anonymous!
You can also find Seattle Pets on Facebook!