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Eye On Olympia

Posts tagged: dogs

And the award for needlessly panicking pet owners across the state goes to…

Whoever wrote this summary of Senate bill 5870. It summarizes the bill like this:

Declares it is the duty of the sheriff or any deputy
sheriff to kill any dog found running at large (after the first
day of August of any year and before the first day of March in
the following year) without a metal identification tag.
(Note: Someone apparently read this post, because it’s now been corrected. But here’s what the original version looked like.)

A free-fire zone on all unlicensed Fidos? Holy cow! Who would dare propose such a thing?

NO ONE.

Weirdly, the bill digest above isn’t even for SB 5870. It’s a mischaracterization of a completely different dog bill, SB 5200.

The provision listed above has been in Washington’s lawbooks for nearly a century. Lawmakers want to REPEAL the antiquated law. Here’s the bill report for SB 5200 and here’s the complete bill itself. And if there’s any remaining doubt about the purpose of the bill, here’s recent testimony by its prime sponsor, Sen. Dale Brandland, R-Bellingham:

“You run across pieces of the law periodically, and you actually say to yourself, `I can’t believe this is still on the books.’ There should be no question about doing away with this section. It is clearly not something that the Legislature would authorize today.”

So no one’s gunning for Fluffy, despite the outraged blog posts out there. (Sample: “What if his collar comes off? Law enforcement will now be able to use him for target practice. It’s sick!”) We’ve started getting calls about the bill at our Spokane newsroom.

All of which brings me back to the original bill. What is SB 5870, really? It’s another cleanup bill, repealing an old section of law regarding pets killing livestock. From the bill report:

The requirement that a dog owner kill his or her dog within 48 hours of
receiving notification that the dog was found killing a domestic animal is repealed.

Again: repealed. But given  the astounding resilience of Senate bill 6900, a dead-on-arrival car-tax proposal last year that’s still trumpeted regularly on Internet sites as an imminent threat to red-blooded V-8 lovers everywhere, it’s probably safe to say that lawmakers will be getting email from outraged dog owners for months to come.

Senate bills takes aim at inhumane conditions in “puppy mills”…

Declaring that dogs “are neither a commercial crop nor commodity,” several senators are proposing legislation to require humane practices in commercial dog breeding.

“Without proper oversight, puppy mills can easily fall below even the most basic standards of humane housing and husbandry,” says Senate Bill 5651, prime sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles.

No state agency regulates the operations, Kohl-Welles says, and abuses can lead to unnecessary suffering and an expensive problem — abandoned or neglected dogs — for local authorities.

The bill would ban people from having more than 25 dogs, unless they’ve been neutered or spayed or are under the age of four months.

For anyone with 11 or more such dogs, the bill spells out how much space the dogs should get, and how much exercise and how often (no treadmills. Seriously.). It requires adequate ventilation, a working smoke alarm and fire suppression and lighting, Temperatures would have to be kept between 50 and 85 degrees

It requires annual veterinary exams, details the size and construction of kennels and runs, and limits female dogs to one litter a year. There are exemptions for animal shelters, researchers and other facilities. 

The bill’s been referred to the Senate labor committee.

Funeral homes, cemeteries unenthusiastic about Jacobsen’s buried-with-your-pets proposal…

From tomorrow’s paper:

On Monday, while many people had a day off, state Sen. Ken Jacobsen was facing a state Senate committee, trying to convince his fellow lawmakers to let people be buried with their pets.

He’s absolutely serious. The idea to him a couple of years ago, when his beloved, 23-pound cat Sam died from cancer.

“I asked the kids to bury him in the back yard and I told them that when I’m ready to go, I’d like to take Sam with me,” said Jacobsen, 63. “Because he really was one of my best friends.”

The buried-with-your-pet proposal is one of 46 so far this year from Jacobsen, a Seattle Democrat who tends to be the legislature’s most prolific filer of bills. Barely a week into this year’s legislative session, Jacobsen has proposed an airline passenger’s bill of rights, allowing pet dogs in bars, designating a state oak tree, and giving tax breaks to taverns that install on-site breathalyzers.

Last year, he lobbied unsuccessfully to restore a centuries-old tradition of outfitting the state poet — yes, there is one — with a large barrel of wine. This year, he wants to hire a state bird-watching expert, and to declare the marmot Washington’s official “endemic mammal.”

Jacobsen says his proposals may be quirky, but that they’re not frivolous. If a good idea strikes him, he says, it’s his job as an elected official to throw it into the mix.

“It’s that theory of chaos,” he said. “You put things on the table and you never know what the interactions are going to be.” And he welcomes ideas, holding court regularly with constituents at a local Burgermaster.

Sometimes, Jacobsen said, what sound like wacky ideas are actually trendsetters. In the mid-80s, for example, he was mocked for championing state labeling of organic food.

“When I started the first time, I was treated like I was talking about kinky sex,” he said.

The bill that’s raised the most eyebrows this year…

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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