Man’s best friend faces legislation

Billie Jean, a bull-terrier, accompanies her master to the 11th annual Humane Day at the Capital building. Billie Jean was rescued in San Diego.

Billie Jean, a bull-terrier, accompanies her master to the 11th annual Humane Day at the Capital building. Billie Jean was rescued in San Diego.

Karena Wells

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -Missouri’s four-legged constituents were present at the Capital April 13, for the 11th annual Humane Day at the Capital. Representatives from non-profit humane organizations throughout the state came to raise support for their cause as well as lobby against House Bill 1176, sponsored by Rep. Jim Guest (R-King City).

If passed, the bill would prevent anyone from entering an animal facility with the intent to damage, duplicate or obtain unauthorized possession of records, images, equipment or animals.

The bill classifies an animal facility as any place where animals habitat.

“Right now, if you are driving down the road and you see in the nearby field a hurt animal you cannot take a photo of it,” said Debbie Hill, director of operations for the Humane Society of Missouri. “The pictures could be used as probable cause in an animal endangerment case. This bill was created to prevent bio-terrorism in food sources. Cats and dogs have no place in the food chain.”

Cattle are in the food chain, and she said if it were a situation where the cattle were starving, then it would be a situation where they would need to intervene.

When there is neglect of animals by commercial breeders, she said it was important to have visible proof of the neglect that was present.

“Some of these commercial breeders do not provide the basics like food, shelter, health care and cleanliness,” Hill said. “They see these animals as a produce, like corn, they only see a profit.”

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” said Kandee Schrader, public relations director for the Carthage Humane Society. “Without pictures, it is difficult to show how badly the animal was effected. They don’t see it before treatment.”

Senate Bill 1176 is currently on the informal calendar.