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HB 159 EXPAND CRUELTY TO ANIMALS – Senate Conservation Letter

February 22, 2009

Following is our recommended letter to the New Mexico Senate Conservation Committee regarding the subject bill. You are welcome to copy and paste and customize it for your own email or use it for talking points when calling the Senators. Don’t forget to contact your own Senator. You can locate your Senator at http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/legislatorsearch.aspx

Senate Conservation Committee Contact Information:
Senator Bernadette M. Sanchez : Chair : senb26@yahoo.com : 505-986-4267
Senator David Ulibarri : Vice Chair : david.ulibarri@nmlegis.gov : 505-986-4265
Senator Stephen H. Fischmann : Member : steve@stevefischmann.com : 505-986-4377
Senator Phil A. Griego : Member : senatorgriego@yahoo.com : 505-986-4861
Senator Clinton D. Harden : Member : charden@theosogroup.com : 505-986-4369
Senator Richard C. Martinez : Member : richard.martinez@nmlegis.gov : 505-986-4389
Senator John C. Ryan : Member : johnchrisryan@yahoo.com : 505-986-4373
Senator William E. Sharer : Ranking Member : bill@williamsharer.com : 505-986-4381

SUBJECT: HB 159 EXPAND CRUELTY TO ANIMALS – CONDITIONAL SUPPORT
EMAIL TO: senb26@yahoo.com, david.ulibarri@nmlegis.gov, steve@stevefischmann.com, senatorgriego@yahoo.com, charden@theosogroup.com, richard.martinez@nmlegis.gov, johnchrisryan@yahoo.com, bill@williamsharer.com

Dear Chairman and Members of the New Mexico Senate Conservation Committee,

Many thanks for your service to our state!

I am writing because I am concerned about HB 159 Expand Cruelty To Animals, introduced by Representative Park. I agree with Concerned New Mexico Animal Owners (CNMAO) position on the bill and express conditional support. I agree with much regarding the increased penalties and expansion of what is defined as cruelty to animals. However, I ask that the legislature address three issues. It doesn’t provide clear protections related to commonly accepted animal activities associated with husbandry, training, competition, hunting, working, herding, guardianship, predator control and vermin control. It also doesn’t provide protections to veterinarians in association with husbandry practices. Finally, the bill increases punitive measures for abandonment but fails to address destigmatizing voluntary relinquishment and fails to encourage assistance and education to prevent abandonment and animal cruelty.

Following are amendments I respectfully recommend for HB 159:

(H)The provisions of this section do not apply to:
(2) the practice of veterinary medicine, as provided in Chapter 61, Article 14 NMSA 1978, when the practice is in accordance with commonly accepted husbandry or veterinary practices. The board of veterinary medicine already has the authority to determine what is a commonly accepted veterinary practice and mention in this bill is unnecessary.
(7) other commonly accepted activities not otherwise prohibited by law including, but not limited to, husbandry, training and competition associated with use of animals in performance and working events or in activities including, but not limited to, hunting, working, herding guardianship, predator control and vermin control.

Also, it is recommended that the Animal Sheltering Services Board be directed to enact rule-making that assists in destigmatizing voluntary relinquishment and encouraging assistance and education to prevent abandonment through HB 593 or other appropriate means.

It is my understanding the following additional organizations are in support of the changes associated with protections related to commonly accepted animal activities: American Saluki Association, Coursing Conservancy (NM), New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides, New Mexico Houndsmen’s Association, New Mexico Toy Group, Rio Grande Kennel Club, Saluki Club of America, Southwest Coursing Club (NM), United States Sportsmen’s Alliance and Valencia Valley Kennel Club of New Mexico, Inc.

For more information, CNMAO’s current position on all 48 animal interest bills of the 2009 New Mexico Legislative Session can be found in the NM Legislative Updates category of the CNMAO blog (https://cnmao.wordpress.com).

Best regards,
YOUR NAME
YOUR TOWN

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