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HB 159 EXPAND CRUELTY TO ANIMALS – Senator Harden Letter

March 11, 2009

Following is our recommended thank you letter to Senator Clinton Harden 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 Senator.

Contact Information:
Senator Clinton D. Harden : Member : charden@theosogroup.com : 505-986-4369

SUBJECT: HB 159 EXPAND CRUELTY TO ANIMALS – OPPOSE UNTIL AMENDED
EMAIL TO: charden@theosogroup.com

Dear Senator Harden,

Many thanks for your service to our state!

I am writing to extend my thanks for the consideration you are giving to amending HB 159 Expand Cruelty To Animals, introduced by Representative Park. Much in the bill is positive regarding the increased penalties and expansion of what is defined as cruelty to animals. However, I agree that there is a need for the legislature to address the issue of providing a framework for statewide interpretation of the exemption for “other commonly accepted activities not otherwise prohibited by law,” section H.(7). As worded, that exemption could easily result in inconsistent and overly constraining or broad interpretation throughout the state. Contrary to Special Counsel Suttle’s position, I do NOT believe this is an issue that should be left for the courts to have complete latitude to decide.

The state does have some problems with animal cruelty, but generally has a rich legacy of responsible animal use, some of which could be jeopardized by such nebulous language. I find Special Counsel Suttle’s position on section H.(7) to be inconsistent considering the “need” to define sustenance as food, water and shelter in section A.(6) and ignoring the other needs of animals (e.g., adequate space, exercise). And, the “need” to provide specific language regarding penalties for causing injury to an animal left in a car in section B.(5), which is actually an inadequate sustenance issue (i.e., inadequate shelter).

Consistent with CNMAO’s request, following is the amendment I respectfully request that you introduce in the Senate Judiciary Committee for HB 159:

(H)The provisions of this section do not apply to:
(7) other commonly accepted activities not otherwise prohibited by law including husbandry, training and competition associated with use of animals in performance and working events or in activities including hunting, working, herding, guardianship, predator control and vermin control.

As I understand it, the specific items stated are NOT limiting language. When legislation states “including …” it is intended as examples (i.e. a framework) and not restricted exclusively to those activities.

It is my understanding the following additional organizations are in support of the above amendment: American Saluki Association, Coursing Conservancy (NM), National Animal Interest Alliance, 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.

Best regards,
YOUR NAME
YOUR TOWN

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