If this bill passes, it will be the best law ever. Or one of them, at any rate
According to published reports, the New York lawmakers are currently mulling proposed rules that would make it illegal to declaw cats there. If it passes, New York would be the first state to ban the activity.
It’s not a slam dunk…
Unfortunately, passage of the bill is not guaranteed. For some reason that defies belief state legislators haven’t supported the measure in the past.
And now, a group classified as New York’s “largest veterinary association” is opposing it. This group reportedly claims that declawing should still be made available as a last resort when cats “won’t stop scratching furniture or people.”
With all due respect, I think that’s a bunch of (expletive deleted). There are plenty of ways to teach cats not to scratch without removing their claws.
And quite frankly, there are worse things a cat can do than scratching.
Trust me, I had two cats before Eli. They were both females, and they both were known to scratch from time to time. Eli bites when he’s mad. And it hurts. So it’s a good thing I love him unconditionally.
But there is hope
But back to the issue at hand. Declawing is cruel. Those who oppose the practice say it requires painful surgery that can do permanent damage. It also deprives a cat of the tools it needs in order to hunt, climb and defend itself.
The good news is that the New York measure is finally gaining some traction. Veterinarians in favor of the ban reportedly lobbied for it in Albany. The bill’s sponsor also says “more lawmakers are signing on.”
Although there is no precedence for a statewide ban, the practice is prohibited in some California cities. It has also been disallowed in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe.
What do you think. Should declawing be banned? Share your opinion in the comment section below.
Pestering or harassing service animals could soon be illegal in Connecticut.
According to published reports, people who rely on service animals to help them engage in the daily activities most of us take for granted have pushed for the legislation now being considered by Connecticut lawmakers.
Unfortunately, Bristol resident Christine Elkins recently shared with some Connecticut legislators and the media, many people just don’t respect boundaries when it comes to interacting with service animals and their handlers. Requests to refrain from approaching or petting the animals usually go unheeded, she says. Some people are ignorant… and others are rude, Elkins adds.
For Elkins, it is no laughing matter. As the Associated Press reports, she has “balance and mobility problems.” In her case, the potential ramifications of a fall caused by someone distracting her service dog are frightening.
The current Connecticut law
Current Connecticut law only prohibits other dog owners from allowing their dogs to interact with service animals. Section 22-364b, Control of dogs in proximity to guide dogs, stipulates:
“The owner or keeper of a dog shall restrain and control such dog on a leash when such dog is not on the property of its owner or keeper and is in proximity to a blind, deaf or mobility impaired person accompanied by his guide dog, provided the guide dog is in the direct custody of such blind, deaf or mobility impaired person, is wearing a harness or an orange-colored leash and collar which makes it readily-identifiable as a guide dog and is licensed in accordance with section 22-345.”
A violation of section 22-364b is an infraction. However, the law also stipulates that an owner whose failure to control their dog results in an attack on and injury to the guide dog is liable for “any damage done to such guide dog…” Specifically, the owner is liable for:
Vet bills (for treatment and “rehabilitation)
The cost of a new guide dog, if necessary
“Reasonable” attorney’s fees
Under the proposed law, any person who deliberately interferes with a service animal would be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor. The maximum punishment would be three months in prison.
Bill does not prohibit ‘friendly’ interactions
In response to concerns raised by some of their colleagues, Connecticut lawmakers recently changed language in the bill to reflect that it is “only targeting any person who “intentionally interferes” with the service animal’s duties.”
The bill is currently pending review by the House of Representatives.
For information about existing laws in other states, click here.
Last week I urged you not to leave your pets — or your kids alone in the car this summer.
But I didn’t tell you what you should do if you see an unsupervised child or animal in a hot car.
To be honest, there are a couple of reasons for that. First, and most importantly, I don’t want anything I write to be construed as legal advice. For one thing, I am not a lawyer so I am not qualified to dispense it. As a paralegal I can’t dispense it. And aside from all that, we live in an extremely litigious society and I would really rather not get sued.
If I could tell you what to do, here’s what I’d say. “It depends.”
It’s The Law… In Ohio
In Ohio, citizens will soon be able to take immediate action in order to “rescue” an unsupervised child or animal from a hot car. Specifically, the new law that reportedly takes effect later this summer allows a civilian to break into a vehicle in order to free a companion animal or child without fear of reprisal — but only in very specific and very limited circumstances.
The language in Ohio SB215 regarding the removal of a child and the removal of an animal is similar. So for brevity’s sake I’ll share the information regarding pets.
The new law recently inked by Ohio Gov. John Kasich stipulates that a vehicle owner can not sue someone who breaks into their car to remove an animal for damages if the person who does so:
has checked to see if the door is locked before forcing his or her way into the vehicle
has reason to believe the animal is in grave and immediate danger
has made a legitimate effort to alert authorities before breaking into the car or alerts them as soon as possible afterwards
has made a legitimate effort to inform the vehicle owner of what has transpired in writing after forcing his or her way into the car
has stayed with the animal in a “safe location” until authorities arrived
and has not used unnecessary force to break into the vehicle
Anyone who uses excessive force or tries to aid the animal in a manner not specified by the law automatically loses the protection otherwise afforded by it.
As of last year, laws in other states, such as Arizona and California allow certain authorities to use “reasonable” force to remove or rescue animals from motor vehicles. Similar provisions were in place in the following states in 2015:
The New York law also prevents qualified individuals from being sued. In Tennessee, anyone who acts within the scope of the law is also protected.
For more information on the applicable laws in your state, visit your state legislature’s website.
Not too long ago, it seemed sports fans in the Tri-State Area couldn’t watch a game or tune in to their favorite radio talk shows without being barraged by ads urging them to participate in daily fantasy sports contests.
But, as so often happens when any activity attracts an immense following, government officials began to take notice. Much debate ensued about the legitimacy of the contests — and whether winning them requires luck or skill. A whole bunch of proverbial poop really hit the fan back in November, when New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said participation in the contests is tantamount to illegal gambling in the state.
While Schneiderman’s stance — aimed at preventing the companies that run the contests from doing business with state residents — set the stage for a legal showdown, lawmakers in a neighboring state are considering a different approach. Specifically, a bill currently making its way through Connecticut’s legislative process would “protect consumers who play daily fantasy sports contests from unfair or deceptive acts or practices.”
Not a chance
Among other things, the bill includes definitions of a “daily fantasy sports contest,” and a “contest of chance.” It also charges the Commissioner of Consumer Protection with adopting rules that:
Stipulate that daily fantasy sports contests are not “contests of chance”
Set the minimum age for participants at 21
Include measures to protect consumer deposits
Ensure “truthful advertising” regarding the activity
Guarantee “the integrity of all daily fantasy sports contests offered in this state”
Include safeguards for “problem gamblers”
At a public hearing of the General Law Committee held earlier this month, several speakers voiced concerns and suggested changes to the initial language.
One of them, Chris Grimm, testified on behalf of two well-known fantasy sports companies and the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He began by pointing out that more than 50 million Americans have played fantasy sports for more than three decades, making the activity “our new national past time [sic].”
Whether they play in the traditional season-long format or the newer daily or weekly format, participants put their skills to the test, Grimm stressed.
“It is not enough to know the most popular teams and their most recognizable stars,” Grimm said. “Fantasy players need to understand scoring systems, the particular strengths of different players, the type of offensive schemes that they play in and the quality of their matchups [sic].”
Sarah Koch, the assistant director of government affairs at Draft Kings, also spoke in favor of the bill, but suggested some changes including:
Writing certain protections into the law itself
Insertion of language that “ensures fantasy sports competitions are based solely on statistics and not on outcome or finishing position” to avoid inadvertently “opening the door to sports betting”
Removing the word “daily” from the definition of fantasy sports in the bill to “provide legal clarity for all fantasy sports encompassed by the definition”
Clarification of the legal status of fantasy contests by inserting language indicating it does not “constitute gambling under the applicable penal code”
Dropping the age restriction from 21 to 18
Tamara Petro, the executive director of the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, also addressed the committee.
“This bill largely represents preparedness for a substantial expansion if CT [sic] legalizes daily fantasy sports, which is a very lucrative, multi-billion dollar business,” she said. “We propose that the new era of gambling in CT [sic] necessitates a sustainable framework for Responsible Gambling [sic] and consumer protections, and that the State [sic] has a responsibility to provide this while looking to expanded gambling for revenue.”
With temperatures soaring into the 70s in the New York metropolitan area this week, it’s beginning to feel a lot like springtime around here. And you know what that means.
We’re going to lose an hour of sleep but gain an hour of daylight (allegedly). The flowers will bloom, the grass will grow and some of us will get wicked allergies. As if all of that isn’t annoying enough, we’ll be forced to share the roads with bicyclists, joggers, people on roller blades and maybe even people on hover boards. Oh, joy!
But let’s focus on the bicyclists for now. Yes, those weekend warriors who ride in packs and hog the roads, effectively turning them into treacherous slalom courses for motorists. Honestly, is there anything more aggravating than getting stuck behind a bunch of bicyclists on a Saturday afternoon?
That’s a rhetorical question — but that’s not to say there isn’t another side to the story.
Going to bat for the bicyclists
According to a recent Hartford Courant report, Connecticut groups that support cyclists want stiffer fines for drivers who don’t play by the rules. Specifically, they have asked state lawmakers to approve a new measure that would level harsher penalties against drivers who don’t “yield to pedestrians or bicycles that are legally using the road.”
Advocates say the measure would improve overall safety. But critics say the wording in the proposed bill is too vague. Critics also claim that the proposal fails to address careless behavior by pedestrians and bicyclists.
Reaching a compromise
Personally I think there are better solutions, some of which have already been implemented elsewhere. Designated bike lanes are fine — as long as the roads are wide enough to accommodate them. I also know of a few places where officials close the roads to regular traffic and let bicyclists take over for a set amount of time on certain days, weather permitting.
I’m not sure if there are already laws on the books prohibiting bicyclists from riding in groups or at least preventing them from riding two abreast. If not, I think there should be.
But of course, that’s just my humble opinion. What do you think?
A Connecticut lawmaker’s efforts to strengthen existing animal cruelty laws raises an interesting question — and one that may not be unique to his state. Should there be tougher penalties for offenses committed under the current laws, or should the state’s animal cruelty statute be completely rewritten?
In a recent New Britain Herald article, State Rep. Gary Bryan explained why he’s backing legislation that failed to gain enough support to make it to the governor’s desk last year. If it is enacted, anyone convicted of deliberately “maiming, torturing or mutilating animals” will face harsher punishments than they do now.
But one skeptic quoted in the story says more can — and should be done. In fact, the man in charge of New Britain’s animal control claims that the current rules are outdated and confusing. That makes successful prosecution of animal cruelty cases more difficult, Sgt. Paul Keller tells the New Britain Herald.
The solution? Keller suggests scrapping everything and rewriting the state’s animal cruelty statute with an emphasis on clarity and simplicity.
The thought of doing that might make some legislators run screaming from the room. I mean, why make things easier? Why make things better?
But all joking aside, I think they should do whatever it takes to ensure that anyone who intentionally injures an animal in any way is successfully prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law.
If that means working their butts off to make sure the bill Byron’s backing makes it to the governor’s desk this year, so be it. If that means making partial revisions to the existing statute, then so be it. And if that means rewriting the entire statute, well, so be it.
What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know.
After hearing her voice at least once a day every day for God only knows how long, I have come to the conclusion that a day without hearing from “Carmen” is like a day without sunshine.
Apparently, “Carmen” is really concerned about me. For some reason my financial well-being means a great deal to her. “She” really wants to help me improve my credit and get lower interest rates. I know because she calls to tell me so. At least once per day. Every day.
Sometimes she calls in the morning. Sometimes she calls in the afternoon. Sometimes she calls when I’m in the middle of dinner. If I don’t answer, she leaves a message. She doesn’t care if I hang up. She just calls back. You’d think she could take a hint. Or not.
I have no idea how she got my cell phone number… but sometimes she even calls on that.
To be honest, I’ve had it. I can’t take it anymore. I’m sick of hearing her funky, computer-generated voice. At this point, I just want “her” to quit bugging me. Are you out there “Carmen?” Can you hear me? If so, just leave me alone already! Please!
On a serious note, I guess I should take matters into my own hands. But here in Connecticut, the only way to keep from getting harassed by telemarketers is to sign up with the National Do Not Call Registry. There’s information on the state’s Department Of Consumer Protection website about how to how to join.
The DCP says it also enforces the “Do Not Call” law, so if worst comes to worst, I guess I can always file a complaint with the agency. The only catch is I’d have to put it in writing.
In the meantime, I’m taking this opportunity to appeal to state and federal lawmakers. I am asking nicely… no, I’m begging you. Enact stricter telemarketing laws. Please!
“I have never met an animal I didn’t like. On the other hand, there are plenty of people I hate.” – Me.
Anyone who has read these posts should know a few things about me by now. First, I love animals. Second, I have definite opinions about the law and related issues. Third, I am not shy about sharing them.
I mean come on, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve expressed my displeasure with the United States Supreme Court and the New York City police commissioner (among others).
So it may come as a surprise that I’m blogging about something that I actually agree with. Specifically, I am applauding Alaskan lawmakers who are trying to break with legal tradition by viewing pets as something other than personal property.
According to a recent KTUU report, state legislators are pondering a proposed rule that allows for the “protection” of pets when their caretakers are getting divorced or are embroiled in domestic violence. If enacted, the law would:
Change the existing regulations so owners of animals confiscated due to neglect or cruelty would have to pay their cost of care through “bond or other security.”
Revise current domestic violence measures to let courts include animals, and their temporary care, when issuing protective orders.
Tweak the divorce and marriage dissolution statutes now on the books so animals’ “well-being” is taken into account in court decisions regarding ownership or joint ownership.
“Pets are often considered part of a family and the courts should be able to consider their well-being,” said Rep. Liz Vazquez, who co-sponsored the bill. “This legislation will make it more difficult for a pet to be used by an abuser to keep a victim from reporting that abuse.”
Now from what I’ve read, some Alaskans — who are understandably more pragmatic about animals than those of us who live elsewhere — question the wisdom of this legislation. Apparently they believe other issues deserve a higher priority.
While I fully endorse the proposal, I also understand why some might question it. In particular, I understand why some might mock the idea that courts should be allowed to consider an animal’s “well-being.” Those most likely to do so are the types of people who question the extent of animal intelligence, scoff at the suggestion that the average dog or cat has any self-awareness and shudder at the application of human emotions to our pets.
Personally, I don’t know what goes on in the space between my cat’s ears. But here’s what I know for sure: Eli is smart, sensitive and loyal, among other things. To me he is much more than personal property. He is my best friend. And if anything, I “belong” to him.
“The AKC was proud to support this important legislation.” – American Kennel Club
A brand new year always brings changes – some of which are good and some of which we can almost certainly do without. Among them are new laws, some of which affect all of us and some that affect only those of us who live in, visit or travel through certain areas.
In any case, the new rules always get their share of ink and generate plenty of conversation. And that makes for copious blog fodder. Have no fear, I’m hardly about to discuss, or even list, every single law that took effect January 1. In this post, I’ll focus on just one – an act changing the New York State social services law regarding victims of domestic violence and their pets.
The authorized amendment allows those in need of refuge to bring their service or therapy animals to emergency shelters. You can view the full text of the bill backed by the American Kennel Club that was ultimately signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo here.
On its website, the AKC said it made sense to support the legislation.
“Victims of domestic violence are in a vulnerable and frightening situation, and the practical assistance and comfort that a service/therapy animal provides can be essential,” the organization said. Furthermore, the AKC said that knowing they won’t have to leave their animals behind makes it easier for victims of domestic violence to leave dangerous situations.
For more information about the AKC’s support for the new law and related issues, click here.