That’s old Steiner here, telling all you legislators that it’s time to adopt more than a cat or a dog!  Our legislative session starts on Tuesday, and now’s the time to adopt the Minnesota Companion Animal Protection Act.

The language: HF 391 Minnesota Companion Animal Protection Act

It was introduced last year in the House (HF 391) and Senate (SF 1204).  It was forwarded on to their respective Ag committes, and stalled out.

To revive it, I think the best thing to do is to contact those listed as authors and the chairs of House and Senate Ag Committees that you want to see the Companion Animal Protection Act, HF 391 and SF 1204, passed this year.  Emails of authors and Chairs here to cut and paste: (House author) (House author) (Chair – House Agriculture Policy Committee) (Senate author) (Senate author) (Senate author) (Senate author) (Chair – Senate Jobs, Agriculture & Rural Devo Committee

Looking at the bill, I’ve got a few comments, and I’m making them as a member of the Board of the Humane Society of Goodhue County, where I’ve learned a few things about Companion Animal Protection, though to be clear, I am NOT speaking for HSGC, nor do my comments reflect the policies of HSGC:

First, in the Definitions, lines 2.8 – 2.15,  the Private and Public sheltering agency should mention requiring licensure of the agencies and to acknowledge that licensure includes a limit the number of animals they may hold.

Line 2.11, I think “has” should be “have.”

Still in Definitions, lines 2.20 – 2.22, “stated” should be deleted, and paragraph should say:

Subd. 10. Rescue group.  “Rescue Group” means a collaboration of individuals organized as a Minnesota non-profit or designated by IRS as a nonprofit under section 501 (c)(3), and whose primary purpose is animal rescue and adoption.

For consistency, I’d lock in all holding periods to five (5) days, and not two or three depending on circumstances (see lines 3.12, 3.16, 3.20, 4.2, et al.)

Line 3.29, should add, at the end of line, “and public.”  Shelters do move animals between them to give animals a new venue to increase adoption opportunities.

Sec. 4, lines 4.1 – 4.9 should be expanded to include specifically prohibiting euthanasia of owner relinquished animals unless irremediably suffering and/or non-rehabilitable.  The MCAPA should also include language requiring that shelters provide owners wanting to surrender their animals with information on training and behavior options prior to accepting the animal.  Owners often dump animals at shelters who are perfectly good, healthy animals “to be put to sleep.”  Not acceptable.

Lines 5.1 – 5.2 need clarification — if animals are not candidates for redemption, transfer, or adoption, how will they “leave the shelter in reasonable condition?”  This sounds like a mandate for palliative care to limit suffering, but the intent and language of these two lines is not clear.

Lines 5.24 – 5.31 — How will we know if “any of the organization’s current directors, officers, staff or volunteers have been convicted..”  A registry?

Add to Sec. 7, line 6.32: microchips, identification tags, and licenses.  All animals adopted or transferred out of public and private sheltering agencies shall be microchipped.

Add to Sec. 7, at end of line 7.1, before line 7.2: The holding period does not begin until the photo and description have been posted.

ADD an animal abuse registry.  Animal abuse, neglect, and hoarding isn’t a one time thing, it’s a pattern of behavior and by tracking those abusing animals, we can prevent adoptions into environments that are dangerous for these animals we’re working to protect:


Subd. 1 (language in lines 7.12 – 7.15)

Subd. 2.  The state Department of Agriculture shall maintain a publicly accessible online registry of individuals, business, and organizations convicted of animal abuse, neglect and/or hoarding for reference by public or private sheltering agencies and rescue groups, which shall include name of offender, current address, other known addresses, date of conviction with statutory citation, and summary of offense(s).  Public or private sheltering agencies and rescue groups, kennels, and individuals shall be prohibited from adopting, selling, or giving animals to those on the registry and members of their households.

Add to Sec. 9, l. 7.20: (1) there are no empty cates, kennels, or other living environments in the shelter, or the shelter is filled to its licensed capacity.

Add to Sec. 12, ENFORCEMENT, line 10.12: A public or private sheltering agency, rescue group, or individual may compel a public or …

Those are the thoughts off the top of my head, and this is a work in progress.  Now, on to the House and Senate authors and Committee chairs!  Once more with feeling, here they are: (House author) (House author) (Chair – House Agriculture Policy Committee) (Senate author) (Senate author) (Senate author) (Senate author) (Chair – Senate Jobs, Agriculture & Rural Devo Committee



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