Pet Advocacy Network
Mid-Year Legislative Report
The Pet Advocacy Network team works year-round to track proposed pet-related laws at the federal and state levels. We engage with lawmakers to keep those that would harm responsible pet businesses from advancing into law, and to support those that promote pet ownership and opportunities to experience the human-animal bond. Below are highlights of some of the legislation we engaged on during the first half of the year:
- The Ocean Shipping Reform Act, a new law expected to ease bottlenecks and supply chain issues at our nation’s ports for pet businesses and many other trades, was passed by Congress and signed by the President in June. We worked diligently to support and advance this legislation as it moved through Congress, both independently and as part of a large coalition of trade associations representing U.S. importers, exporters, transportation providers and other supply chain stakeholders. You—our members—deserve significant credit for this positive outcome due to your active involvement by engaging with lawmakers via online alerts and in discussions during the 2021 Pet Care Community DC Fly-In.
- In New Hampshire, a late amendment to SB 368 created a dangerous incentive to impose fines for violations of any sort by tying inspector compensation directly to fine revenue. While continuing to support the original intent of the bill, which was to punish bad actors who consistently violated state law by selling animals without a license, we worked with our allies to urge lawmakers to remove the problematic amendment. We succeeded, and the bill was signed into law by Governor Sununu on June 17 and goes into effect January 1, 2023.
- Hawaii Governor Ige signed important legislation into law in May that increases penalties for aquatic resource violation convictions. We worked with lawmakers to support passage of this law that will serve as a strong deterrent to illegal activity that threatens the balanced management of the responsible, sustainable and legal fishery which is essential to the Hawaiian economy and to the individuals and their families whose livelihoods depend on fish collection for food as well as for aquariums. This is an important component of our commitment to protecting the ecosystem that is well-maintained by responsible aquatic life collection.
- The New York legislature passed A.6246/S.6870 at the end of May, a shelter standards bill aimed at ensuring animal welfare organizations enforce the same high standards of care that are expected of the pet care community. We had conversations with lawmakers voicing our support and encouraging them to adopt these standards to further protect the health and well-being of animals that pass through the state’s shelters. The bill awaits the Governor’s signature.
- Also in New York, we have worked to oppose a statewide pet sales ban for almost a decade, leading a coalition of pet stores and allied organizations in online and direct engagement with lawmakers, media outreach, testimony submissions and more. We also worked with Assemblyman Gary Pretlow to introduce and promote alternative legislation that would have imposed strict sourcing standards on responsible pet dealers and enabled pet stores to stay in business. In early 2022, a statewide pet sales ban (S.1130) did pass both chambers and now sits on Governor Hochul’s desk for signature. We are leading a campaign to urge the governor to veto it, engaging in conversations with the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets as well as the Governor’s office to explain the damage that this bill would cause.
- Statewide and local pet sales bans continue to be introduced across the country, and we are continually working to engage with lawmakers to oppose them, advocating for increasing and enforcing standards of care that will have a real effect on animal health and well-being rather than serving only to punish law-abiding small business pet stores and the breeders they work with. So far in 2022, we have successfully defeated statewide pet sale bans in Minnesota and Kentucky.
- The USICA/COMPETES Act, important federal legislation intended to advance our economy and protect public health, continues to stagnate as lawmakers from the House and Senate try to achieve consensus on the contents of the final version of the bill. We have actively sought to have extraneous amendments removed, such as Sec. 71102 in the House version which includes amendments to the Lacey Act that are unrelated to the bill’s intent. These amendments will cause significant harm to the responsible pet care community, and have a negative ripple effect on related businesses, through delaying import approvals and live animal shipments. Our continued efforts to have Sec. 71102 removed include thousands of engagements through our grassroots platform and media outreach.
If you would like to know about pending legislation in your state, go to our State and Federal Issues section for an interactive state tracker that can be filtered by state and by issue, as well as our local ordinance map. You may also contact us at [email protected] or 202-452-1525 to connect with the staff in charge of your state.