Home » Arizona Humane Society To Introduce Animal Cruelty Bill

Arizona Humane Society To Introduce Animal Cruelty Bill

by Pleasant View

In the wake of increasing animal abuse cases throughout the Valley, including the high-profile seizure of 55 special needs dogs from a Chandler residence last September, the Arizona Humane Society and Arizona State Senator T.J. Shope announced plans to introduce of Senate Bill 1047 (SB1047).

This critical legislation is aimed at protecting more pets by fortifying the state’s animal cruelty laws. Specifically, the bill defines cruelty to companion animals as failure to provide necessary medical attention, defines food and water that are fit for consumption, ensures shelter is safe, and provides protection during extreme weather conditions.

As the primary organization contracted to conduct animal cruelty investigations in multiple cities across the state, AHS is uniquely positioned to offer valuable insights into how Arizona’s laws can be strengthened to safeguard vulnerable animals.

“Arizona’s pets have been victims of a weak statewide animal cruelty law for far too long,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, President and CEO of AHS. “While some cities have passed ordinances to provide additional protections for pets, the time has come for the whole state of Arizona to stand against animal cruelty.”

The announcement of SB1047 comes after a particularly difficult year in terms of animal abuse cases across the state. In 2023, AHS responded to nearly 15,000 calls for service and initiated close to 10,000 animal abuse investigations, representing a substantial 21 percent increase from the previous year. On September 22, AHS assisted the Chandler Police Department as they seized 55 special needs dogs from a residence belonging to Sydney McKinley, also known as April McLaughlin. Earlier this month, McKinley’s appeal was dismissed, and her owner’s rights were terminated. As a result, AHS received full legal custody of the remaining 13 dogs involved in the case, all of which are being connected with rescue groups fit to find homes for each of their special needs.

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“It’s a bittersweet day where we recognize and remember the pain and agony these dogs endured in April McLaughlin’s home. At the same time, we share movement forward with the introduction of SB1047, so no pet will ever suffer in the same way again. Until every pet in the Valley is in a safe home, our work will continue,” said Dr. Hansen.

“The pressing need to bolster laws against animal cruelty has become more evident in the face of cases involving abandonment, lack of essential food or water, and insufficient shelter during extreme weather conditions,” said Senator Shope. “I am proud to stand alongside the Arizona Humane Society as we push for a better quality of life for all the pets in our state.”

By strengthening Arizona’s animal cruelty statutes, SB1047 will allow law enforcement across the state of Arizona to act earlier and more often in cases of animal cruelty and neglect. The bill will also give prosecutors the tools needed to prosecute animal abuse cases to the fullest extent of the law.

“We have had a number of high-profile animal abuse cases submitted to my office in recent months that have brought the issue of animal abuse and neglect to the forefront,” said Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell. “My office is in full support of SB1047 because it defines elements of the law that are key in securing prosecution of those who abuse animals.”

The Arizona Humane Society, Senator T.J. Shope, and Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell emphatically support SB1047 which ensures a brighter and more humane future for our four-legged companions.

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For more information visit azhumane.org/be-an-advocate.

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