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March 29, 2018: Update on SB 1295

It’s a sad day for pets at the Arizona Capitol.

After working with Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and Senator John Kavanagh to strengthen penalties for the worst cases of animal abuse, SB1295 stalled this week in the state House, after passing the Senate. Despite your calls and emails in support, Representative Eddie Farnworth opposed the bill and refused to have it heard in the committee he chairs, thus preventing it from being passed during this legislative session.

We’re disappointed for many reasons, including the fact that politics took precedence over making our communities safer for both pets and people. The connection between animal abuse and other horrible domestic violence (including the recent school shooting in Florida) is clear. SB1295 would have made it more likely that an animal abuser received supervised treatment and faced penalties more in line with the crime.

“We believe SB1295 is good policy and will work to ensure its success next legislative session,” said Mr. Montgomery. “We’re disappointed in this year’s outcome, but will continue to advocate crime prevention and justice for all victims – two and four legged.”

On a brighter note, our legislative work to help abandoned pets is continuing to make progress. Senate Bill 1376 would require landlords who find abandoned animals in their vacated properties to immediately remove the pets and release them to a shelter, provide reasonable care or alert animal control. This will lead to fewer pets abandoned without a second chance and more reunions of pets with their families. We’re hopeful this bill will pass the Legislature and is signed by the Governor.

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After a landlord retakes possession of a dwelling unit, if the tenant’s personal property remains in the unit, the landlord is required to hold the tenant’s personal property for 14 calendar days, instead of 10 days or 21 days if the tenant was evicted. The landlord is not required to store the tenant’s perishable items, plants and animals, and is permitted to remove and dispose of any personal property in the unit that is contaminated or poses a health and safety risk, at the landlord’s discretion. The tenant’s abandoned animals may be immediately removed and released to a shelter or boarding facility, or the landlord is required to notify animal control. The Humane Legislative Coalition of Arizona supports SB1376. Read the full bill.