Good News: Utah takes steps to protect former pets

AAVS is pleased that the Utah State Legislature passed H.B. 107, a bill to remove the requirement that animals from pounds be given to research institutions. This legislation will now go to Governor Gary Herbert for his signature. Utah is one of only three states in which current law requires shelters to turn over animals to be used in research, testing, and education, a practice called pound seizure.

While AAVS would have preferred for the legislation to ban the practice of pound seizure entirely, we see the passage of H.B. 107 as a step in the right direction. In addition to removing the requirement that pounds sell stray and owner-relinquished dogs and cats to research, the bill also mandates that any county selling to research institutions grant stray animals at least five days to be reunited with their owners. Currently, local ordinances allow shelters to sell after only three days. In addition, H.B. 107 includes provisions to compel shelters to actively seek out owners by checking for tags or microchips. AAVS commends Representative Jennifer Seelig for her commitment to changing this law to protect former pets.

In response to a state open records request, AAVS found that three counties in Utah are currently selling animals to the University of Utah (the only institution receiving pound animals in the state). The records obtained from the Utah Department of Health reveal that many dogs and cats are only held the minimum number of days before being sold, not giving animals an opportunity to be reunited with their owners or adopted. For a summary of the findings of the state open records request, click here.

Pound Seizure Profile

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