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.
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