This week, Rescue Bank of Baton Rouge co-founder Judy Atkinson emailed member organizations and asked them to marshal their resources in support of pending dog welfare legislation.
Four years ago, Rescue Bank was formed to support small animal rescues by augmenting their meager budgets with food and other provisions. The loosely-configured group of 30 autonomous organizations has now coalesced into a support network that shares resources, news and information.
These two pieces of legislation might escape the notice of many Louisianans; yet, they hold significance for Rescue Bank members who work to salve the wounds and save the lives of dogs injured by these practices.
At the state level, House Bill 470 prohibits dogs from being transported uncrated in the back of pickup trucks. According to some estimates, 100,000 dogs die each year from riding in the back of pickup trucks in the U.S. They are ejected after an accident, fall out accidentally as the vehicle is motion or slide out the back of an open tailgate. Since it passed out of the Transportation Committee on April 16, the bill can come up for a vote before the full House at any time. Supporters of the provision need to act quickly to contact their Louisiana House representative.
The second bill is scheduled for a vote at the Baton Rouge Metro Council meeting on Wednesday, April 24. This legislation prohibits tethering/chaining dogs outside for more than one hour. Tethering has been declared inhumane by many agencies including the Humane Society of the United States and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Beside placing the dog in danger of strangling, tethers are dangerous for people. Tethered dogs typically become possessive of their territory and attack any perceived threat—person, animal or object that enters that zone.
While most animal advocates would prefer to see tethering outlawed completely, the proposed ordinance represents a move in the right direction and has the potential to save the lives and improve the welfare of many dogs. Furthermore, Director of the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control and Rescue Center Hilton Cole supports the measure and believes his officers can enforce it properly.
"If they pass, these two items will substantially help dogs," Atkinson wrote. "We are asking that you contact your representatives and ask that they support these items." That call to action is targeted not only to rescue organizations but individual dog lovers as well.
To find and contact your representatives regarding these issues, visit:
One of Rescue Bank of Baton Rouge's affiliates is Northside Humane Society. These adoptable animals are among those who have benefitted from Rescue Bank's donation of food and supplies.
These pets have all been microchipped, vaccinated, spayed/neutered and FeLeuk/FIV tested. Many other adoptable cats, kittens, puppies and dogs are available at the Northside Humane Society, northsidehumane.org or call 964-6992.
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