24 posts categorized in "Legislation"

Every voice matters when it comes to influencing legislation. On April 13, we watched a perfect example as the calendar deadline hit 5 p.m. in the House Rules committee. A bill allowing sport hunters to hunt cougars with hounds was stalled in its tracksPAWS, along with other concerned organizations and citizens, voiced opposition for this bill and legislators listened.

SB 5356, and its companion bill HB 1124, were introduced this session by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) requesting full authority to use hounds statewide to sport hunt cougars. While WDFW currently has the statewide authority to use hounds to remove cougars that threaten public safety, they currently do not have authority to extend the practice to recreational hunting.

HB 1124 died.  But the senate version moved through the legislature, aided by an amendment that forfeited WDFW’s request for statewide authority to sport hunt with hounds, in exchange for a 5-year extension of their pilot program which uses hounds to hunt cougars in designated counties (Chelan, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, Pend d’Oreille). This hound hunting pilot program was introduced in 2004 and has repeatedly been granted extensions ever since.

The impact of defeating SSB 5356 remains to be seen for cougar populations in Washington. For today the wishes of the majority of Washington State citizens have been upheld.

Actionline-March2011-Cougar Your action is needed today to stop SSB 5356 in the Washington State House of Representatives. This bill would grant the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) full authority to extend hound hunting of cougars to sport hunters for another five years in designated counties. Although WDFW presents SSB 5356 as a conservation bill that also protects public safety, it’s really a bill which goes directly against the will of the voters and is driven by misinformation and weak science.

The companion version of this bill (HB 1124) was successfully stopped. We now need your help to stop SSB 5356 from passing!

Please take 5 minutes today to tell your representatives you oppose SSB 5356:

  1. Enter your address to identify your district and representatives.
  2. Call/ e-mail (or both) your representatives urging them to vote NO on SSB 5356, allowing the hunting of cougars using dogs, on the full House floor.

HELPFUL HINTS: Calling is fast, easy and very impactful. Legislative staff will take your call. Follow up with a polite e-mail to thank them, and to solidify your action. To avoid forms, use the legislator e-mail directory.

You can also use the template below to assist with your phone message or e-mail. Pick 1-2 bullets to keep the message short.

SUBJECT: Your subject line should be short, on point and personal.

Dear (Representative’s Name),

As your constituent, I respectfully ask that you oppose SSB 5356 allowing the hunting of cougars with hounds. This bill would grant the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) full authority to extend hound hunting of cougars to sport hunters for another five years in designated counties.

(Please choose ONLY 1-2 bullets below to personalize your message.)

  • SSB 5356 will not increase public safety. This bill would allow the use of hounds by sport hunters to tree and kill cougars. It is not designed to target cats that have had conflicts with humans. There is no clear scientific evidence to support the idea that random sport hunting reduces human/cougar conflicts. In fact, recent studies suggest that the opposite may be true.
  • SSB 5356 goes against the will of the people. In 1996, voters overwhelmingly passed Initiative 655 by 63%, banning the use of hounds for sport hunting of cougars. There have been repeated attempts since that time to overturn the will of the voters. Support for this ban is still strong among Washington voters. A 2008 survey sponsored by WDFW showed that only 33% of people support sport hound hunting.
  • WDFW already has the ability to remove “problem cougars” with hounds when necessary—The WDFW claims they need hound hunting in their “toolbox” to effectively manage cougars. Even since the passage of I-655, this tool has always been available to the WDFW to remove cougars that pose legitimate threats to public safety. There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that extending the use of hounds to sport hunters increases public safety. Recent studies indicate that increased hunting may actually lead to an increase in human/cougar conflicts.
  • Heavy hunting may actually disrupt the social order of Washington’s cougar population and lead to increased conflicts. Cougar populations are an essential part of Washington’s ecosystem. Researchers have found that heavily hunted areas have fewer adult males and a younger overall age structure. Younger, inexperienced cougars are more likely to be involved in conflicts with humans than older cats who have learned to avoid them.

Please vote NO on SSB 5356 on the full House floor! I look forward to your response and thank you for your time.

(Your name, phone number and home address)

Help us report back to key legislators—please let us know when you take action. Send a copy of your e-mail, or simply a quick note that you called, to publicaffairs@paws.org.

Want more info?

With your help, we can be a voice to conserve cougars in Washington State.

Battery-caged-chickens_web PAWS has joined Washingtonians for Humane Farms in endorsing the Yes! On Initiative 1130 campaign, to prevent the extreme confinement of egg-laying hens.

About six million egg-laying hens in Washington State are forced to live their entire lives in cages so small they barely can move an inch. Initiative 1130 ensures that these animals have enough room to simply stretch their wings.

You can help PAWS with this effort today!

  1. Gather signatures for Initiative 1130. More than 300,000 signatures are needed by July in order to get this initiative on the November voting ballot. Sign up at YESon1130.com to receive your signature gathering kit. Pass this message on to family and friends, inviting them to join in the effort also.
  2. Help to stop a “bad egg laying bill” currently in legislation. Tell your Washington legislators  you oppose SB 5487, an egg-industry backed bill which only gives the illusion of reform. SB 5487 proposes minor changes in cage size, changes so small they still don’t support humane husbandry practices for caged hens. HELPFUL HINT: Calling your legislator is the fastest and most impactful action. Find your legislators here. Staff will take your call and are often amiable. If you have time, following up with a short, thankful e-mail solidifies your action. Find your legislators’ e-mails here.
  3. Ask your veterinarian to endorse Initiative 1130. Download and share this flyer with them, and contact us if they are are interested or have further questions at publicaffairs@paws.org.

Adding your voice to the movement for more humane treatment of egg-laying hens is an important step in getting Initiative 1130 on the ballot this November. Thank you!

Despite the fear of snow, Thursday was the most successful Humane Lobby Day to date, with more than 50 participants!

The day started with an interactive presentation by Rep. Hans Dunshee of District 44 (co-sponsor of the spay-neuter assistance bill and the prevention of animal cruelty bill).

Rep. Dunshee captivated the audience with his broad knowledge of this session’s animal welfare bills. (He even posed for our "team photo" with Abby the PAWS Humane Education wonder dog.)

After two hours of briefing, dozens of bagels, and a sea of coffee, attendees headed off to visit with their representatives. Topics on the agenda included: strengthening animal cruelty enforcement (HB 1147 & SSB 5065), anti-tethering protection for dogs (HB 1755 & SB 5649), creating a spay-neuter assistance program (HB 1226 & SB 5151), opposing the hunting of cougars with hounds (HB 1124 & SB 5356), and the battery cage initiative (I-1130).

Among the 50 attendees, were a unique group of youngsters from the Seattle Jewish Community School. These fourth-graders are veterans of the PAWS Humane Education Program and have won national awards for their essays on circuses that exploit animals.

After taking some tours and running their own mock legislative session, these little lobbyists sat with Rep. David Frockt and Sen. Scott White (of their own District 46). Their lobby was well prepared, well written, and amazingly persuasive.

Lobby-Day-5 Lobby-Day-6

Look for more on this group in the upcoming spring edition of our PAWS magazine!


CAS_Dog_04[1] Humane Lobby Day is next Thursday, February 17. This session is proving to be fast and furious and our fight for animal protections is in the thick of it. Don’t delay! Sign up today to join us in Olympia for Washington Humane Lobby Day.  Please pass this on to family, friends and co-workers.

To participate in Humane Lobby Day, you don’t need to be an expert in lobbying or legislation. Simply show up the day of and we’ll prep you with all you need to know to meet with your legislators.

Still not sure? Read below for more answers to frequently asked questions about attending Humane Lobby Day.

Why should I attend Humane Lobby Day?

You’d be amazed how a small number of people can change the course of a bill and impact future legislation. Your legislators want to hear from you—the people who put them in office—and Humane Lobby Day is the perfect group experience to meet your representatives face-to-face about issues that matter to you.

What kind of animal-related legislation are we fighting for this year?

2011 is an exciting year to support animals. Many bills are up, including: strengthening animal cruelty enforcement (HB 1147 & SSB 5065), anti-tethering protection for dogs (HB 1755 & SB 5649), and safeguarding  cougars from being hunted with hounds (HB 1124 & SB 5356).

What will I learn at Humane Lobby Day?

You’ll learn about 2011 legislation that impacts animals, and key talking points about each, to help you in your meetings with legislators. You’ll also get tips on how to appropriately meet with your legislators.

How long is the event?

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will be filled with presentations about the issues, lobbying basics, special guest legislators, snack breaks, and chances to network with other animal-welfare groups. If you can’t attend the entire day, don’t worry. Simply let us know and we’ll tell you when your scheduled appointment is with your legislators so you can plan your trip accordingly.

How will I get there?

It’s ideal to get a group together to carpool to Olympia. We will be sending out an update the week of the event concerning where the meeting room is. To help you determine your trip now, visit the Washington State Legislature website for a campus map, visitor parking and intercity transit shuttles.

What should I wear?

You’ll want to make a good impression during your meetings, so dress in a manner that shows respect for the office. No need for a three-piece suit, but slacks and a nice shirt are fine. Also, wear comfortable shoes as you may have to walk across campus more than once.

Your help preserving past victories and gaining support for animal protections will be paramount this year. Now is your chance to talk to your newly elected officials and incumbents in person. RSVP for Washington's Humane Lobby Day today and help shape future policy that impacts animals!

With your help, PAWS and our partner organizations can make a difference for animals in 2011.

Shelter%20cats%202%20small[1] We need your help with an URGENT action to keep an important bill alive in the Senate. To help, it's important you take action today.
Take less than 5 minutes to contact your Senator and let him or her know SB 5151 spay/neuter bill deserves a public hearing in the Senate.
Our friends at Save Washington Pets are working to support a spay/neuter bill in the Washington State legislature. SB 5151 would provide funding to assist low-income guardians of cats and dogs to obtain affordable spay/neuter surgeries, and to provide for spay/neuter surgeries of feral and free-roaming cats. The bill would prevent thousands of unwanted litters from ending up in shelters every year.
Senators are needed to request Senator Pridemore, chairman of the Government Operations, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee, hold a public hearing on the spay/neuter bill, SB 5151. By contacting your senators on SB 5151, you can sway them to advise Senator Pridemore and change the course of this bill. Please help today.
Thank you for helping keep this important legislation alive.

CAS_Puppy_03[1] Sign up today to attend Washington's Humane Lobby Day on February 17 and help preserve important protections for animals in 2011.

Given our current Washington State budget crisis, this year will be a defensive one for policy impacting animals. Your help preserving past victories, while gaining support for future animal protections, will be paramount this year.

PAWS and the Humane Society of the United States invite you to join us at Humane Lobby Day this year on February 17. Come together with other animal advocates in making a difference for animals in 2011.

At Humane Lobby Day you’ll learn about 2011 legislation that impacts animals. You’ll also get tips on meeting with your legislators. Then, you’ll have the opportunity to meet directly with your elected officials and their staff about important animal-related bills that matter to you.

Legislators tell us they want to hear more from you—the people who put them in office! You’d be surprised to know that a handful of citizens can literally change the course of a bill by simply connecting with their legislators about what matters to them.

Now is your chance to talk to your newly elected officials and incumbents in person. RSVP for Washington's Humane Lobby Day for a chance to meet your legislators and help shape future policy that impacts animals.

Shop the PAWS Store now! 
Any donation gift card or PAWS Store purchase made by December 17 will still arrive before the Christmas holiday!

Make a donation in his/her honor!
To make a holiday donation in honor of a friend, family member or animal in your life, you can contribute to the animals at PAWS online. You’ll be helping the animals at PAWS, and we’ll send a special card to your honoree.

Fill their stockings with gifts from the PAWS Store
If you are looking for great gifts that give back, browse the PAWS Store for comfortable and fashionable apparel, dog leashes, water bottles, as well as the PAWS 2011 Calendar, gift memberships and more for every animal lover on your holiday list.

Gifts and purchases made this holiday season help the animals in our care today, and will help thousands more in the year ahead. Thank you!

6a0120a5ed5e54970b013488826117970c-320wi[1] In these tough economic times, communities across the state are making difficult budgetary decisions, often involving the cutting of services. During the budgeting process, Snohomish County considered eliminating funding for the shelter service contract it had with PAWS for over 20 years. In 2009 alone, PAWS took in more than 1,200 stray cats and dogs from unincorporated Snohomish County.

Fortunately, after listening to the concerns of citizens and PAWS, the County Council voted to retain the funding necessary to support this important service.

We are very appreciative of the Council's support and understanding of the importance of providing citizens with two convenient and reliable options when they find a stray cat or dog—the PAWS Companion Animal Shelter and the Everett Animal Shelter. This is great news for the animals and citizens of Snohomish County.

Thank you also to our supporters who live and do business in Snohomish County who reached out to the County Council and other key figures to help PAWS retain this contract and provide this important service to our community.

Nov 25

Thank you!

Sony_web As we sit down to celebrate our friendships and family this Thanksgiving Day, I give my heartfelt thanks to every one of PAWS’ friends who give second chances to animals in need.

Without our family of supporters, the work we do would not be possible. It’s your help that has saved the lives of the animals you see pictured here, and thousands of others this year.

Thank you!

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HarborSeal_web   Carlton_web