It took, what, 20 years for the New Mexico Legislature to ban cockfighting? That doesn't mean that animal-rights activists shouldn't bother trying. Some strong bills have been introduced so far, and with the right amount of push and shove, pet lovers might actually get some traction.
HB 82 INTENTIONALLY STARVING ANIMALS TO DEATH
Sponsored by Rep. Patricia Lundstrom, D-McKinley, HB 82 adds "intentionally or maliciously starving or
dehydrating an animal to death" to the list of examples of "extreme animal cruelty," a fourth-degree felony offense. Current Location: House Agriculture Committee, which usually meets Tuesdays & Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. in Room 318 of the Roundhouse.
HB 265 NO GAS CHAMBER FOR ANIMAL EUTHANASIA
Rep. Ken Martinez, D-Cibola, is kinda the man these days as Majority Floor Leader. So, as the man, it seems like he'll be looking out for the lesser creatures with HB 265. The bill bans the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers to euthanize cats and dogs. PETA has a video online of the process. Current Location: House Consumer & Public Affairs, which usually meets Tuesdays & Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. in Room 315
SB 185 PET LICENSE PLATE FEES TO ANIMAL CARE FUND
Sweet Sen. Mary Jane Garcia wants to issue special animal care license plates with proceeds going to, well, animals n' stuff. Current location: Senate Corporations & Transportation Committee, which meets Mondays at 2:00pm in Room 303, Wednesdays & Fridays at 2:00pm in Room 311.
SB 127 CUSTODY & CARE OF MISTREATED ANIMALS
As much as everyone likes Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, this bill might cause a little bit of concern among the die-hards. Wirth proposes to bite into the wallets of negligent and evil pet owners by requiring them to put up security to cover the animals' care after being seized by the state, county or city governments. However, the bill also leaves in the provision that if an owner can't be found or refuses to put up the money in 15 days, the animal may be destroyed. When the heck is New Mexico going to go No-Kill? Current Location: Senate Conservation Committee, which meets Tuesdays & Thursdays at 2:30 p.m. in Room 311.
UPDATE via e-mail from Wirth himself, hence the strike-out. Please also note the comment from the Attorney general's office, below:
Just for your info, the “humane destruction” language you reference is not something new that I am proposing. It actually is one of the options available under current New Mexico law when the court finds that an animal has been cruelly treated or the owner cannot care for it.
What the bill proposes to do is give an animal shelter or governmental humane society the option to request that the Judge order that the person accused of animal cruelty post a bond to cover the cost of caring for the animal during the pending criminal proceeding. The Judge then has the option, after a finding of probable cause, of ordering the owner of the abused animal to post a bond to pay for that animal's care during the time it is held pending trial. If that bond is not met, then the Judge has the same options he or she currently has of placing the animal for adoption or providing for the “humane destruction” of the animal.
HB 159 EXPAND CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
As the current animal cruelty law is written, "extreme cruelty" specifically includes torture, mutilatio, injure or poisoning. Rep. Al Park, D-Bernalillo, wants to clear all those out and just define it as "intentionally or maliciously" mistreating or killing an animal, opening a wide array of charges up to prosecution. It's currently unclear whether if this bill passes Lundstrom HB 82 is still relevant. Current Location: House Consumer & Public Affairs, which meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:30pm in Room 315.