Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns recently signed into law a bill that makes intentionally torturing or mutilating an animal, or conducting a cockfight or dogfight, a felony. The legislation also makes neglect or abandonment of an animal a Class I misdemeanor and requires employees of government-run child and adult protection and animal control agencies to report suspected abandonment, neglect and mistreatment of animals. "I can't imagine anyone being against something like that," said State Senator Ray Aguilar (D-Grand Island). Conducting a cockfight is legal only in Louisiana and New Mexico, and dogfights are prohibited throughout the United States.
State Sen. Ernie Chambers, who is a champion of animal welfare, introduced the original legislative bill. State Sens. Paul Hartnett, Marian Price, Elaine Stuhr and Dennis Byars introduced and/or co-sponsored correlating animal cruelty legislation that was merged into the final bill. They deserve credit for LB273, this session's often overlooked but welcome and compassionate law making animal cruelty a felony in Nebraska (send them a thank-you email by clicking their names, Sen. Chambers only receives snail mail).
Another bill recently signed by Governor Johanns mandates spaying or neutering all cats and dogs adopted from shelters within 30 days, and requires pet shops to be licensed and provide written information about spaying and neutering to customers.