Rally planned against bill to erase local laws governing animal use including puppy mills

Mar 2, 2022, 8:26 PM | Updated: Mar 3, 2022, 11:56 am
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 27:  Milly, a 13-week-old kitten waits with her brother Charlie (L) to b...
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Milly, a 13-week-old kitten waits with her brother Charlie (L) to be re-homed at The Society for Abandoned Animals Sanctuary in Sale, Manchester which is facing an urgent cash crisis and possible closure on July 27, 2010 in Manchester, England. The Society for Abandoned Animals exists entirely on public support and unless it can raise GBP 50,000 in the next couple of months it will have to close down. The registered charity started in 1967 and in the last five years alone the charity has rescued and found homes for more than 1,000 cats, 290 rabbits and 262 dogs. The rescue centre is one of the many who are suffering a downfall in donations due to the economic recession. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers are pushing a bill that would erase city and county animal ordinances and laws in Utah.

HB476, sponsored by Joel Ferry, R-Brigham City, is short and to the point, reading:

A political subdivision may not adopt or enforce an ordinance or other regulation that prohibits or effectively prohibits the operation of an animal enterprise or the use of a working animal.

The broad language would not allow counties, cities or metro townships to license or regulate animal enterprises.

“This is such a broad sweeping bill that it is going to have intended and unintended consequences that are going to impact animals throughout the state,” Elizabeth Oreck with Best Friends Animal Society said in an interview with KSL TV. “There really just isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to animal issues throughout the state. Cities and counties need to be able to be trusted to evaluate their own issues and enact their own laws that work for them.”

One of the consequences, according to Oreck, will be the puppy and kitten mills that will flourish without regulation, including in the 12 cities and counties in Utah that have enacted retail pet sale ordinances when those laws are wiped out.

The Human Society of Utah is planning a rally in opposition to the bill where they say they will be joined by animal welfare leaders and municipal animal control officials.

Ferry said ultimately the state should enact regulations, not local jurisdictions. He compared animal use to licensing of doctors and clean water and air standards that are set by the state. Ferry cited fears of a city or county outlawing castrating cattle and he cited concerns of “activist groups” that will try to control “how we manage our commercial animal enterprises.”

The proposed law would not apply to land use. Ferry cited as an example local ordinances would still govern how many chickens would be allowed on property. He also cited concerns of groups that want to enact local laws for rodeo animal treatment. Efforts to pass rodeo laws in Los Angeles were cited as a reason for the bill by a supporter.

“We are not saying ‘anything goes’ we are saying we need to have a standard that is broader than local jurisdictions,” Ferry said.

Ferry did agree with the Humane Society and Best Friends Animal Society that the bill would erase current laws and ordinances against stores sourcing pets, including cats and dogs, from wherever they choose. Several others in the committee hearing spoke in favor of it for animal husbandry practices.

“The store would have the decision, ultimately, if they sell what they want to sell,” Ferry said.

“The speed with which this bill has been pushed through the legislature should alarm anyone who values participation in our political process,” the Humane Society said in a release. “Further, by excluding almost all stakeholders from any discussion in the drafting of this bill, many far-reaching implications clearly have not been considered. Most notable is the exclusion of animal control officers in any drafting discussions. As the people who are charged with enforcing our laws against cruelty, their views are perhaps the most valuable when it comes to how workable this legislation will actually be.”

The rally is planned for noon Thursday on the south steps of the Utah Capitol.

Her organization, based in Utah, has a goal of completely stopping the killing of cats and dogs in shelters by 2025 and the group is alarmed by the bill.

“Utah has made amazing progress for animals throughout the years and this bill could undo decades of progress made for animals.”

The bill defines animal enterprises that “includes an animal competition, aquarium, circus, exposition, fair, farm, feedlot, furrier, retail pet store, ranch, rodeo, zoo or an event intended to exhibit or advance agricultural arts and sciences.”

The bill had its first reading on Feb. 24, passed committee Feb. 28 and was approved by the House 43-28 on March 1 and sent to the senate.

“We’ve never seen a bill this broad before that regulates animals uses in entertainment, transportation, education, exhibition, for-profit, food, fiber production, agriculture, research, testing,” Oreck said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

$400 million set aside for tax cut...
Madison Swenson

Brett Garner elected to fill vacant seat in Utah House of Representatives

Brett Garner has been elected to fill Sen. Karen Kwan's former seat in the Utah House of Representatives.
1 day ago
Mike Anderson

Bear Lake Monster Winterfest seeks to draw winter tourists

The community around Bear Lake is pushing to get more people out there during these winter months. As a part of that, the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is underway.
1 day ago
Ayanna Likens

Tips to set realistic mental health goals

If you are planning on setting a goal to prioritize your mental health this year, Dr. Kristin Francis at Huntsman Mental Health Institute recommends starting with small goals.
1 day ago
Shara Park

All students contacted following shooting incident in Taylorsville High parking lot

Police said they have identified and made contact with the six teens involved in a shooting that took place in the parking lot of Taylorsville High School Thursday.
1 day ago
Officers respond to Taylorsville High School on Jan. 26, 2023, after shots were fired in the parkin...
Erin Cox

Utah lawmakers pushing for greater school safety measures

Utah lawmakers are pushing for change in order to protect our students in schools.
1 day ago
“Happy Bunny” math game...
Ashley Moser

Fun resources help early learners with math and reading

We all know reading with our children is important, but experts now say math scores are actually better predictors of reading literacy.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Rally planned against bill to erase local laws governing animal use including puppy mills