With a unanimous vote Monday, members of the Washington State Senate passed Senate Bill 5065, which would tighten state penalties for animal cruelty. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, updates the state’s animal-cruelty statute to bring consistency to penalties for various levels of animal abuse and neglect.
“I’m an animal lover myself, and it sickens me to see the conditions in which some animals are kept,” Carrell said. “You see the news stories about animal mills where dog after dog or cat after cat is removed from a home covered in filth, emaciated and on the verge of death. My bill is another step closer to preventing those types of situations from developing in the first place.”
Carrell said his bill would require that any person who owns an animal is providing the necessary food, water and shelter to sustain a healthy life for the animal. While there was some initial resistance from agriculture groups, Carrell said he’s worked the specifics of the bill to alleviate those concerns.
“This is a bill about pets. It is not about farm animals. This bill is meant to protect pets from abuse, neglect and abandonment,” Carrell said. “Current law already contains provisions that describe conditions where those three criteria are not being met. My bill further clarifies that law by defining the criteria themselves.”
Carrell added that his bill would also penalize the owner of a home if someone in that household owns an abused or neglected pet regardless of the homeowner’s awareness of the animal’s substandard living condition. SB 5065 will now be considered by the House of Representatives.