2023 Legislative Session
Three animal protection bills sponsored by Senator John Kavanagh and supported by Humane Voters of AZ (HVA) were passed and signed into law. A fourth bill, sponsored by Senator TJ Shope, allows veterinarians to use telemedicine to treat animals. Thanks to Kavanagh’s efforts, $550,000 will be allocated from the state budget to fund spay neuter surgeries throughout Arizona. Spaying and neutering is the
most important and effective means of reducing the numbers of homeless animals who die in shelters and on the street. This crucial funding will help not only animals and their families, but entire communities across our state. He also sponsored a bill that creates a study committee to address Arizona animal control shelter concerns, and a measure that requires ambulance companies to treat and transport injured police dogs to veterinary clinics.
UPDATE: SB1251 VETOED! Thanks to Governor Hobbs, who just vetoed SB1251 which would have weakened cruelty protections for animals. In her veto letter, she described SB1251 as ‘a solution in search of a problem.’ Thanks to everyone who signed and shared our petition requesting a veto! Read Governor Hobbs’ SB1251 Veto Letter. Your actions were crucial in achieving this victory for animals.
Please ask Governor Katie Hobbs to veto SB1251 which weakens cruelty protections for animals! She has only a few days to sign or veto the bill so please sign and share now!
SB1251 prohibits local governments from enacting any ordinances to address inhumane treatment of animals if the law restricts the use of working animals in animal enterprises. For example, a city would lose the power to ban deadly carriage horse operations, which are outlawed in several major US cities.
SB1251 has been misrepresented as a measure to prevent restrictions on rodeos. In fact, this legislation is part of a national campaign by animal industry lobbyists formed to protect puppy mills in the Midwest and launched the Working Animal Protection Act (WAPA) in several states.
SB1251 is overly broad and could apply to any “working animal” that is used for “animal enterprises”, including herding or guard dogs, animal breeders, and other industries. The bill’s vague language could have negative consequences and invite litigation like the current Arkansas lawsuit over its WAPA law.
SB1251 unjustly removes the ability for local governments to address issues that affect animals in their communities. Arizona’s 2016 preemption bill related to puppy mills has not been enforced and has made Arizona a magnet for pet sellers dealing in puppy mill dogs (Learn more).
2022 Legislative Session
Victory! Six Animal Protection Bills Passed and Signed into Law (read more)
Stop Breed Discrimination by Insurance Companies
Currently insurance companies can deny or drop coverage and charge higher premiums based solely on the breed of the family dog. A bill sponsored by Rep. John Kavanagh HB2323: homeowner’s insurance; dogs; nondiscrimination, would prohibit insurance companies from hiking rates or denying people homeowners’ insurance based on the type of dog they keep (learn more)
UPDATE: Governor Ducey has signed the Insurance Bill Discrimination Bill into law! If your legislators voted ‘yes’ on HB2323, please thank them (find vote record here). Thanks to bill sponsor Rep Kavanagh and Best Friends Animal Society for their efforts to get this measure passed!
Stop Bill Aimed at Nonprofit Volunteers that Register Voters
By law, 501(C)(3) organizations are permitted to engage in nonpartisan efforts toregister voters and encourage citizens to vote. SB1629 creates unnecessary, difficult hurdles for nonprofits and volunteers who register voters. The bill requires volunteers to submit a notarized application to the Secretary of State which includes the volunteer’s name, address, phone number, and email address. Volunteers would be forced to have their personal information displayed on the SOS public website. This provision alone would have a chilling effect on nonprofits and volunteers who register citizens to vote (learn more)
SB1629 failed to pass the Senate but can be brought back for a revote at any time. Please ask your state senator to oppose SB1629 which creates unnecessary, difficult hurdles for nonprofits and volunteers who register citizens to vote. Be sure to mention that you are a resident of their district. You can find contact information for senators here. Please send your questions or any response you receive from your senator to email@example.com.
Update: SB1629 failed the Senate 13-16-2 and a motion for reconsideration passed, but the bill was not reconsidered so it died.
Stop Bill Aimed at Endangered Wolves!
We need your help to stop a bill in the Arizona Legislature aimed at endangered Mexican gray wolves. HB2181 S/E: game and fish; taking wolves (Cook), forbids the Arizona Game & Fish Commission from prohibiting anyone from killing a wolf that is actively threatening or attacking a person, livestock or other domestic animal. People can already kill wolves if they are threatened — which almost never happens — but allowing endangered wolves to be killed for preying on livestock or other animals should be soundly rejected. The provisions in this bill will increase illegal killing of endangered wolves (learn more)
HB2181 passed the Arizona House of Representatives and was transferred to the Senate. Please ask your senator to vote ‘no’ on HB2181. Let them know we should be coexisting with endangered Mexican wolves, not pushing bills that promote killing them. Be sure to mention that you are a resident of their district. You can contact your Arizona Senate members here.
Help Ban Cat Declawing in Arizona
Rep. Amish Shah is sponsoring a bill that would ban gruesome, unnecessary declawing of cats statewide. HB2224 is nearing a vote by the entire House of Representatives. Learn more about the bill and how you can help!
Update: HB2224 was held in House Rules Committee, so the bill died.
2021 Legislative Session
New Law Protects Pets of Deceased Owners
After Matthew Meisner was tragically murdered last year, his family couldn’t access his apartment for days to rescue his cats Skitty, Hunter, and QT due to state law. Fortunately, Missy Pruitt and other friends were able to save and adopt all the cats.
Matt’s cousin, Meg Epstein worked with Rep Shawnna Bolick to pass “Matthew’s Law” (HB2507) to make sure this never happens to other families and animals. Humane Voters of AZ and Animal Defense League of Arizona helped in a supporting role to pass HB2507, thanks largely to Senator Victoria Steele. Also thanks to Senator Sean Bowie, Representative Amish Shah, Bri Brown, Jake Hinman, Governor Doug Ducey and others for their efforts on this lifesaving new law. HVA was honored to help the effort and attend the bill signing ceremony.
Call to Stop Bill to Toss out Citizen Initiatives
Ask your two representatives to oppose SCR1034! SCR1034 (voter protection act; court determinations) refers to the ballot a measure to allow the Legislature to amend, supersede or appropriate or divert funds created by an initiative or referendum measure approved by the voters if the measure is found to contain any illegal or unconstitutional language by the Arizona or US Supreme Court. This would allow the legislature to throw out an entire measure, even if a small part was successfully challenged and would blow a big hole in the Voter Protection Act. Read the press release on SCR1034.
Last Chance to Stop Bills Targeting Citizen Initiatives
There are several bills moving through the Arizona Legislature aimed at weakening or dismantling our citizen initiative process. These measures are close to floor votes, so please take action now!
Stop CAFO Protection Bill
🚨URGENT! Help Stop CAFO Protection Bill! 🚨 Please call your Arizona State Legislators now and ask them to Vote NO on SB1448, which protects concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) at the expense of rural residents, animals, and communities! TAKE ACTION!
Bill to Ban Convicted Animal Abusers from Owning Pets Passes Legislature
Thanks to a new law sponsored by Rep John Kavanagh, convicted animal abusers will be prohibited from owning pets for specified time periods. Until this bill (HB2483) passed, Arizona has had no mandatory requirements for keeping convicted animal abusers from owning pets, which is the most effective way to ensure that a convicted animal abuser does not reoffend. The new law also directs courts to require the convicted abusers to complete a psychiatric examination and any necessary mental health treatment before their right to possess a pet is restored. Thanks to Debra Nolen with Don’t Leave Me for initiating the bill, and to Animal Defense League of Arizona and Humane Voters of AZ volunteers for their help. Read KOLD News article on bill.
Stop Legislature’s Attack on Citizen Initiatives
There are several bills moving through the Arizona Legislature aimed at dismantling citizen initiatives – our most important tool for protecting animals. All of these measures are close to floor votes, so please contact your legislators today! ACT NOW!
Legislature Passes Bill to Rescue Pets of Deceased Owners
A measure to allow landlords to save a tenant’s pet in the event of their death or incapacitation was passed and signed into law. House Bill 2507, “Matthew’s Law,” was introduced by Rep Shannon Bolick at the request of Meagan Epstein in response to her cousin Matthew Meisner’s murder last year. His four cats were locked in his apartment without food and water because they were considered personal property under Arizona law. Meagan was finally able to rescue them, and made it her mission to change the law. Read the Arizona Republic article on the bill.
Act Now to Stop Right to Harm Bills
Your help is needed to stop the Right to Harm bills in the Arizona Legislature. HB2372 and SB1224 would prevent citizens from taking action against agricultural operations with large numbers of confined animals. Lawmakers could vote on these bills at any time, so TAKE ACTION NOW!
2020 Legislative Session
Update: Act Now to Stop Bills Damaging to Animals!
There are several bills moving through the Arizona Legislature that would negatively impact wildlife, domestic animals, and our citizen initiative process. Learn more in Animal Defense League of Arizona’s Legislative Alert
Update: Animal Protection Bills Introduced
HB2062 animal fighting paraphernalia; offense (Kavanagh), prohibits a person from knowingly owning, possessing, purchasing, selling, transferring or manufacturing animal fighting paraphernalia that engages in, promotes or facilitates animal fighting or cockfighting. Thanks to the Humane Society of the United States – Arizona for their efforts on this legislation. Humane Voters of Arizona supports this bill.
HB2531 pet dealers; state preemption; repeal (Shah), repeals the 2016 law language that preempted local ordinances banning sale of dogs from puppy mills. Thanks to the Humane Society of the United States – Arizona for their efforts on this legislation. Humane Voters of Arizona supports this bill.
HB2537 cat declawing; prohibitions; exceptions (Shah), prohibits the practice of declawing cats unless it is for therapeutic purposes related to a medical condition. Humane Voters of Arizona supports this bill.
HB2652 unauthorized racing meetings; penalties; racketeering (Kavanagh), provides a felony 6 charge for unauthorized racing; adds offense under state racketeering statute. Humane Voters of Arizona supports this bill.
2019 Legislative Session
2019 Legislative Report & Scorecard
The 2019 Arizona Legislative Report and Scorecard is now posted on the HVA website. You can access it here.
Update: Arizona Becomes a Safer Place for Pets and Families
Arizona has become a safer place for animals thanks to all the legislators, government officials, and animal advocates who helped to get the felony cruelty bill passed. HB2671, a landmark anti-cruelty bill, officially becomes state law on August 27, 2019. This milestone victory ensures animal abusers will face stronger penalties in the worst cases of cruelty – the ones where abusers violently kill or seriously injure an animal.
This new law will prevent extreme cases of animal abuse from being charged at the lowest class 6 felony level, which are often reduced to a misdemeanor. Egregious cruelty cases will now be charged as a higher class 5 felony, which cannot be plea bargained down to a misdemeanor.
From now on, animal abusers will no longer be able to kill or torture a family pet and end up with zero jail time and no court supervised probation. This is a much-needed change that gives prosecutors the tools to ensure the sentence better reflects the severity of the crime.
Humane Voters of Arizona and its partner groups have worked tirelessly over the last four years to pass this legislation which helps protect animals, families, and communities throughout our state. This could not have happened without all of the calls, emails, and outreach to legislators from animal advocates.
Pet Protection Bill Passes Legislature and Signed into Law!
HB2671 passed the AZ Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Ducey. This new law will prevent the most egregious cases of animal abuse from being reduced to misdemeanors. No longer will abusers be able to kill or torture a family pet and end up with zero jail time and no court supervised probation or treatment. The law will help protect not only pets, but families and communities throughout Arizona. Read more
Pet Protection Bill Passes Senate
Victory! Thanks to your support, HB2671, the bill that strengthens penalties for heinous pet abuse, passed the Arizona Senate today by a 20-9-1 vote! Please thank your senator if he/she voted ‘yes’ House in the coming weeks. You helped rescue this important legislation. We will need your voice again for the House vote and will keep you updated. Learn more here.
It’s time to stop protecting pet abusers – we need you to take action TODAY!
Police Dog Harassment Bill Passes Legislature, Signed by Gov Ducey
A measure to prohibit harassment of working dogs in police cars passed the Arizona Legislature and was signed into law.
HB2421 animal cruelty; working animal; harassment (Blackman) expands Arizona’ animal cruelty law to include intentionally or knowingly harassing a working animal in a law enforcement vehicle and classifies the violation as a class 1 misdemeanor. Rep Blackman and Brian Tassinari testified in committee that the bill is designed to address incidents of harassment of police dogs.
HB2421 passed the House unanimously and passed the Senate 29-1 (Sen Mendez cast the lone ‘no’ vote) and was signed by Governor Ducey. HVA and its partner groups in HLCA supported this bill.
It’s Time to Stop Protecting Pet Abusers
Despite overwhelming public support, the Arizona Legislature has refused to move responsible legislation that would strengthen penalties & treatment opportunities for severe animal abuse cases – some ending in slow, painful deaths for animals.
We are running out of time to get a new bill moving and we need your help.