Six Animal Protection Bills Passed by Legislature
The 2022 session of the Arizona Legislature was one of the longest sessions in state history. Six bills that will help protect animals were passed and signed into law. Three of the measures were sponsored by Representative John Kavanagh, a long-time advocate for animals. His efforts include legislation that prohibits insurance companies from raising rates or denying people homeowners’ insurance based solely on the breed of dog they keep. Another bill adds a criminal penalty for bringing a minor to a cockfight or animal fight. And he also sponsored a measure that requires scanning dogs and cats for a microchip and making a reasonable attempt to contact their owners.
Representative Amish Shah and Senator J.D. Mesnard sponsored the new law that allows municipalities in Maricopa and Pima Counties to prohibit the overnight use of consumer fireworks except for two hours permitted on July 4 and December 31. Rep. Shah, an emergency medicine physician, has been a tireless champion for animals. This session he again sponsored legislation to prohibit declawing of cats, a painful, unnecessary procedure which can cause significant medical issues. He and Senator Sean Bowie also reintroduced separate bills aimed at stopping pet stores from selling dogs from puppy mills. While those bills failed to pass, we have no doubt Rep. Shah will not give up on these important measures. Sen. Bowie is not seeking reelection but we thank him for his efforts.
A new law sponsored by Rep. T.J. Shope establishes the Arizona Veterinary Loan Assistance Program to address Arizona’s veterinary shortage by providing incentives to keep veterinarians working within the state.
Another new law, sponsored by Representative Shawnna Bolick, prohibits anyone on probation for an animal cruelty violation and commits a second animal abuse offense from possessing or having contact with any animal as a condition of release.
Thanks to all of the animal advocates who contacted their lawmakers in support of these bills. Your efforts were instrumental in getting animal protection measures passed and signed into law. Information on all bills, sponsors, votes, and other details are included in the 2022 HVA Legislative Report.
Bills Passed and Signed into Law
HB2323 homeowner’s insurance; dogs; nondiscrimination (Kavanagh) bans breed discrimination by insurance companies. Prior to this bill’s passage, insurance companies have been able deny or drop coverage and charge higher premiums based solely on the breed of the family dog. HB2323, sponsored by Rep. John Kavanagh, prohibits insurance companies from hiking rates or denying people homeowners’ insurance based on the type of dog they keep. HB2323 passed the Senate 26-1-3, passed the House 43-10-7, and was signed into law by Governor Ducey (read more in 2022 HVA Legislative Report)
HB2324 animal fighting; cockfighting; minors presence (Kavanagh: Shah) is an emergency measure that classifies, as a class 1 misdemeanor, knowingly causing, allowing or assisting a minor to attend an animal fight or cockfight or any place where fight preparations are being made. Cockfighting and animal fighting are already illegal in Arizona. This bill charges people who bring minors to cockfights or animal fighting contests with an additional penalty. HB2324 passed the House 59-0-1, passed the Senate 24-2-4, and was signed into law by Governor Ducey (read more in 2022 HVA Legislative Report)
HB2372 animal cruelty; release conditions (Bolick) prohibits a person serving a term of probation for a cruelty to animals violation and who has committed a new animal cruelty violation from possessing or having contact with any animal as a condition of release. In 2021, the Arizona Legislature passed a law that prevents persons convicted of extreme animal cruelty to own an animal or live in a house with one for a certain period of time. HB2372 applies these restrictions to someone who is currently serving a term of probation for a cruelty to animals offense and has committed a new animal cruelty offense on the person’s own recognizance or on the execution of bail. HB2372 passed the House 59-0-1, passed the Senate 26-0-4, and was signed into law by Governor Ducey (read more in 2022 HVA Legislative Report)
HB2626 animal handling; microchip scan (Kavanagh: Shah) requires all dogs and cats to be scanned for the presence of a microchip and reasonable effort made to contact the owner upon being impounded at a county pound, city or town facility, a veterinarian or humane society. The bill also requires that all deceased dogs and cats be scanned for a microchip and reasonable effort made to contact the owner when found in a public place and brought to a county pound, city or town facility, a veterinarian or humane society. HB2626 passed the Senate 26-1-3, passed the House 42-15-3, and was signed into law by Governor Ducey (read more in 2022 HVA Legislative Report)
SB1271 Arizona veterinary loan assistance program (Shope) establishes the Arizona Veterinary Loan Assistance Program to address Arizona’s veterinary shortage by providing incentives to keep veterinarians working within the state. The Program will provide student loan reimbursement, up to $100,000, to veterinarians who graduated from school after January 1, 2023. To qualify for the reimbursement veterinarians must work in Arizona for at least 4 years, and it will be required for two of those years spent at a municipal, county, or nonprofit shelter or in an agricultural practice in a rural area. HB1271 passed the Senate 27-2-1 but was held in the House. However, the bill was included in the Arizona budget and signed into law by Governor Ducey (read more in 2022 HVA Legislative Report)
HB2226 (Shah: Bowers, Longdon, Pawlik) and SB1275 (Mesnard: Shah) fireworks; use; overnight hours; prohibition, allows cities and towns in Maricopa and Pima Counties to prohibit the overnight use of consumer fireworks except for two hours permitted on July 4 and December 31. While this new law will not end the use of fireworks, it is a significant step, especially considering the challenges of passing legislation to ban consumer fireworks.
Fireworks are especially terrifying for homeless shelter dogs, which raises costs for taxpayers, donors, animal rescues and shelters. SB1275 passed the Senate 23-6-1, passed the House 36-21-3, and was signed into law by Governor Ducey (read more in 2022 HVA Legislative Report)
While not an actual legislative victory, the Cage-Free Egg Rule was passed as a state regulation. Bills sponsored by Rep Kavanagh to provide more humane requirements for egg-laying hens, which failed in the 2020 and 2021 sessions, were passed on a regulatory level by the Arizona Dept. of Agriculture. The new rule (R22-62) requires that eggs produced and sold in Arizona must come from hens free from cage confinement by 2025. Thanks to HSUS-AZ for their efforts on the legislative and administrative levels to pass this regulation (read more in 2022 HVA Legislative Report)
There were several animal protection bills that failed to pass the Legislature in the 2022 session, including a measure to ban the inhumane, unnecessary declawing of cats; two bills aimed at pet store sale of puppy mill dogs; and legislation to repeal the special-interest board that controls the appointment of candidates to the Arizona Game & Fish Commission.
HVA, Animal Defense League of Arizona, and other groups will work to pass these bills in upcoming sessions. Special thanks to Humane Voters of Arizona’s volunteer lobbyist Martha German and ADLA’s volunteer lobbyist Don Bentley for their substantial efforts on pro-animal legislation.
Please let us know if you have questions or comments on legislation. Email Karen Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.