The 2022 Legislative Session
This year, Utah’s legislative session officially starts on Tuesday, January 18. With just 45 short days in the session, it is sure to be a whirlwind! The Humane Society of Utah’s advocacy team will be posted at the Utah State Capitol every day of the session, ready to educate legislators on the companion animal welfare issues facing our state.
There are quite a few bills up for consideration this year that will impact pets and their people. Read on to see the bills we have brought forth and the bills we are supporting this session. We will keep an updated list of the bills we are supporting, and their progress, on our website throughout the session.
- Protection of Animals Amendments (HB 175) – Sponsored by Rep. Angela Romero, House District 26. We have partnered with Ruff Haven Crisis Sheltering for this important bill. This bill will allow survivors of domestic violence to include their pets in personal protective orders. Abusers often use violence or threats of violence against a victim’s pet as a psychological tool to manipulate and further control the victim. The fear of an abuser causing harm to a beloved animal often delays victims from leaving an abusive household or stops them from fleeing entirely. In fact, nearly 50% of domestic violence victims have delayed leaving their abuser out of fear of harm to their pets. The intent of this legislation is to ensure that survivors can protect themselves and their pets sooner.
- Transportation of Dogs Act (HB 92) – Sponsored by Rep. Ashlee Matthews, House District 38. This bill protects public safety and animal welfare by specifying the methods by which a dog can be transported on a truck bed. Dogs riding unrestrained in a truck bed are at risk of being ejected from the vehicle in the event of an accident, are exposed to unforgiving Utah weather conditions, and risk being struck by flying debris. Unrestrained companion animals also pose a risk to public safety and contribute to distracted driving. The intent of this legislation is to ensure that dogs are properly and safely restrained on highways to prevent them from becoming projectiles, causing injury or death to themselves or others on the roadway.
Bills We Support
- Animal Shelter Amendments (SB 69) – Sponsored by Sen. David Hinkins, Senate District 27. This bill will mandate euthanasia-by-injection in animal shelters throughout Utah for non-emergency euthanasia. Utah is one of very few states that still allow euthanasia by gas chamber. While there are a lot of hurdles for companion animal welfare in our state, inhumane euthanasia should not be one of them. The intent of this bill is to ban gas chamber euthanasia, which we at the Humane Society of Utah fully support!
- Animal Fighting Penalties (HB 112) – Sponsored by Rep. Marsha Judkins, District 61. This bill will expand the animal fighting laws in Utah to apply to all animals, not just dogs, and roosters. While dogfighting and cockfighting are the most commonly known forms of animal fighting, many different species of animals, when pitted against one another by bad actors, can and do fight. The intent of this legislation is to ensure animals of any species are not forced to fight, and if they are, the greedy humans involved are met with legal consequences.
Here’s hoping for a successful legislative session, where animal welfare wins and changes in our laws make it a little easier to Change Their World.