Last Thursday, public testimony was heard in support of AB 141/ SB 97, a pet protection bill, before the Judiciary Committee of Wisconsin’s State Assembly.
Patience was a virtue by those who came to testify, as the 10 am committee meeting went unusually long due to other hot topic bills on the agenda. It was 2:00 pm when attention turned to the bill that would allow domestic violence victims to include their pets on emergency protection orders. The atmosphere was positive and most committee members seemed supportive of the bill as it was written.
The bill was presented by Rep. Andre Jacque, who was joined by Rep. Terese Berceau and Sen. Tim Carpenter. They described themselves as “a bi-partisan dream team,” eliciting laughter from those in the room.
In addition to the legislators presenting prepared statements and research as to why this bill is important to Wisconsin, Sen. Carpenter gave a summary on the bill’s unanimous passage in the Senate. He also reported on the public testimony heard on behalf of SB 97/AB 141 in the State Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee and read the list of those individuals and agencies who had formally registered their support. (See previous blog entries.)
Rep. Jim Ott, Chair of the Judiciary Committee, stated he sat in on that public hearing and was moved by the testimony and stories of victims. He also reminded members of the special place pets have in their owners’ hearts.
“Imagine how good you will feel after this bill passes,” he said.
Those who provided testimony last Thursday also spoke at last month’s Senate committee meeting in favor of the bill. They included Crystal Hester, representing the National Association of Social Workers, Wisconsin chapter, and Tony Gibart, public policy director of End Domestic Abuse WI.
At the end of the hearing, Chairman Ott announced that the committee’s executive vote is scheduled for June 4, 2015. We’ll keep you posted. Have a safe and peaceful holiday weekend.
Denice Ryan Martin, a volunteer with Wisconsin Voters for Companion Animals, is a freelance writer, licensed social worker and animal welfare advocate. She first wrote about this topic in May 2013. http://www.wivotersforcompanionanimals.com/blog/leave-no-pet-behind-why-wisconsin-needs-a-law-to-protectpetsfrom-domestic-violence