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February 15, 2008  
Your opinion matters! Olympia needs your voice to protect Washington State's animals

Your representatives need to hear from you this month about the bills that will affect animals in 2008 and beyond---the legislative session only runs through March 12! Of the animal-related bills PAWS is monitoring three bills below need your immediate action. Use the talking points under each bill and make it your personal goal today to speak out for animals!

  1. Support emergency animal planning in Washington State with SSB 5106!
    The Animal Emergency Planning bill requires state and local agencies to create plans for service animals and companion animals in the event of a disaster or emergency. Washington State households share their lives with an estimated 3 million animals, making this bill crucial to our state's emergency disaster planning. Given the recent tragedy in our state---the 2007 winter floods that left thousands of animals in southwestern Washington injured or drowned---this bill takes measures to protect citizens and their animals. Despite this, SSB 5106 is still meeting opposition, which is why it's so critical that legislators hear from you. Respectfully urge your representatives to support this important emergency planning bill.

  2. Tell your representatives you oppose HB 2438 which allows hound hunting of cougars.
    HB 2438 is unfortunately gaining momentum in the legislature and is backed by state department officials as a practical wildlife management tool. However, this bill is not about wildlife management, but rather about recreational hunting. State wildlife agents already have the authority to remove "problem cougars" with hounds when public safety is a concern. HB 2438 would make hound hunting of cougars---problem or not---a permanent hunting practice in five counties, and allow other counties to opt in if they meet minimal requirements.

    The debate over where cougars belong in Washington State's ecosystem is filled with controversy and contradiction. Recent studies have shown that cougar populations are actually in decline. There is also still no evidence to support the use of dogs to hunt cougars as the best method for reducing human-cougar conflicts. And yet, while the legislature discusses the fate of Washington's cougar population---residing on wild lands that continue to shrink due to human encroachment---others proposed making the cougar our state mammal! Don't let HB 2438 circumvent the wishes of Washington citizens---our state overwhelmingly voted to ban the widespread hunting of cougars with hounds in 1996 with passage of I-655.

    Contact your representative today and respectfully remind them it is their responsibility to uphold the wishes of Washington citizens by opposing bill HB 2438. Insist that our state finds humane methods for managing and coexisting with Washington's most reclusive and ecologically essential wild cat.

  3. Support healthy pets in Washington State with SB 6408!
    The Healthy Pets bill, also known as the "pet lemon law," gives consumers a legal means to seek reimbursement if they've purchased sick pets from pet stores or breeders. The bill also requires pet dealers to disclose certain information about pets they are selling, to maintain records of animals sold, and it prohibits dealers from selling animals with obvious signs of diseases or other health conditions. Dealers would be required to post notification of the purchasers' rights in the store---an important means of consumer education. Tell your senator that you support Healthy Pets Bill SB 6408 so that citizens have a right to legal recourse when they become unfortunate victims of purchasing a sick pet from a pet dealer.

Sending an e-mail to your representative is EASY!

Calling your representative is FAST!

  • Find your legislators at the Washington State Legislature's website.
  • Dial the legislative hotline toll-free: 1.800.562.6000 or for hearing impaired: 1.800.635.9993
  • Hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Ask to speak with the aide handling the issue you are concerned about.
  • Use the info above to help you voice your opinion to your representatives.
  • Be courteous, brief and leave your phone number, e-mail and home address.
Tell PAWS how you advocated for animals

Share with us what you did to contact your representatives about 2008 bills affecting animals. Was it easy? Did we give you enough information about the bills? Did you get a response? We want to hear it all. E-mail us, or cc us on your e-mails to the legislature at info@paws.org.

Thank you for speaking out for those who have no voice. Together we are creating a better world for animals.

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Northwest leader in protecting animals since 1967, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) shelters homeless animals, rehabilitates injured and orphaned wildlife, and empowers people to demonstrate compassion and respect for animals in their daily lives.

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