Anti-Cruelty Bill


The Animal Anti-Cruelty Bill SSB 5501 is a great bill that will help prevent and address animal cruelty. But it has one section that does the opposite, and creates opportunities for animal cruelty and neglect to go unpunished.

Agriculture and Farming practices were not impacted by the original bill. However a last-minute harmful amendment—Section 7—was added during the House floor vote that will have damaging effects by removing protections under current law for abused and neglected animals owned by hobby or backyard “farmers”.

After a call to action to animal lovers across Washington State in late April, we're delighted to report that Governor Inslee signed the Anti-Cruelty Bill and vetoed Section 7Read the full report, from Senator Joe Fain's office, here.

Governor Inslee signs the Anti-Cruelty Bill, in the presence of supporters

On behalf of PAWS and the animals in our community, thank you for your support and for taking action!

More on the Anti-Cruelty Bill

Senate Bill 5501 focuses on closing loopholes and improving the current animal cruelty statutes relating to the crimes of animal cruelty in the first and second degree, animal fighting, and leaving and/or confining an animal in a motor vehicle or certain enclosed spaces.

S.B. 5501 is a comprehensive approach to strengthening Washington state laws on animal abuse. Animal Control Officers and prosecutors would benefit from the changes proposed in this bill so they can more effectively address animal neglect and abuse.

S.B. 5501 will prohibit all forms of organized animal fighting, and it addresses the challenge prosecutors face in proving “undue suffering” by including “intentional acts” that cause substantial pain, physical injury or death of an animal. It will also address situations when Law Enforcement personnel are trying to assist an animal confined to a car or small space in a manner that poses significant danger of death or injury.

The purpose of the bill is to clarify, remove inconsistencies and make minor revisions to state laws that define and address animal cruelty. It will aid animal control officers and prosecutors in their work to prevent and address animal cruelty and the negative impacts it has upon Washington communities.

View and download key facts on this Bill from The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies.