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Hobson: New Law Will Establish Safeguards Against Animal Cruelty

A new law intended to keep cases of animal abuse and neglect from going unnoticed will provide important safeguards against tragic cases of animal cruelty, said Sen. Cal Hobson.

Hobson, Senate author of House Bill 1672, said the signing of the new law represented the culmination of years of hard work by many people in an effort to secure protections for animals in Oklahoma.

"I have been honored to be able to participate in this process and I'm pleased the hard work of so many has resulted in the passage of this new law," said Hobson, D-Lexington. "This legislation contains a number of strong provisions to ensure that animals victimized by neglect or cruelty are treated in a humane manner."

The bill requires veterinarians to report suspected abuse of livestock or other animals to local law enforcement within 24 hours of an examination. Hobson noted the bill will make veterinarians immune from any civil liability in such cases.

"The bill is designed to prevent the tragedy of animal neglect and abuse by ensuring that the proper authorities are made aware of any such situation," Hobson added. "It was important that we establish these safeguards without placing an undue burden on veterinarians and local law enforcement, and the bill does just that. The signing of this bill was a very important moment for all Oklahomans who love and appreciate animals."

Rep. Bill Nations, House author of the bill, said the most critical aspect of the new law is the requirement of reporting abuse within 24 hours.

"The unfortunate reality is that many instances of animal abuse and neglect are not discovered by authorities until it's far too late," said Nations, D-Norman. "This bill is specifically geared to remedy that problem and stop cases of animal abuse and neglect from going unnoticed. Many people were involved in the process of crafting this legislation over the past two years, and I'm very happy these provisions are now law."

Additional provisions of HB 1672 provide regulations relating to custody procedures for abused or neglected animals, as well as appropriate procedures for removal of animals victimized by abuse, and humane methods of disposal.

The provisions of HB 1672 will officially become law on November 1, 2006.