Do Not Complicate or Punish the Reporting of Animal Abuse

Target: Senator Jack Williams, Alabama State Senate

Goal: Do not make the reporting of animal abuse more difficult or even punishable under the Department of Agriculture.

A new Alabama bill gives the Department of Agriculture authority over animal industry and the reporting of animal cruelty throughout the state. The bill, entitled Senate Bill 196, will make it more difficult to report animal neglect or abuse and will possibly deter citizens from reporting at all.

If Senate Bill 196 is passed, all laws, ordinances and rules passed by counties and municipalities regarding the regulation, treatment, sale, production and transportation of animals will disappear unless it deals with zoning or a business license. In addition, an individual who reports abuse that could be considered “frivolous” could incur serious punishment. The bill states that, unless an animal has suffered serious physical injury or has died as a result of abuse and/or neglect, the person who filed the complaint could be charged with a class c misdemeanor, possible jail time and up to 500 dollars in fines. This process will likely deter some individuals from reporting the abuse.

If the complaint is considered legitimate by the bill’s standards, a judge must sign off on it for the animal to be removed, which can take up to ten days. Animal rights organizations and advocates worry that ten days is too long to save many animals that face potentially fatal circumstances of abuse.

Allison Black Cornelius, CEO of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, does not believe that the Department of Agriculture has the time or resources to ensure the proper protection of animals facing neglect. “How in the world would the Department of Agriculture have enough employees to go run every single alleged neglect and abuse call for every single citizen for 67 counties…” she said.

The bill has passed the senate committee and is set to be voted on the senate floor. Sign below to urge Senator Jack Williams of Alabama, the bill’s sponsor, to stop the bill from being passed.


Dear Senator Williams,

Senate Bill 196 will threaten the safety of animals in a variety of different ways. It is hard to believe that the Department of Agriculture has the time and resources to spend on the reporting of animal abuse among 67 different counties in Alabama. In addition, this bill gives legitimacy only to the most serious cases, which is to say that any treatment that doesn’t result in serious injury or death doesn’t qualify as abuse.

The fact that an individual concerned over the safety of an animal can be charged with a misdemeanor, face jail time and be fined is completely backwards. In addition, it clearly represents that the Department of Agriculture does not qualify to regulate the safety of animals.

I encourage you to consider the welfare of the countless animals that are abused and neglected every day by ceasing to sponsor Senate Bill 196 and stop it from being passed.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ian Sane

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