Best Friends Blog
 

Kitty Kitty Bang Bang: what do Stephen Colbert, feral cats and a guy named LaVar have in common?

Ahhh …  Utah.  As a current resident and native Utahn, I have a special relationship to this great state of mine.   Utah is a treasure trove of unmatched natural beauty, has some of the best skiing on the planet and most importantly, is well on the way to realizing No More Homeless Pets.  There’s definitely a lot to be proud of in Utah, but sometimes in this square-ish (geographically speaking) western state, we mix the absurd with the bizarre.

The most recent round of Utah oddities is a piece of legislation introduced by Representative Oda, HB 210, which provides an exemption from cruelty charges for anyone who kills an animal, which he/she reasonably judges to be feral.   This could mean open season on granny’s outdoor cats with neighbor Zebediah’s latest Christmas gift — a Browning 1911. (side note: currently there is a proposed law to make this fire arm the official gun of the State of Utah.  Yes I know— state flower, state song…and now a state gun, of course!)   Representative Oda’s bill even made it to the desk of Stephen Colbert.

Last night dozens of Best Friends staff and volunteers, including Best Friends CEO Gregory Castle (read Gregory’s blog on HB 210) were up at the Utah State Capitol speaking out on behalf of Utah’s animals.   After an unusual and extended two-hour debate in the Utah House Judiciary Committee, a motion by Representative LaVar Christensen sealed the fate of HB 210 and struck language from the bill that would open the door for people to kill animals without a cruelty charge.

This effort combined with an unprecedented deluge of emails and phone calls from you, led to victory for the animals last night.   Indeed, one of the greatest things about Utah is the progressive nature of its animal-loving public and our collective drive to reach No More Homeless Pets.  For that, I am proud to call Utah my home.

Julie Castle
Director, Community Programs and Services

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  • Pingback: Utah's Feral Cats Meow a Sigh of Relief and Cheer in Victory! | The Best Friends Blog()

  • Britt14318

    if u can shoot a cat, u should just shoot ur self

  • Jackie

    I take care of a few feral cats here in the city, In fact Im looking for a no kill shelter for them since Im thinking of moving. The city came and round them up and neutered them for me free of charge a few years ago. The winters are getting worse and I think it would be best if they could be in a shelter for the rest of their lives.

  • Cambridge Rat Mom

    I’m glad that was nipped in the bud. Any ideas why he thought this was necessary? Any idea why he didn’t do some research, talk to a few people and try to find out how to deal with feral animals? Any idea why he’s in politics? Hope they vote him out on the next round…or maybe shoot him ’cause he’s feral?!

  • Dnigro6

    I hope Representative Oda never has plans for a national office.

  • Reta Davis

    Amen. That was bill that opened the door to major abuse. So happy to see it defeated.

  • Donna and my Cat Kids

    This is FANTASTIC news! I was so concerned about Oda’s proposal and disheartened in every respect to think that our government would open the door for cruelty and abuse which is what HB210 would have done. I am so happy to know that it did not pass that my heart is pounding! We can make changes in this world; one person at a time. Great job!!!!!!!!!

  • Anni

    Congratulations! That’s great news!

  • Loriaguirre51

    Bottom line…from rednecks,to white trash,to the ghetto,anyone who abuses or kills an animal should spend more jail time and pay extreme fines directly to animal organizations. Rep. Oda,you are a typical ignorant politician,even to consider shooting feral cats. Maybe we should be allowed to shoot abusive humans… they are more of a problem than any animal I’bve encountered…

    • KB Sisco

      Was wondering why you are limiting “anyone who abuses or kills animals” to just rednecks, white trash or the ghetto. Many regular sububanities folk are just as likely to commit animal cruelty. I do agree with you that anyone who abuses or kills an animal should spend more jail time & pay extreme fines directly to animal organizations.

      • Eric

        That was very good point, I usually think of those stereotypes too, but we all have to remember that there are very otherwise seemingly “normal” people who are just completely horrible to animals. Probably because they are such easy targets for mean people who are usually cowards and want to take it out on something helpless (an animal, a child, etc.) Maybe Loriaguirre51’s point was that anyone who shoots and animal IS a peice of ghetto trailer trash at least mentally. I could agree with that.

      • Eric

        That was very good point, I usually think of those stereotypes too, but we all have to remember that there are very otherwise seemingly “normal” people who are just completely horrible to animals. Probably because they are such easy targets for mean people who are usually cowards and want to take it out on something helpless (an animal, a child, etc.) Maybe Loriaguirre51’s point was that anyone who shoots and animal IS a peice of ghetto trailer trash at least mentally. I could agree with that.

  • The Mom of 3 cats

    Good work! Keep it up. I know it is hard but every little critter is worth it.

  • Eric

    This is great news, and although I do appreciate No More Homeless Pets and Best Friends Animal Society, I don’t think they are a fair reflection of Utah. From Living in Utah for six years, talking to, and observing the population, I’d have to say that this seems like a huge redneck state. How can I be so negative after hearing such good news? I’m just taking in the day to day experiences I’ve had here.

    I won’t go into the threats, ignorance, and meanness that came out of me simply doing some trap, neuter, release, and feeding of some feral cats – there are people everywhere too stupid and lazy to listen to the reasoning that I’m causing there to be less cats not more.

    It’s the mundane stuff like the number of people who don’t use leashes, and apparently aren’t too worried about their dogs being killed. “My dog’s so stupid, he’s been hit by a car twice.” Well….do you think maybe YOU are the stupid one for letting him run around unrestrained? I can’t believe how many people have told me “I don’t like cats, every time I had one, it gets run over.” Or this proud line (which made me immediately decide not tell this person I was fostering a cat looking for a forever home) “Every time I get a cat, my kids let it run out too soon and it gets lost.” Or my least favorite people: the breeders: the frightening number of people who mostly aren’t on skid row (like my neighbor, the car lot owner) who need to make a little “easy cash” by breeding their family mutt and selling puppies. I’ve seen so much white trash selling puppies in Walmart’s parking lot, I want to vomit. Or the people who don’t want to spend one dime neutering their animal, because, oh she won’t get out again (well….bet you said that right before she got pregnant.)
    From what I’ve seen Best Friends and No More Homeless Pets are a few exceptional people (and yes, many donors who make it all possible….they are from all over the country, though) who for coincidental reasons which have NOTHING to do with our population just happened to wind up here.

    • Bkind2critters

      Sadly, this kind of behavior is not limited to Utah. There are people like this pretty much anywhere you go in this country. Thank goodness for all of the wise animal lovers who work so hard to educate the people you described and to care for the animals left behind by those too ignorant to do what is right and humane.

  • Barndiva

    Nice to hear good news for a change! Oh, and I want that blue kitty.

  • shanna

    Wooohooo! Good job everyone!!

  • AmyLou

    Great news! Any bill that prvides and exemption to cruety charges is crazy. What the heck are people thinking when they try to pass junk like that? (Side note: the Browning 1911 is a great handgun.)

    • Lovefelines2003

      A great handgun? Sorry, didn’t think that any gun was great in anyway…..

  • save them

    Wonderful news! You can’t make the world a better place for humans and animals if you are apathetic.

  • Lovefelines2003

    FABULOUS NEWS!!! Thanks so much for letting us know Julie! So glad to know that those of us who couldn’t be there possibly helped by sending emails, writing letters etc……a great win for the animals of Utah!! And thanks to the staff, volunteers, CEO Castle, and all who attended the debate. Great job all!