It is the commencement of the new legislative season, and my ulcer, as I once again monitor proposed bills affecting animals and shelters. Though I’ve been involved in this for over a decade, both as spcaLA President and as chair of the State Humane Association legislative committee, I hate it.
Why must we legislate everything? I feel we are over regulating ourselves ad nauseam for no reason. Many statutes, like our animal cruelty statute, are intentionally general to be all encompassing and flexible so as to permit diverse applications and to subsume novel scenarios. Just say no to redundancy and minutiae.
It is also time to stop voting on the captions and begin to understand the actual content of proposed bills. Exogenous parties, organizations, interests, agendas, and publicity campaigns place bills with attractive and important captions before the legislators and the public, which if read carefully say something else or accomplish nothing. Just say no when the caption and the content don’t match. Just say no to playing the pawn in someone else’s game.
With the current sentiment to dump incumbents, it is incumbent upon our elected officials to drill down and regulate meaningfully. They must understand what is relevant and necessary to their constituents and not be fooled by those with special interests who would misuse the legislative process to promote an agenda that is not commensurate with said interests. And we, the people, must commit to reading past the captions and insist that our elected officials legislate responsibly and on our behalf. Like the Spanish proverb says, “Laws, like the spider’s web, can catch the fly and let the hawk go free.”
President, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los