Oklahoma Bill to Defund Animal Welfare Organizations Dies a Merciful Death

By on April 12, 2016 with 7 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Through the platform of A Humane Nation, I report on so many good developments for animals — from retailers switching to cage-free or crate-free animal products, to major companies going fur-free, to the swell of global outrage over the killing of endangered animals for trophies or profit, to the recent burst of federal rule-making actions for animals. But make no mistake, we are still in a fight for the lives of animals, and there are special interests and lawmakers beholden to them who want to thwart our progress.

I am glad to report that one very bad idea, coming out of Oklahoma, is dead, at least for now.  A key Oklahoma Senate committee has chosen not to take up a bill to ban charitable giving by the state’s citizens to animal welfare groups.

The bill was patently unconstitutional and could have never survived a court challenge, but it’s still good news that we will not to have to endure the expense or time required to initiate a courtroom battle to address this threat.

The bill was predicated on the notion that no animal welfare group should be involved in lobbying lawmakers in support of anti-cruelty policies and that no group should work on a national scale to fight cruelty to animals. How absurd, and how transparent an attempt by these lawmakers to try to give a free ride to their allies in the cockfighting, puppy mill, and factory farming lobbies.

The Oklahoma bill would have tried to deny us funding from private citizens in support of a lifesaving raid we did weeks ago just over the state line, in Madison County, Arkansas. Our team, working with law enforcement, rescued 295 dogs who were covered in filth and feces and denied access to clean water or any kind of medical care. There was no local group to handle a crisis of this scale, and if The HSUS hadn’t intervened, there would have been suffering and death for these dogs.  Instead, they now will all have tender care and loving homes.

Ever since these attacks on us by a handful of Oklahoma lawmakers, we have been doubling down in the state — doing precisely the opposite of what these lawmakers want.  We have increased our staff size in Oklahoma and we are expanding our training and hands-on programs there.

Earlier this spring, we trained more than 700 law enforcement officials in investigating animal cruelty crimes.  Since then, our allies in law enforcement have taken action against several animal cruelty perpetrators.

After attending the Humane Oklahoma Law Enforcement training, the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office contacted us regarding an animal cruelty case involving a half dozen horses and 20 or so cattle. The owner has been charged with cruelty to animals previously and has warrants out for her arrest. We have been providing guidance and expertise for this case. Our Safe Stalls partner, Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue in Oklahoma, assisted law enforcement for this case. We will be providing financial assistance to Blaze’s for the initial expenses related to the animals’ veterinary assessment and care.  Blaze’s has assisted with two equine cruelty cases in the last two weeks that have come in from law enforcement officials who attended our training.

We just wonder what kind of cruelty these few lawmakers are trying to protect.  We know they are trying to defund opponents of their overreaching and radical “right to farm” measure (SQ 777), a battle set for this November’s election ballot.  And it’s clear to us that they are working to unravel the state’s law against cockfighting and to work against our efforts to crack down on puppy mills and extreme confinement of animals on factory farms. We won’t be intimidated.

We are glad their animal welfare defunding bill is dead.  We’ll now turn our attention to defeating SQ 777 this fall.

Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals, Farm Animals, Opposition, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Sally Palmer says:

    Thank God and the Constitution and The HSUS and all who support their work to protect animals. The viciousness behind this move to defund animal welfare organizations is horrifying.

  2. David Bernazani says:

    Glad to hear Oklahoma’s proposed charitable funding ban is D.O.A. Now let’s hope their “Right to Harm” bill is also humanely euthanized before it’s enacted.

  3. Barbara G. says:

    Oklahoma is one of a large number of states that encourages horses being shipped to slaughter. The governor is all for horse slaughter the politicians were all for slaughter plants to open up in Oklahoma before Congress kept defunding the plant inspections which knocked the bottom out of their plans.
    If a plant or more were operated in that state the breeders would have easy access to a close slaughter plant it would give them someplace to dump their brood mares when the owner didn’t want them and where they could dump their foals if they couldn’t find buyers.

    • Floyd Gose says:

      80% of America opposes the slaughter of horses and 90% of horse owners and breeders are in favor of slaughter. Why is this the case and why do so many who know absolutely nothing about horses think it is their job to tell them what is best for animals they wouldn’t have a clue how to care for

  4. Pamela Beck says:

    I HAVE A DREAM, THAT WE COULD DO AWAY WITH PUPPY AND KITTEN MILLS … Then the shelters could be used for what they were intended, as a safe haven for lost pets until their family comes for them, or they need to find a new forever home. And pet stores could get back to selling pet supplies.

    Many blessings to all who work to make animals’ lives better. WE ARE THEIR VOICE! So I am using my voice to post this repeatedly, until it somehow falls into the hands of someone who has the authority and the courage to help us put an end to puppy and kitten mills forever.
    And these Mill owners need to be getting a real job.


    We will euthanize thousands of pets today at our animal shelters and city Animal Care & Control facilities. We will euthanize thousands of pets tomorrow too, and most every day. Unless our lawmakers put an end to the mass production in puppy and kitten mills, this pet overpopulation crisis is doomed to increase. We will never be able to “rehome.” adopt, spay/neuter or even euthanize our way out of this crisis as long as these mills are churning out pets like they were food animals. This is costing our government millions of tax dollars, which are OUR TAX DOLLARS! And they are being spent to kill pets that the mills are producing. Some even sell the dead, sick and drugged (from euthanasia and illness) animals to “rendering plants” to make pet food, making our unsuspecting pets into cannibals. And the AKC IS SUPPORTING THIS CRUELTY because they make tons of money registering these poor souls. They are of no help, even though they claim to be an advocate for pets, they have fought against regulations for their care. This is a vicious circle that never ends and has become a wasteful sinkhole of our tax revenues, leading many shelters to fail for lack of funding. This revenue could certainly be better spent elsewhere. The USDA has neglected to regulate this mill production, to the point that we are glutting our own tax systems. Our government must know that this can not continue. We The People must demand that our lawmakers vote with us, and not with the Ag Industries, to STOP THIS INSANITY!
    I will never understand how the USDA has any business having pets under the same regulations, (or lack thereof), as poultry, slaughter hogs and beef cattle. (But please don’t get me started on farm animal welfare)…WE DO NOT EAT DOGS AND CATS IN THIS COUNTRY! They are our pets and to some, our babies! THEY ARE NOT LIVESTOCK! And the USDA doesn’t have sufficient personnel to inspect these mills even once a year, let alone follow up visits to ensure that the infractions have been corrected. Our government must stop allowing them to be mass produced like they were food animals! And the conditions that we accept as “USDA approved” for these animals to live in, consist of a lifetime of horrific neglect and deprivation! These pets don’t even get to go to slaughter when they are old enough and fattened up. They live their entire lives in a cage, often left out in all kinds of weather, with little or no veterinary care. The female’s’ life is spent carrying, nursing, or grieving her lost babies, until she is bred yet again. Then about twice a year, the male shares her cage until mating is complete. Then he is returned to languish in his own filthy cage until it is time to breed again.
    This only ends for them when they die, or become “no longer good for breeding”. Then they auction them off or kill them or just let them loose to be hit by cars, starve, be killed by a wild animal, or eventually get picked up as a stray, which is the bulk of what fills our shelters. What happens to the others is unknown. I don’t know what, if any regulations exist for their “disposal,” but dead animal carcasses have been found on the property of some of these mills.

    Unfortunately, the financial influence of the Agricultural business has managed to supersede the horrific conditions of the animals, the pet overpopulation crisis, even the glutting of our own tax systems!
    Can you imagine if the beef producers were churning out millions of pounds of beef in a year, and we only ate a portion of it, and the rest had to be “disposed of” at great expense to the government? You can bet the USDA would be slapping some major restrictions on beef production. So why don’t they see that we are euthanizing millions of pets every year, and the puppy and kitten mills are “producing” a majority of them?

    Our government must act responsibly to end this.

    • Julie Herman says:

      Well said! Bravo! Keep fighting for the animals in need. Never give up.

    • David Bernazani says:

      Pamela Beck:
      I admire your passion and you have a good cause to fight for. I agree with all you say, as I’m sure everyone else here who reads Wayne’s blog does.
      Which is why this is really not the place to post your essay. You’re “preaching to the Pope” here.
      I would suggest more diverse forums such as Facebook, YouTube (especially on videos of cute, highly bred puppies) and the like.

      Another tip from a writer and editor: be concise. Don’t ramble and write every thought that pops into your head. Or do, but then whittle it down to the main points you want to say. Don’t repeat yourself. Your post is so long, even I don’t want to read it all, and I completely agree with your stance. Imagine how quickly others are going to scroll past!

      Try to keep your posts down to one or two paragraphs. Wayne’s blogs are usually a bit longer, but he has a lot more information to convey, and he does it as briefly as possible.
      So keep reading Wayne’s blogs; he’s a excellent writer and you can learn a lot from him. For instance, he never uses the ALL CAPS. It’s annoying and makes your writing look childish. Just saying.
      Good luck with your cause, and I hope you keep spreading your message to the world. Mostly, I hope they see your dream become reality.

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