April, 2012- The bill to ban pound seizure in Minnesota has been signed into law by Governor Dayton!
April, 2012- The bill to repeal pound seizure was included in the Omnibus Agriculture bill (HF 2398/SF 2061) and was signed into law by Governor Dayton on April 28, 2012.
May 5, 2011- the Pound Seizure bill unanimously passed the Senate Agriculture Committee and was laid over in the House Agriculture Committee for possible inclusion in an omnibus agriculture bill.
March, 2011- A bill to repeal pound seizure (SF 705/HF 1098) was introduced at the Minnesota State Legislature.
Congratulations are in order!
The bills to repeal pound seizure in Minnesota were carried by Senator John Marty (D-54) and Representative Joe Mullery (D-58A). Co-authors of the bills were Senators Dibble, Pappas, Cohen, Nelson, and Representatives Beard, Hornstein, Smith, Fritz, and Slawik.
The successful repeal of pound seizure in Minnesota was achieved by the collaborative work of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Animal Rights Coalition (ARC). The HSUS State Director for Minnesota, Howard Goldman, successfully secured authors for the bill, worked with the University of Minnesota to ensure they would not oppose it, organized the testimony, and successfully lobbied for its inclusion in the omnibus agriculture bill. ARC formed End Pound Seizure Minnesota (EPSM), obtained thousands of signatures against pound seizure, and brought awareness of the issue to the public through outreach and education. Amy Draeger, attorney and President of EPSM, wrote original legislation and conducted historical research on pound seizure in Minnesota. See Animal Rights Coalition announcement. See HSUS announcement.
Congratulations and thank you to these legislators, the Animal Rights Coalition, Humane Society of the United States, and all the Minnesotans who contacted their state legislators in support of this important legislation!
Pound seizure refers to the practice of obtaining lost or stray pets from animal shelters for use in research, testing, and education. While previously a widespread practice, until recently only Minnesota, Oklahoma and Ohio still had a pound seizure law. Minnesota’s pound seizure law required publicly-funded animal shelters, such as city or county shelters, to surrender animals in their care to research institutions that request them. Read the recently repealed law here. Read the new law here (see Sec 73-75).
Why is pound seizure no longer necessary to advance the work of science and education?
According to historical research conducted by End Pound Seizure Minnesota, prior to 1949, there was no law that governed the sale and purchase of animals used for research. The sale of stolen pets to research institutions was thus a lucrative business. It was widely thought that by allowing research and educational institutions to legally acquire unclaimed animals from publicly- funded pounds, the crime of ‘dognapping’ would end. Minnesota’s pound seizure law and later pound seizure laws passed in other states were the first attempts to consciously identify and restrict the population of animals used for research.
Since 1966, the Animal Welfare Act has regulated the sale and purchase of animals used for research and educational purposes in the United States. The availability of animals purposely bred for use in research ensures researchers will not unknowingly experiment on someone’s pet. Research and education using animals continues in the rest of the states where pound seizure laws have been repealed. Moreover, a Freedom of Information request submitted to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health by End Pound Seizure Minnesotaconfirms that for at least the past five years, Minnesota’s pound seizure law has not been used.
Why is pound seizure wrong?
Over 60% of Minnesota families include dogs, cats, or both. Most consider their dogs and cats to be family members. Should a pet be lost, family members search diligently to find their pet. If the pet is not found, they take comfort in the thought that their lost pet might be in a shelter which will find him/her a new home. Most Minnesota pet owners are disturbed when they learn that a publicly-funded animal shelter might be required to release their lost pet for research or experimentation under our outdated pound seizure law. See American Humane Association survey on public attitudes of trust towards shelters’ practice of pound seizure.
What will be the outcome of a ban on pound seizure?
Banning pound seizure will not bring an end to research in Minnesota; it will encourage and support public trust in Minnesota animal shelters by affirming that the purpose of all animal shelters, public or private, is to care for lost, injured, and abandoned animals, returning them to their owners or placing them for adoption.
For more information, see our sources: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, End Pound Seizure Minnesota, or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.