Update: SSB 5501, a bill to strengthen our animal cruelty laws, has passed. It was signed on May 11, 2015 by Governor Jay Inslee and will go into effect on July 24, 2015.
Photo by Washington State Legislative Support Services
The Facts on SSB 5501
Senate Bill (SSB) 5501 is a great bill that will help prevent and address
animal cruelty. Read the bill here. Note that section 7 of the bill was vetoed by the governor. Section 7 was added in the State House of Representatives at the last minute. There was strong agreement by animal welfare organizations and advocates the section was detrimental to animal welfare and should be vetoed. We are grateful to Governor Inslee for approving the bill while vetoing section 7. His veto message is here. We also wish to thank several legislators for their critical roll in moving the bill forward in the legislature to passage: Senator Joe Fain, prime sponsor of the bill; Senator Mike Padden, Chair, Senate Law & Justice Committee; Representative Laurie Jinkins, Chair, House Judiciary Committee; and Representative Pat Sullivan, House Majority Leader.
of the bill is to clarify, remove inconsistencies, and make revisions to
state laws that define and address animal cruelty. There are three key features of the
It modifies the definition of animal cruelty in the first degree to include, unless otherwise allowed
by law, the act of intentionally killing or causing substantial pain or injury
to an animal while manifesting an extreme indifference to life.
2. It keeps children and animals safe by making it illegal to cause a minor to
participate in organized animal fighting activities, while broadening
protection to prohibit organized fights between any animals, not just between
dogs and between male chickens.
3. It prohibits the unsafe confinement of animals by specifying the
conditions under which officers may remove animals confined in extreme
temperatures; limits officers’ liability for property damage when damage
results from authorized removal of animals; and creates a class 2 civil
For more information, please see story by Animal News Northwest.
Click the News button for the latest fact sheets on animal welfare legislation.
Become a friend of Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation on Facebook. Our Facebook postings have the latest updates and alerts on key animal welfare bills in the Washington State Legislature.