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Urgent Alert: Contact Governor Jay Inslee today!

Ask Governor Inslee to protect animals from cruelty and neglect by vetoing section 7 of SSB 5501 and signing the rest of the bill into law. 

Call his office at 360-902-4111 or email him using this link:

The Facts on SSB 5501

Substitute Senate Bill (SSB) 5501 is a great bill that will help prevent and address animal cruelty.  But it has one section that does the opposite and creates opportunities for animal cruelty and neglect to go unpunishedRead the bill here.

The purpose of the bill is to clarify, remove inconsistencies, and make minor revisions to state laws that define and address animal cruelty. There are three key features of the bill:

1.  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 infraction penalty.


Although agriculture and farming practices were never affected by the original bill, Section 7 was added on the house floor as an amendment. It exempts noncommercial raising and care of livestock and poultry from the entire animal cruelty statute (Chapter 16.52 RCW). 

This section will remove protections under current law for abused and neglected animals owned by backyard “farmers” and hobbyists.

Animal control officers encounter abuse and neglect of animals every day. It is common to find horses, cattle, rabbits, sheep, pigs, goats, and other livestock and poultry in conditions of squalor, starving, without water, and with untreated, serious medical conditions.

Under current law, animal control officers can address these conditions by working with the owner of these animals and as necessary, using enforcement tools under Chapter 16.52 RCW to end the abuse.

If section 7 of SB 5501 becomes law, the authority to address serious crimes against these animals will be made difficult or impossible.

Please contact Governor Inslee today and ask him to stand up for animals, and VETO section 7 of SB 5501, and sign the remainder of the bill into law! Telephone his office at: 360-902-4111; and send him an email: send the Governor an e-message.


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