by Dee Newman
I am urging everyone I know to call Governor Bill Haslam and ask him to veto HB 1191 by Holt and SB 1248 by Gresham. The Ag Bill would require anyone recording images of animal abuse to submit unedited footage or photos to law enforcement within 48 hours.
The House sponsor of the legislation State Rep. Andy Holt, a Republican of Dresden, TN, has said:
"I think what we need to do is make sure and recognize that if animals are being abused it needs to come to justice, and it needs to come to justice quickly . . . And that's the intention of this bill, bar none. No matter what anybody tells you. That's the intention of this legislation."But, is it?
The Livestock Cruelty Prevention Act’s short reporting deadline would, in fact, force investigations to be brief and incomplete, possibly rendering them legally unindictable. It would also discourages prospective whistleblowers from coming forward out of fear of prosecution.
The intention of the bill is to prevent further prosecutions – like the 2011 prosecutions of trainer Jackie McConnell who was secretly videoed by the Humane Society applying caustic substances to the hooves of Tennessee Walking Horses and his beating of those horses to make them stand that lead to his conviction.
Mercy for Animals, the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States have all appealed to Governor Haslam to veto the legislation.
Please call and/or email the Governor as soon as possible to encourage him to veto this bill. His phone number is (615) 741-2001 and his email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
The following is a copy of the legislation:
HB 1191 by *Holt. (SB 1248 by *Gresham.)
Animal Cruelty and Abuse - As introduced, requires a person who records cruelty to animals as committed against livestock to report such violation and submit any unedited photographs or video recordings to law enforcement authorities within 24 hours of the photograph's or recording’s creation. - Amends TCA Title 39 and Title 44.
ON APRIL 11, 2013, THE SENATE ADOPTED AMENDMENT #1 AND RESET SENATE BILL 1248, AS AMENDED.
AMENDMENT #1 rewrites this bill to require a person who intentionally records by photograph, digital image, video or similar medium for the purpose of documenting the offense of cruelty to animals committed against livestock, within 48 hours, or by the close of business the next business day, whichever is later, to:
(1) Report such violation to a law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the alleged offense; and
(2) Submit any unedited photographs, digital images or video recordings to law enforcement authorities.
A violation of this amendment is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by fine only.
ON APRIL 16, 2013, THE SENATE FURTHER CONSIDERED SENATE BILL 1248, AS AMENDED BY AMENDMENT #1, AND PASSED SENATE BILL 1248, AS AMENDED.