Animal Writes
From 1 May 2005 Issue

Four Initiatives Filed in Nebraska to Change Commercial Kennel Law

On March 31, 2005 Hearts United for Animals and the Coalition Against Misery took a major step in the war against puppy mills. They filed four initiatives with the Nebraska Secretary of State. The Nebraska Constitution allows citizens to propose legislation outside of the legislature through a process called initiative. The first initiative filed by the organizations would require all commercial kennels to have heat and air-conditioning. The second would put limitations on the ages at which a female dog or cat in a commercial kennel could be bred. The third would increase the sizes of the cages in commercial kennels. And the fourth would raise the fee paid by large kennels for a kennel license and require that every kennel be inspected before it is licensed.

The next step in the initiative process is for the organizations to obtain approximately 85,000 signatures on petitions to put the initiatives on the 2006 ballot where they will be voted on by the citizens of Nebraska. The organizations have one year to get the requisite signatures.

The organizations said that they decided to take this step and invoke the initiative process because the large lobbies for the breeders, pet stores and farm industries have been able to manipulate any legislation that was introduced to state legislatures or to the federal legislature. Examples where the will of the people has recently been circumvented are in Oklahoma, Nebraska, California and Connecticut. The pet industry lobby has bragged about their ability to change the language of proposed statutes or have them withdrawn completely as they did in Oklahoma. The animal welfare organizations decided to go directly to the people and let them speak for the dogs.

This is the first time that an initiative has ever been filed in any state to help the dogs suffering in puppy mills. This is an enormous undertaking for the next year and a half. First there will be the considerable work getting 85,000 signatures and then convincing a majority of Nebraska voters to vote for the initiatives. The pet industry and farm industry will turn out in force to fight these initiatives. Your help is needed. We need many people in Nebraska and the surrounding border states to help collect signatures. There is a meeting scheduled for April 30th. Read more about the meeting below. There are many other jobs for people who live further away. If you can donate some time to this project, it would be greatly appreciated. And monetary donations are needed for billboards, tv ads, newspaper and magazine ads, yard signs, flyers and more. Your help is needed now. Go to the website below to help:

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