The Humane Society of Utah has taken the position that our private shelter cannot
support H.B. 107 which deals with the issue of pound seizure of animals for medical research. As a private shelter, the HSU is not subject to the pound seizure laws in Utah, one of only two states in the country with such legislation.
“The intentions of Representative Seelig, the billsʼ sponsor, are commendable. However, the bill itself does not go far enough.” states HSU Executive Director Gene Baierschmidt. “Since it does not eliminate pound seizure, many animals may still be subject to scientific experimentation.”
The language of the proposed legislation would give public shelters the option of turning over animals to research facilities rather than making it mandatory. It does not place an outright ban on the practice of pound seizure. Therefore, the impact on public shelters currently turning animals over for research is questionable and these shelters will, in all likelihood continue to do so.
“We believe pound seizure needs to be eliminated completely,” says Baierschmidt. “Under H.B . 107, the same number of animals will go to research from those shelters already supplying them to facilities here in Utah.”
Under current law, shelters must only wait five (5) days before relinquishing an animal for research. “The thought of someoneʼs dog or cat being turned over to preform research should be upsetting to anyone who owns a pet. Companion animals depend on humans for safety and well being This trust is betrayed when shelters allow these pets to be taken for research. Ironically, this could discourage pet owners and those who find stray animals from bringing animals into shelters and agencies...for fear the animal may end up being used for medical research. The Humane Society of Utah believes all animals in possession of a shelter or animal control agency should be returned to their rightful owners, placed in suitable homes or humanely euthanized.”
A hearing on H.B. 107 is scheduled at the Utah State capitol on Wednesday February 17, 2010 at 8 a.m. to pass the bill out of the House Natural Resource Committee.