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house Bill H.R. 4941

Should It be a Federal Crime to Leave a Pet in a Confined Space Where It Could Die?

Argument in favor

People who leave a household pet in a confined space where it could die because of exposure to heat or cold, lack of ventilation, or lack of water should face criminal penalties.

Marylynn's Opinion
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03/17/2018
Most definitely. This is considered abuse and is already a crime. Look at all the puppy mills, people who own them have been incarcerated for the deplorable conditions.
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Ronda 's Opinion
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03/17/2018
Some states can do a better job. Some states won’t. There should be a federal law to provide a baseline of acceptable behavior. If individual states want to go above and beyond that, fantastic, but animals should be protected in states that are less well regulated.
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Catherine 's Opinion
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03/17/2018
Yes, this should be a crime. This would provide an opportunity to strengthen existing animal abuse laws. It would benefit us to have a formal federal registry of abusers, since there is evidence that those who commit animal abuse will become a danger to people. Also, if this is to pass, this should not be limited to common companion animals. Exotic animals and livestock also deserve safety and a semblance of quality of life. I recognize this is reactionary, and I was initially against this. Thinking more on it, there is opportunity for protecting animals and expanding law enforcement ability to do so. I hope this is followed up with decriminalizing citizens breaking windows to rescue these animals in locked cars.
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Argument opposed

While it’s despicable to leave a household pet in a confined space where it could die, it doesn’t need to be a federal crime. States can do a better job of enacting and enforcing such laws.

Christina's Opinion
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03/17/2018
I'm a huge animal rights proponent. I've spent most of my life rescuing animals from horrible situations. But this doesn’t need to be a federal crime. This is a reactionary bill to one terrible, highly-publicized incident. States can do a better job of enacting and enforcing this. Now, where are the reactionary bills to all the school shootings? 17 young people died last month and nobody has introduced any bills to try to prevent it from happening again.
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Kathy's Opinion
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03/17/2018
Federal crime...no. It is a crime of abuse though. Now, that said...where is the bill to pass an assault weapons ban, and other gun legislation after hundreds of children have died because of the guns? For the love of God, people, let’s get some smarts in Congress.
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OldTimer's Opinion
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03/17/2018
No. This should not be a federal crime. This would simply be more federal overreach. There are several things wrong with this. First: what is the standard saying what constitutes animal cruelty? Second: what is the penalty? Third: are we really willing to make someone a felon because of a mistake or an accident? Finally: we are talking about animals not humans and while I truly love my pets I do not believe their lives to be as valuable as a human life. One other thing: if this law is passed how long before people become felons for hunting, fishing or any other means of killing animals for food? Sorry but this would simply be a bill brought forth by emotionally charged thought and not by logical thought.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Agriculture
      Livestock and Foreign Agriculture
    IntroducedFebruary 6th, 2018

What is House Bill H.R. 4941?

This bill — the Keep Our Pets Safe Act of 2018 — would make it illegal to knowingly confine a common household pet in a car or other enclosed space if such confinement could kill the pet through excessive heat or cold, lack of ventilation, or lack of water. Common household pet would include dogs, cats, birds, rodents, rabbits, fish, or turtles that are kept for pleasure rather than commercial purposes. Each violation would be punishable by fines, imprisonment for up to one year, or both.

Impact

Common household pets and their owners; and law enforcement.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4941

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) introduced this bill to make a federal offense to leave a pet in a confined space where it could because of excessive exposure to heat or cold, lack of ventilation, or lack of water:

“As an animal lover, it breaks my heart to see any animal suffer or die from what is easily preventable. Even with a window cracked, it only takes a few minutes for your vehicle to become too hot for your pet to handle. This bill holds those accountable who fail to properly care for their pet by making sure they are not being left alone in an environment that can kill them.”


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: airspa / iStock)

AKA

Keep Our Pets Safe Act of 2018

Official Title

To amend the Animal Welfare Act to protect common household pets from harmful confinement.

    Most definitely. This is considered abuse and is already a crime. Look at all the puppy mills, people who own them have been incarcerated for the deplorable conditions.
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    I'm a huge animal rights proponent. I've spent most of my life rescuing animals from horrible situations. But this doesn’t need to be a federal crime. This is a reactionary bill to one terrible, highly-publicized incident. States can do a better job of enacting and enforcing this. Now, where are the reactionary bills to all the school shootings? 17 young people died last month and nobody has introduced any bills to try to prevent it from happening again.
    Like (240)
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    Federal crime...no. It is a crime of abuse though. Now, that said...where is the bill to pass an assault weapons ban, and other gun legislation after hundreds of children have died because of the guns? For the love of God, people, let’s get some smarts in Congress.
    Like (81)
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    No. This should not be a federal crime. This would simply be more federal overreach. There are several things wrong with this. First: what is the standard saying what constitutes animal cruelty? Second: what is the penalty? Third: are we really willing to make someone a felon because of a mistake or an accident? Finally: we are talking about animals not humans and while I truly love my pets I do not believe their lives to be as valuable as a human life. One other thing: if this law is passed how long before people become felons for hunting, fishing or any other means of killing animals for food? Sorry but this would simply be a bill brought forth by emotionally charged thought and not by logical thought.
    Like (44)
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    Some states can do a better job. Some states won’t. There should be a federal law to provide a baseline of acceptable behavior. If individual states want to go above and beyond that, fantastic, but animals should be protected in states that are less well regulated.
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    This is cute and all, but how about dealing with the flipping GUN problem first.
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    As much as I would like to make this a federal crime, this is a reactionary bill taken to the furthest of its extent. Allow states and local police to regulate this; work with ASPCA, the humane society, PETA, American Humane, World Wildlife, or many other organizations who seek to better the lives of animals and get their input on what they would like to see in a bill and what would help in legislation; and encourage airlines or any other company/corporation who has come under fire to update their policies. Our first reaction shouldn’t be to criminalize behavior or mistakes, but to reform our society to do and be better.
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    Yes, this should be a crime. This would provide an opportunity to strengthen existing animal abuse laws. It would benefit us to have a formal federal registry of abusers, since there is evidence that those who commit animal abuse will become a danger to people. Also, if this is to pass, this should not be limited to common companion animals. Exotic animals and livestock also deserve safety and a semblance of quality of life. I recognize this is reactionary, and I was initially against this. Thinking more on it, there is opportunity for protecting animals and expanding law enforcement ability to do so. I hope this is followed up with decriminalizing citizens breaking windows to rescue these animals in locked cars.
    Like (23)
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    While I am usually an advocate to leave such matters in the hands of the states, when this fails, I do believe that the Government should take over. Animal cruelty, for some reason, is looked upon as not being important when compared to other issues that need to be addressed. In the interim, animals are suffering.
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    How is this even a federal issue?
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    Should it be against the law to sell military weapons to 18 year olds after all the deaths. Priorities backwards.
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    When I see a pet in a hot car, in the dead of August, with no air-conditioning running, I surround that car immediately, and make a scene, of course, this should be federal crime!
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    Not my pet. Pet owners own responsibility. If you leave pets in a closet, bins, cages or hot car it’s called your responsibility. I can’t save your pet. If an airline transport pets and they screw up, go to court. I'm sure old Sparky loves the view from 30,000 ft and the separation from the owner. What?, Sparky didn't give his permission! I like animals, but choose not to have the cost and the mess. I'm often asked to watch a bird, a dog(s) if cats so the responsible pet owner can take a vacation. NOPE!
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    States Rights Issue
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    Federal crime for this? No way. That's absurd. PETA must be in someone's pocket.
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    If you leave any living thing in a confined space, it should be a crime!!! Period!!!
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    This bill will help prosecute cruelty in states where legislation is lacking.
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    This would be better enforced at a state level, or better yet, local...
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    We have way better things to be worried about. Cops are killing brown people left and right, churches, schools, and hospitals are getting shot up. The least thing we need to worry about is pets honestly. Let’s care about people of color first.
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    Already a crime. Act on the mass murder of our children first and stop trying to appease the simple-minded, knee-jerking softhearted. I love animals too, but this is an insult to those who died recently and have gotten no justice. Why are you such lazy, reactionary legislators patting yourselves on the back for simple s**t like this? Grow up and earn your position protecting our country from true threats. This sappy crap is for media spin.
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