We are their voice at the capitol
The Iowa Pet Alliance works with lawmakers to draft positive legislation, track bills through the legislative process, provide relevant documentation and data, testify at committee meetings, and lobby throughout the year on behalf of Iowa pets. We not only work extensively to create and support positive laws, we also oppose negative legislation or policies that would harm Iowa pets.
While Iowa’s legislative session takes place from January to May, IPA lobbies on behalf of the pets of Iowa throughout the year.
2021 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
VETERINARIAN IMMUNITY BILL
We are still awaiting the introduction of this legislation.
Status: In 2020 the Iowa House of Representatives passed a version of this legislation unanimously. We expect the bill to come up again in 2021 and barring significant changes vs. the 2020 version, we expect to support it.
The 2020 bill sought to grant Iowa veterinarians immunity from administrative, civil, or criminal liability when reporting animal abuse or participating in animal cruelty investigations.
Legislative change is needed to protect the pets of Iowa as currently:
- Iowa veterinarians are often barred from reporting animal abuse. While a veterinarian’s ethical responsibility is to report animal abuse to law enforcement, current Iowa Administrative Rules bar a veterinarian from reporting a client suspected of abusing their pet to law enforcement as such a report would currently be breaking the Iowa Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR). A veterinarian who breaks this VCPR is subject to administrative action by the Iowa Board of Veterinary Medicine, and is potentially jeopardizing their license and practice. Currently, the only exceptions to the VCPR in Iowa Administrative Rules are if the client gives consent (for their veterinarian to report them to law enforcement for suspected animal abuse), upon a court order, or a public health emergency.
- Iowa law enforcement officers are required to bring a veterinarian on animal cruelty investigations. While law enforcement officers are granted immunity from civil and criminal liability when conducting such investigations, veterinarians are not. This currently deters veterinarians from participating in such investigations, creates unnecessary hurdles for law enforcement officers wishing to address animal cruelty in their communities, and puts pets at risk.
We greatly appreciate the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association for working to bring this issue to light and leading the way on this critical legislation to protect the pets of Iowa.
COMMERCIAL DOG BREEDING BILL
IPA is currently working on this language for 2021
Sponsor and Floor Manager:
The Commercial Dog Breeding Bill will be focused on addressing the lack of oversight of puppy mills in Iowa.
Our 2020 version of this legislation, HF738, received remarkable bipartisan support during the 2019 legislative session, particularly compared to previous years. The bill passed initial legislative hurdles and the House State Government Committee with broad bipartisan support but did not proceed.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship implemented regulatory changes that included several of the elements in this bill. These changes will go into effect in 2020.
We will keep you posted on our progress with this legislation during the 2021 session.
PROHIBITING BREED-SPECIFIC BANS
IPA – SUPPORTS
Sponsor: Jennifer Konfrst (D-Windsor Heights)
Status: This bill has been referred to the House Local Government committee.
Summary: This bill seeks to prohibit cities and counties from adopting or enforcing an ordinance that bans a person from owning a specific breed of dog based on physical, behavioral, or genetic features.
REDEFINING RABBITS AS LIVESTOCK
IPA – UNDECIDED (waiting on amendment language)
Sponsor: Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton)
Status: This bill has been assigned to a subcommittee in the senate ag committee.
Summary: SF85 seeks to move rabbits from under the protections afforded by 717B (Mistreatment of animals other than livestock) to 717 (Injury to livestock). Given that many rabbits are kept as pets, this is a step in the wrong direction. The Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) has an amendment in drafting that clearly distinguishes between rabbits that serve as pets and rabbits raised for food. We are working with ARL to make sure that pets are clearly delineated and set apart from current livestock requirements. We are working to make sure that the version that advances to the House addresses these concerns. We have shared our concerns with the Chair of Ag in the House, Rep. Ross Paustian, who has been receptive to our concerns.