Legislation

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.

2020 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

COMMUNITY AND PET PROTECTION ACT (HF737)

IPA – SUPPORTS

Sponsor: Rep. Steve Holt (R-Denison); House Judiciary Committee
House Floor Manager: Rep. Ross Paustian (R-Walcott)
Senate Floor Manager: Sen. Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale)
Status: Enacted by Governor Reynolds on June 29, 2020; Effective July 1, 2020

Click here to learn more about the bill.

VETERINARIAN IMMUNITY BILL (HF2374)

IPA – SUPPORTS

Sponsor: Rep. Bobby Kaufmann (R-Wilton)
Floor Manager: Rep. Jane Bloomingdale (R-Northwood)
Status: Iowa House of Representatives passed unanimously (97-0) on March 3, 2020. Unfortunately, this is one of the bill that had its momentum derailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

HF2374 grants Iowa veterinarians immunity from administrative, civil, or criminal liability when reporting animal abuse or participating in animal cruelty investigations.

HF2374 is needed to protect the pets of Iowa as:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 bringing this issue to light and leading the way on this critical piece of legislation to protect the pets of Iowa.

COMMERCIAL DOG BREEDING BILL (HF738)

IPA – SUPPORTS

Sponsor and Floor Manager: Rep. Bobby Kaufmann (R-Wilton)

The Commercial Dog Breeding Bill (HF738) is a robust bill focused on addressing the puppy mill problem within Iowa’s commercial dog breeding industry.

HF738 received remarkable bipartisan support during the 2019 legislative session, particularly compared to previous years and considering it was the first year such language was introduced. The bill passed initial legislative hurdles and the House State Government Committee with broad bipartisan support.

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.

HF311/SF2387/HF2591

IPA – OPPOSES ORIGINAL LANGUAGE

Sponsor: Rep. Megan Jones (R-Sioux Rapids)
Status: Positively amended or blocked during both 2019 and 2020 sessions.

The original bill language of HF311, filed during the 2019 legislative session, removes all requirements for an individual to provide a proof of identification when applying for an animal welfare license to operate a commercial establishment (defined in Iowa code as: boarding kennels, animal shelters, commercial breeders, commercial kennels, dealers, pet shops, pounds, public auctions, and research facilities) in Iowa. This would also result in the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), the agency tasked with issuing and overseeing such businesses, having no way to determine if each applicant has been previously convicted of “animal cruelty or neglect” and so barred from receiving such a license for at least five years, in accordance with Iowa Administrative Code.

Thanks to the Iowa Pet Alliance team speaking out in opposition, the bill’s progress during the 2019 session was halted and we worked with legislators on a positive amendment. The bill was then passed with our agreed upon amendment in the House. Ultimately, the bill wasn’t brought for a vote in the Senate in 2019.

This year, however, the original bill language of HF311 – without our agreed upon amendment – was included in a larger bill (SF2387/HF2591), in another attempt to pass it. The Iowa Pet Alliance team again blocked the original language as it was removed from the larger bill that was passed and enacted.

We appreciate each and every legislator who supported our efforts to ensure current companion animal welfare protections remain in place. Special appreciation goes to Reps. David Maxwell (R-Gibson), Norlin Mommsen (R-DeWitt), and Mary Wolfe (D-Clinton).

NUMEROUS NEGATIVE SENATE BILLS

IPA – OPPOSES

SSB3180

Sponsor: Committee bill; Senate Agriculture Committee
Status: Thanks to the Iowa Pet Alliance team and other animal organizations speaking out, this bill was amended to remove commercial establishments (i.e. pet stores, commercial dog breeding facilities, etc.). The amended bill was passed unanimously by the Senate Agriculture Committee, but was not considered by the full Senate.

This bill would bar local governments from adopting, enforcing, or administrating an “ordinance, motion, resolution, amendment, regulation, or rule” that prohibits an “animal enterprise” or the operation of such. An “animal enterprise” includes “a commercial or academic enterprise that uses or sells animals or animal products for profit, food, or fiber production, agriculture, education, research, or testing” as well as zoos, aquariums, circuses, pet stores, commercial dog breeding facilities, rescues, shelters, and research facilities.

In addition to being an overreach by the Legislature, this bill would have negatively impacted both animal welfare and human health. For example, recent campylobacter and canine brucellosis outbreaks traced back to pet store puppies and an Iowa commercial dog breeding facility, respectively, are just two zoonotic diseases that threaten the health of pets and people. Local governments can oftentimes address such issues more expeditiously than can government at the state or federal level, and so should have the authority to address such concerns when they arise within their communities.

SSB3170

Sponsor: Committee bill; Senate Agriculture Committee
Status: Senate subcommittee recommended passage, but the bill was not considered by the full Senate Agriculture Committee.

This bill would open up the definition of “livestock” to include “an animal that is owned by a person who is entitled to report income on a schedule F as part of a form 1040 or form 1041 tax return filed with the United States internal revenue service.” Essentially, any animal a farmer owns would be considered “livestock,” regardless of species. Defining pets as “livestock” is unacceptable.

SF2214

Sponsor: Sen. Dennis Guth (R-Klemme)
Status: The bill was not granted a subcommittee meeting.

This bill has numerous negative elements for the pets of Iowa including making seizure, confiscation, and disposition of animals more difficult. The bill also includes: requiring two veterinarians to agree that confiscation is necessary, with one veterinarian chosen by the individual under investigation; that no animal confiscated could be treated by a veterinarian unless authorized by the individual under investigation, including euthanasia; deterring veterinarians from participating in animal cruelty investigations by requiring both veterinarians to sign a statement of confiscation under penalty of perjury and if the animal confiscated is returned to the individual under investigation, each veterinarian would be liable for expenses incurred, including attorney fees, investigation fees, and court costs as well as subject to a fine between $1,000-$5,000.

SF2239

Sponsor: Sen. Dennis Guth (R-Klemme)
Status: The bill was not granted a subcommittee meeting.

Among other concerning elements, this bill would deter the public from reporting animal abuse. It defines specific types of complaints as “false allegations” including “a statement that is hearsay or any statement other than direct observation by a credible witness” and allows the person making the complaint to be subject to penalties if a violation is not found, if the person charged is acquitted, or if the charges are dismissed or reversed.

CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS