Here’s what we do:
We work with legislators, non-stop and year-round, to pass laws that will change animals’ lives for the better. And during the legislative session, we are at the state capitol every day, making sure the laws we need actually get passed. We never take the pressure off until the laws are in place and are being enforced.
Here’s what we’ve done in the past several legislative sessions:
- Established a state income tax check-off/donation program to support statewide spay/neuter programs.
- Secured recurring annual funding for the Companion Animal Rescue Effort (CARE) Network program that provides lifesaving safe havens to the animals of domestic violence victims needing to escape a violent home.
- Made significant progress on legislation to ban coyote-killing contests: the Senate passed the bill with a bipartisan vote, the first time a state legislative chamber has passed such a bill. We will continue this effort until we’ve stopped this appalling practice.
- Defeated of a number of harmful agriculture industry bills, including sweeping “ag-gag” bills (anti-whistleblower bills) that would undermine and prevent animal cruelty investigations, and “right to farm” legislation that would violate citizens’ constitutional rights to complain about farmed animal abuse and other factory farm nuisances.
- Defeated of an extreme and egregious bill to strip all state protections from New Mexico’s vital cougar population.
- Worked to ensure $100,000 for spay/neuter surgeries was included in the state budget approved by the Legislature and the Governor.Worked to ensure $250,000 for the humane care of homeless horses in northwestern New Mexico was included in the state budget approved by the Legislature and the Governor.
- Worked to ensure $50,000 was included in the state budget approved by the Legislature and the Governor for programs that help the animals of domestic violence victims (thereby allowing victims themselves to leave their violent home and not worry about the safety of their animals).
- Worked with conservation, food safety and civil liberties groups to ensure a harmful version of a Right to Farm bill did not pass.
- Supported a memorial urging agencies to work collaboratively to create a statewide beaver management plan.
- Passed a law granting a six-year extension for the operation of the Animal Sheltering Board, which regulates humane euthanasia in animal shelters and provides shelter standards and statewide spay neuter planning. There were serious efforts to try to dismantle this important board in 2013.
- Passed a law to create the Horse Shelter Rescue Fund in the NM Livestock Board, which will help fund licensed horse rescues through voluntary contributions of state tax refunds. The bill was inspired by Colorado’s fund to help horse shelters, which raises about $100,000 per year without any increase in taxes.
- Built support and momentum for banning the repulsive practice of coyote killing contests, with the bill barely failing in the House of Representatives on a 30-38 vote in its first year of introduction. Tremendous testimony and support was provided by a broad coalition of advocates who believe that killing contests harm the balance of nature, they have no redeeming value for controlling coyote populations (in fact they tend to increase coyote populations, according to the best available science), they send a dangerous message to children about the cheapness of life, and they threaten our state’s reputation with visitors and potential visitors appalled by the practice.
- Built tremendous opposition against and killed a House memorial that masked as an innocent study, but which would have promoted the opening of a horse slaughterhouse in New Mexico. The memorial died on a full House vote of 28-36.
- Built significant support and momentum for restricting traps and poisons on New Mexico’s public lands. Because of the extensive testimony generated around the issue, an unprecedented three hearings were held in the bill’s first House committee, where it was eventually tabled. People who had themselves been caught in traps while trying to free their animals provided especially compelling testimony.
- Built unprecedented support and organized testimony for amendments that would have strengthened New Mexico’s animal cruelty statute, including making extreme neglect a fourth degree felony when it leads to great bodily harm or death of an animal. A powerful coalition of individual ranchers, farmers, sportsmen, scientists, veterinary and other professionals, parents, youth and other community members attended numerous hearings to help the Senate bill pass through two committees unanimously, and the House bill through two House committees and a contentious House floor vote of 34-29. The bill failed when the Senate majority leader would not bring up the House bill for a full Senate vote.
- Supported a bill to ban discriminatory and dangerous breed-specific legislation that failed to make it through the entire legislative process.
- Supported both the House and the Senate versions of legislation that led to a successful Senate bill to allow for the purchase of protective vests for police dogs.
- Supported the successful bill that allows for an easier retirement for “state-owned canines.”
- Along with advocates from numerous interest groups, helped kill the Livestock Operation Interference Act, a bill that would have prevented whistleblowers from documenting violations of laws in livestock operations, such as factory farms. The anti-worker, anti-animal and anti-environmental bill was tabled in its first committee.
- Opposed or pushed for amendments/improvement of the following bills: Game & Fish Special Event permits; an appropriation for a Horse Slaughter Facility Study; Liability for Dog Bites & Charge for Owners; No Agriculture as Nuisance.
- Supported the following other bills: Funding for the Animal Sheltering Board (passed); Funding for the NM Livestock Board for increased budget to include cruelty investigations capacity (passed); Hunting & Fishing Infraction Penalties; Horse Rescue programs in state budget (passed); Senate and House memorials on Wildlife Vehicle Collision studies (passed); memorial to create domestic animal abuse database (passed); LFC Evaluation of Game & Fish Department; Department of Game & Fish & Endangered Species; Racehorse Testing Standards (passed); Expand Animal Cruelty Definitions; Denial or Revocation of Horse Racing License; Assistance Animal Act changes (passed); Animal Cruelty Law Training; Orders of Domestic Protection; Bernalillo Animal Abuse Case Court.
The 2012 “short session,” while busy and important, provided little opportunity for improvements in laws or funding for animal programs.
- APV supported the following bills: to allow for the purchase of protective vests for law enforcement canines; changes to the Assistance Animal Act; a bill to establish a county governance task force; a bill to study animal fur trapping; amendments to the state animal cruelty laws; a bill to allow more flexibility in the transport of hay for livestock (successful).
- APV opposed and helped kill the following bills: a measure that masqueraded as “Right to Hunt” legislation, but which really threatened New Mexico’s wildlife and opened the door to inhumane and unsportsmanlike wildlife killing practices; a bill that would prevent additional wilderness near Pecos; and a discriminatory and dangerous breed-specific bill aimed at preventing so-called “pit bull” ownership.
- Passed a law that extended the life of the Animal Sheltering Board, allowing it to continue its crucial work to support New Mexico’s animal shelters and shelter standards and practices.
- Continued to build support, through testimonials from legislators, shelter professionals, domestic violence advocates, law enforcement agents and local citizens, for stronger animal cruelty laws; over 100 citizen lobbyists turned out for APV’s 2011 Lobby Day to speak out in favor of laws that protect animals and establish serious consequences for animal abuse and neglect.
- Supported the successful bill that permits restaurant owners to allow patrons to be accompanied by their dogs in outdoor patio dining areas.
- Supported a Memorial that requests the Animal Sheltering Board to conduct a feasibility study of establishing a statewide fund geared toward reducing the cost of spaying and neutering dogs and cats.
- Supported a Memorial that, through collaboration with the New Mexico Game and Fish Department and the New Mexico Department of Transportation, will create a pilot program to reduce wildlife-human crashes on high-risk roadways.
- Helped block legislation that would have allowed simulcasting of dog races at horsetracks throughout the state for purposes of gambling.
- Helped block legislation that would have allowed the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to skirt federal regulations regarding the reintroduction of endangered wolves.
- Helped block legislation that requested higher compensation to ranchers for depredation losses caused by wolves; the bill’s inflammatory language demonized wolves and falsely described their negative impacts on schools, local governments and livestock owners.
- Passed a law allowing courts to order those convicted of animal cruelty to pay for the costs associated with the care of their animals seized by authorities.
- Passed upgrades to New Mexico’s spay-neuter license plate law, so $25 of every $37 for those special license plates goes to local spay-neuter programs.
- Secured $1,074,500 for animal shelters, spay-neuter clinics and wildlife in 10 communities.
- Secured $77,900 for the new Attorney General’s Animal Cruelty Task Force.
- Secured $325,000 for the new Animal Sheltering Board for Fiscal Year 2009.
- Passed ban on cockfighting after 18-year battle.
- Passed new Animal Sheltering Board to ensure humane animal shelters and euthanasia.
- Passed legislative measure directing NM Dept. of Public Safety to publish a report on the humane and public safety implications of dog chaining. The report was recently published.
- Secured $192,000 for the Animal Sheltering Board in Fiscal Year 2008.
- Secured $50,000 for livestock cruelty cases.
- Secured $460,000 for an animal shelter and a spay-neuter clinic.