Animal rights groups protest controversial bill headed to Governor's desk this week

A controversial bill is headed to Governor Doug Ducey's desk this week; and animal rights advocates are in an uproar over what it could mean for farm animals.

A rally was held today to encourage the governor to veto the bill, but we're also hearing from someone who supports the bill.

The bill specifically excludes livestock and poultry from Arizona's Title 13 animal cruelty laws, but house republicans backing the bill say it also cracks down on animal hoarding.

"The bill takes away protection of farm animals plain and simple," says Jennifer Brumbaugh, Executive Director of Healing Hearts Animal Rescue. "The bill is unnecessary. The bill really needs to provide more protection."

House bill 2150 would change Arizona animal cruelty laws, treating pets differently than livestock, like horses and cows.

Opponents of the law say it weakens animal cruelty laws and lets ranchers and farmers play by different rules. But Spokesperson for House Republicans, Stephanie Grisham, says the bill toughens animal cruelty laws when it comes to penalties for hoarding pets.

"This legislation protects all animals in Arizona," says Grisham. "It just cleans up language and adds criminal penalties to hoarding, which is on the rise in Arizona."

Those in favors of the bill include the agricultural industry. Those against include animal rights groups such as the Humane Society in Arizona.

The bill also requires law enforcement to notify the agriculture department about any livestock-abuse investigations. Governor Doug Ducey has not signaled yet whether he plans to sign the bill.
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