Minnesota’s 2020 legislative session and 92nd Legislature adjourned May 18, 2020. Each of the following Animal Humane Society legislative priorities will be reintroduced for the 93rd Legislature beginning in 2021.
Companion Animal Board
Establish the Minnesota Companion Animal Board.
- Establishes a Companion Animal Board (CAB) to provide expertise in and oversight of companion animal issues in Minnesota.
- Board members will reflect the purpose of the Board and specific expertise required; including veterinary science, nonprofit shelter management, public human health issues, companion animal rescue, animal breeding, animal control services, companion animal health and disease, and community issues.
- Companion animals assume a different role in the lives of Minnesotans and have needs specific to their species. Creation of a new board allows other state boards and agencies to focus on their core missions.
Humane Pet Store
Prevent the pet store sale of dogs and cats from puppy and kitten mills.
- Prohibits the pet store sale of dogs and cats from puppy and kitten mills while allowing stores to host adoption events with animal shelters and rescues.
- Three states (MD, CA, ME) and over 340 local jurisdictions across the US including Roseville, Eden Prairie, and St. Paul, MN - have passed similar pet store laws.
Prohibit the use of gas chambers for euthanasia of pet or companion animals in animal shelters.
- When euthanasia is necessary, it must be performed as humanely as possible. To qualify as euthanasia (meaning “good death”), an animal’s death must be free of pain, stress, and fear. The use of gas chambers does not meet this standard.
- Euthanasia by injection is more humane, safer for staff, less expensive, and widely used.
- Prohibiting gas chambers in animal shelters will set a humane standard, ensure all shelters consider appropriate alternatives, and increase public confidence in shelters.
- Currently, there are 27 states with bans on the use of gas chambers.
Give Minnesota veterinarians immunity for animal cruelty reporting.
- Provide immunity from civil liability for a Minnesota-licensed veterinarian acting in good faith for reporting known or suspected inhumane treatment of animals — including neglect, cruelty, or abuse.
- Under current law, veterinarians are mandated reporters. Immunity provisions exist in several Minnesota statutes to protect other types of mandated reporters, such as maltreatment of vulnerable adults, maltreatment of minors, suspicious wounds, and prenatal exposure to controlled substances.
Status: The Vet Immunity Bill was approved by the Governor in May 2020 and is effective August 1, 2020.
Increase criminal penalties for cruelty to pets or companion animals resulting in death or great bodily harm, which is a felony.
- Current punishment in Minnesota for felony level crimes against companion animals (great bodily harm or death) is up to two years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
- Increases the penalty for egregious acts of cruelty against companion animals up to eight years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine.