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HEART Act – Helping the Victims of Animal Fighting Rings


Dear Editor:

To Rep. Albio Sires: Please co-sponsor the Help Extract Animals from Red Tape (HEART) Act (H.R. 1228). This vital legislation would help to improve the well-being of animals seized from fighting rings and lessen the burden of their care on the non-profit rescues and shelters that house them.

Humans are lucky. Although the law can be black and white, it does look at people as perpetrators or victims. Someone who either has committed a crime and should be punished, or someone who was unfairly impacted by an unjust act of another and requires justice. Animals are not so fortunate. They are considered no more valuable then a couch or a refrigerator. They are looked at as personal property and can be held without appropriate care and treatment for months, or even years, until cases are settled.

When an animal is rescued from fighting rings, it desperately needs a safe place to heal and receive care. The HEART Act would require that courts take into consideration case timelines to help reduce the extreme level of stress that these animals withstand from being held in shelters for unreasonably long periods. Unfortunately, these long lead times yield behavioral problems severe enough to make these victims unadoptable. The HEART Act would address this problem by decreasing the number of days that an animal must be held before being released for re-homing. This helps local animal shelters who must house these animals by allowing them to find adopters quicker, thus reducing their costs.

Most of these shelters that care for seized animals are already stretched thin, and these extra animals drain their resources and prevent these organizations from helping more animals in need. Sometimes local shelters simply can’t take on the burden, and law enforcement is less likely in the future to investigate and intervene in animal fighting operations when there is no assurance of care for the seized animals.

Representative Sires, I urge you to cosponsor the HEART Act for the sake of both vulnerable animals rescued from fighting rings, and the selfless rescues that care for them.

Meg Kelly

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