The following bills addressing animal-related issues are pending in the current legislative session. The bill’s descriptive title is quoted, followed by additional information in parentheses. This list is not necessarily all-inclusive.
The “crossover” date for bills which do not involve budgetary appropriations is May 19 — the date by which the bill must be passed in one house in order to remain viable for the session.
• SB 9, Economic Development Horse Race: “An act to allow certain boards of county commissions to issue ordinances permitting limited horse racing for economic development purposes.” (Applies to the five counties with the lowest wages in the state during the previous three years or to counties that have had horse racing for at least three years at the specified racetrack.)
• SB 511, Spay/Neuter Funding: “An act to provide funding for the statewide spay and neuter program from the sale of rabies vaccination tags.” (Adds a mandatory 50-cent fee to the cost of state-provided rabies tags, with proceeds to be distributed to counties to help support spay/neuter services.)
• SB 529, Animal Shelters/Uniform Regulation: “An act to create a uniform system for the regulation of private and public animal shelters.” (Includes provisions for adequate food and water, record-keeping and rules governing the killing of animals.)
• SB 918, Sportsman’s Bill of Rights: “An act to recognize the right to hunt and fish in North Carolina.” (Also specifically rejects any statute, local ordinance, rule or regulation seeking to establish “the erroneous principle that animals should have any of the legal rights to which persons are entitled.”)
• HB 505, WRC Study Sunday Hunting: “An act to direct the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to study the issue of allowing hunting on Sunday at a limited number of state game lands in North Carolina.” (Buncombe County Rep. Wilma Sherrill is a primary sponsor.)
• HB 685, Animal Shelters/Uniform Regulation: (Companion bill to SB 529; see above.)
• HB 686, Update Disabilities Statutes/Service Animals: “An act to update the language of Chapter 168 of the General Statutes regarding persons with disabilities and to clarify the law allowing service animals in training to access public facilities and conveyances when accompanied by a person who trains service animals.”
• HB 772, Ban Internet Hunting: “An act to prohibit computer-assisted remote hunting.” (Prohibits remote-control hunting of wild animals or wild birds located in the state of North Carolina.)
• HB 888, Cockfighting/Increase Penalty: “An act to increase the penalty for cockfighting.” (Would make cockfighting a felony rather than a misdemeanor.)
To check the current status of any bill, go to the N.C. General Assembly’s home page (www.ncga.state.nc.us) and enter the number of the bill. Contact information for legislators is also available at this site.