Dozens of adorable adoptable dogs will pack the House of Representatives’ ornate Cannon Caucus Room July 30 to help adopt the dogs as well as legislation for animal welfare.
“Paws for Celebration,” a hugely popular bipartisan biannual event, is co-hosted by the House Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, with 115 House members, and the ASPCA. Several local shelters and rescue organizations like Washington Humane Society will bring the four-legged lobbyists for the noon-2:30 P.M. celebration.
Pooches, politicians, and puns abound, like:
- Congress is going to the dogs.
- “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” (Harry Truman. However, “Give ’em Hell” Harry gave away the dog he was given for Christmas in 1947. Click here to see the forlorn pup Feller in his White House crate.)
- A dog named Checkers saved the political career of Richard Nixon in 1952. Click here to see a TV screen shot of Nixon’s famed “Checkers speech,” and click here to see Nixon holding the cocker spaniel. But not even a dog could save President Nixon’s checkered career; the Watergate Scandal forced him to resign on Aug. 9, 1974.
- “I love a dog, he does nothing for political reasons.” (Will Rogers, who held a pooch’s paw in the movie “Priest.”)
Yes, you’ve heard it all, but you might not have heard about pending legislation on behalf of canines and other animals, including:
- The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, a complete and permanent ban on horse slaughter.
- Pet and Women Safety Act to prohibit threats and acts of violence against the pet of a woman threatened by domestic violence, stalking or other such offenses. “The connection between animal cruelty and domestic violence is well-documented,” notes the ASPCA. “Abusers often harm pets to intimidate and control their victims or to prevent them from leaving.”
- Pets on Trains Act would allow domesticated dogs and cats on certain Amtrak routes of less than 750 miles. If pets can fly, why oh why can’t they ride the rails?
- Other pending legislation includes the Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act and the Wildlife Trafficking Enforcement Act.
One bill that the caucus helped pass in recent years prohibits commercial “animal crush videos”.
The caucus is now co-chaired by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA). Blumenauer and Fitzpatrick have collaborated previously to introduce legislation that would prohibit interstate commerce in primates for the pet trade, and have supported other animal welfare bills to crack down on animal fighting and to protect farm animals.
A 30-year-Member of Congress John Sharp Williams, a Democrat who served as a U.S. Representative and later a Senator, referred to dogs (alluding to Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” (“I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon, Than such a Roman.”) just before retiring in 1923: “I sometimes think I’d rather be a dog and bay at the moon than stay in the Senate another six years and listen to it.”
Almost a century later, more than a few Members of Congress in both houses and on both sides of the aisle might agree.
Fortunately, there’s much bipartisan, bicameral agreement on animal welfare — but more agreement would be cause for celebration — so here’s to “Paws for Celebration”.