Animal hero, World War Two hero, and former Senate Republican hero Bob Dole joined civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and about 50 adoptable dogs and cats at “Paws for Celebration” on Capitol Hill July 30 to lobby for animal welfare laws.
The House Congressional Animal Protection Caucus and the ASPCA co-sponsored the popular bipartisan biannual event.
“The U.S. House of Representatives became an animal house!” quipped the ASPCA, noting that several of the adorable animals were adopted. The event celebrates the work of a dozen local animal rescue organizations, including the Animal Welfare Leagues of Washington, Alexandria and Arlington, and the Washington Humane Society, that brought the four-legged political animals to the fourth “Paws for Celebration.”
It urges passage of animal welfare legislation. To name a few:
- Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, that would complement federal laws on animal fighting and “crush” videos by prohibiting extreme animal abuse involving interstate commerce or on federal property.
- 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,” ayss 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 Wildlife Trafficking Enforcement Act.
Former Senate Majority Leader Dole, whose career in the House and later the Senate spanned from 1961 to 1996, spearheaded passage of several landmark legislative advances in animal protection. The Kansas Republican was the co-author of the 1985 amendments to the Animal Welfare Act, and was also the key architect of the 1978 amendments to the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which requires that livestock be rendered insensible to pain prior to slaughter.
He and fellow former U.S. Senator and decorated veteran, Bob Kerrey, last June became special advisors to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Kerrey, a Navy SEAL in the Vietnam War and former Nebraska Governor, is a Democrat. He and Dole, the longest-serving Republican Senate Majority Leader — his beloved schnauzer was named Leader — are among many bipartisan duos encouraging passage of these current bipartisan animal welfare bills.
The House Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, with 115 Representatives, is co-chaired by Oregon Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Pennsylvania Republican Mike Fitzpatrick.
Georgia Democrat John Lewis, a hero of Selma, the March on Washington, and the entire Civil Rights movement, is another animal hero at the event in the ornate Cannon Caucus Room.
“It was good to spend a little time with the wonderful puppies,” Rep. Lewis Tweeted — click here to see just how wonderful.