For those in Terre Haute who invest their time into helping keep animals safe, Senate Bill 474 is an unprecedented helping hand.
“It’s going to help protect some of the ones that come in here, it’s gonna help us make sure that they don’t go back into somebody’s hands that can hurt them,” said Terre Haute Humane Society Interim General Manager Sarah Valentine.
“I believe it’s a good thing, I think it’s a step in the right direction, I think we’ve needed this for a good while, I’m glad to see that we’re getting some new laws in with animals,” said Jamie Hughes with Terre Haute Police Department’s Animal Control Divison.
Senate Bill 474, co-authored by local Senator Jon Ford, prevents a person convicted of animal abuse from owning, harboring or training a companion animal.
Currently, THPD Animal Control says animal abusers are able to obtain new animals, which only continues the cycle.
Valentine says Senate Bill 474 could cause an influx of animals at shelters, and she hopes the public will help with that potential burden.
“There’s only so much space that we have, so we’re gonna depend on the public, if you’re looking for an animal, come in and adopt, if you can’t adopt, foster, if you can’t foster, volunteer. We’re gonna need help,” said Valentine.
Hughes adds that the public can help by realizing the responsibility involved with owning a pet before they adopt one.
“When you adopt a pet, he becomes a part of your family, that pet depends on you for everything. You are their voice, if they’re hurting or they need help, you are their voice. You have to take care of them,” said Hughes.
Valentine and Hughes both urge anyone struggling to provide their pet with proper nourishment to ask for help.
Valentine says there is a food pantry located at THHS where people can come get food to feed their pets for the short term.
Senate Bill 474 will now be considered by Governor Eric Holcomb.