Perhaps you saw a now-infamous video that has been making the rounds on social media. An old 4X4 driving down a busy road with two dog kennels barely attached to the bumper. When onlooking motorists saw the truck, they immediately took out their phones and started filming. Those video clips ended up on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Why were they so quick to record what they were seeing? Because the way the owner was transporting his dogs was completely unsafe. First of all, the dog kennels looked as if they were only just attached to the back of the truck. One wrong move and they could have broken free and slid off into traffic. Secondly, if someone were to have rear-ended the vehicle, those dogs would have been instantly killed.
People were rightly outraged. Many contacted local law enforcement and pleaded with them to charge the driver with animal cruelty. Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, out of the 50 states, Iowa ranks as the second to the worst state in the country for animal protection laws. Case in point, the way the truck driver was carrying his two pets is not considered animal cruelty. And perhaps worst of all, even if it were, in Iowa, pet owners are actually exempt from such animal abuse charges if they concern their own animal.
You read that right. In Iowa, an owner of a companion animal cannot be charged be with abuse.
But it looks like Iowa is trying to change that. Senate Bill 369 has just been introduced to the Iowa general assembly. The bill aims at fixing the states currently abysmal animal protection laws. If it passes, it will increase punishment for abuse, require mental health assessments for convicted animal abusers, and would add prosecution for animals left in hot cars. It would also, importantly get rid of the inexplicable "owner exclusion" which lets people get away with horrible crimes as long as they own the animal.
Animals, no matter what state they live in, deserve to be protected from cruelty. Sign this petition and urge the Iowa legislature to make these important changes to their animal protection laws.