Lawson continues fight for companion animal sterilization

January 14, 2016 Linda Lawson

For immediate release:
Jan. 14, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS — Seven years ago, State Rep. Linda Lawson (D-Hammond) began her fight to ensure that all companion animals in Indiana are treated humanely.

Lawson continues to work towards that goal with House Bill 1201, which was approved today by an Indiana House committee. The bill, authored by Rep. Michael Karickhoff (R-Kokomo) and coauthored by Lawson, Rep. Randy Truitt (R-West Lafayette) and Rep. Melanie Wright (D-Yorktown), pushes for legislation that requires companion animal sterilization.

The bill, which was passed by the House Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, has been years in the making and reflects Lawson’s dedication to this issue. The measure now advances to the full House Floor for consideration.

“Initially, I never saw spaying and neutering as an issue in Indiana,” said Lawson. “After spending some time working with constituents who are passionate about animal welfare, I came to understand that the lack of sterilization of companion animals in Indiana was resulting in an extreme number of animal euthanasia.

“There are loving, healthy animals that are being euthanized simply because there are not enough homes or resources to help them all,” continued Lawson.

“While companion animal advocates have done an incredible job helping thousands of these animals find good homes, it is time lawmakers join the effort.”

The proposed bill calls for three simple actions to be taken to resolve this issue.

First, it authorizes the board of animal health to establish a registry of animal care facilities. There are a number of facilities across Indiana that were established to meet the need but without a registry, it is difficult to gauge the extent of the problem.

“There are rescue groups popping up across the state of Indiana,” said Lawson. “Without a registry, there is no way for us to know what is happening to these animals. The registry would build a dialogue between animal rescue agencies and the state so that we can have a better understanding of the issue our state faces.”

Secondly, it requires that, as of July 1, 2021, a dog or a cat in an animal care facility must be spayed or neutered before adoption from the facility. This will help control the animal population considerably.

The final action is to stipulate a five-year time period for the transition to take place.

“Taking these actions will not only significantly reduce the number of animals that are killed but also remove a heavy financial burden from the state of Indiana,” said Lawson.

“Indiana currently spends over $60 million to help rescue groups, animal control and other agencies control the Indiana companion animal population.”

With some Indiana counties spending as much as $4 million to $8 million on companion animal care, the impact this legislation would have on Indiana is undeniable.

“With these proposed changes, we can save the lives of thousands of animals while saving Indiana millions of dollars,” said Lawson. “The way I see it, it is a win-win situation.

“After seven years of work, I hope this is the year we finally make a change,” said Lawson.