Animal cruelty bills to be heard this Monday

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Animal rights advocate Cyrus Luhr (PNC file photo)

A public hearing on two animal cruelty bills is scheduled for this Monday, Feb. 10, 5 pm at the Guam Legislature.

Bill 185-35, also known as the Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety (PAWS) Act, is a sweeping overhaul of Guam’s animal cruelty statutes. It clarifies different forms of abuse, improves the methods of seizing abused animals and ensuring for their care, and provides for education, therapy, and treatment to aid in rehabilitating offenders.

The bill does not ban cockfighting, which was banned by a federal law adopted in December of 2018.

Bill 77-35, also known as the Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2019, adds increased penalties for anyone who harms or attempts to harm a law enforcement dog.

“We’re seeing more and more cases of animal cruelty. It’s time to strengthen our laws and fix this growing problem,” GAIN Board President Cyrus Luhr said in a release. “This is an opportunity for the public to share their thoughts on the state of animal cruelty on Guam,” he added.

If adopted, the PAWS Act will also be called “Pugua’s Law,” in memory of Pugua, a Jack Russell terrier boonie mix, who was found shot to death in the carport of a family’s Yigo home on Sept. 27, 2018. The alleged shooter was arrested, and the case is currently ongoing.

The public hearing is being overseen by Sen. Therese Terlaje, who chairs the Committee on Health, Tourism, Historic Preservation, Land and Justice.

Testimonies may be sent to her office at senatorterlajeguam@gmail.com.

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