Bill seeks to update Guam’s animal cruelty laws

Senator Sabina Perez (PNC file photo)

Senator Sabina Perez has introduced Bill 185-35, the Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety (PAWS) Act, which proposes a comprehensive updating of Guam’s animal cruelty laws.

According to the senator, the PAWS Act improves three key areas of Guam’s animal cruelty laws. First, the bill clarifies Guam’s existing standards for animal cruelty and includes a new distinction between animal abuse and animal neglect to more easily allow for citations of the latter.

Second, the PAWS Act adds new pre-conviction processes, which include procedures for properly seizing abused animals and ensuring for their care.

And third, the bill establishes post-conviction processes, which include provisions for community service, education, registration for felony convictions, and court-ordered mental health care and treatment.

The senator said Bill 185-35 was developed to meet Guam’s unique, local needs and it incorporates recommendations from a number of stakeholders.

She said the PAWS Act takes a comprehensive view of addressing animal cruelty and 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.

If her bill becomes law, Perez said 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 September 27, 2018.