State Capitol News
10:45 am
Wed January 16, 2013

New Proposal Would Limit Animal Give-aways

If you've ever had a kid come home from a carnival with a goldfish, you might be interested in this new legislative proposal.

State law already makes it illegal to give away live animals as prizes in games of chance. But Rep. John Kavanagh said his wife, Linda, found out there's a loophole when a carnival came to Fountain Hills where she is the mayor. That law does not cover games of skill. And carnival operators were giving away not just fish but turtles and rabbits. His legislation would end the practice.

"When people want a pet, they plan: They go to a pet store, they buy the appropriate accessories," Kavanagh said. "When your child comes home at 10 o'clock at night with a rabbit, this is something which is not going to end well, for the most part."

Kavanagh also is sponsoring another bill which says anyone convicted of knowing or intentional animal abuse could no longer have a pet in the house.

"We discovered that individuals who are convicted of animal cruelty can turn around and own animals again very shortly," he noted.

Kavanagh compared the restriction -- which could be lifted by a court after two years -- to prohibiting a child molester from adopting. He acknowledged that the legislation would mean that an act of cruelty by one child would mean no one in the household could have a pet, even if everyone else was ignorant of the problem.

"If you have a child that's abusing pets, it's going to be no comfort to the abused animal that the other four family members didn't know about it," he said.