Montana Bill Targets Companion-Animal Hoarding

Measure seeks to establish penalties, rehabilitation for violators.

Posted: March 9, 2009, 3 a.m. EST

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Gray tabby cat
A proposed Montana law would impose fines and penalties for possession of 10 or more companion animals kept in "severely overcrowded" conditions.
Montana legislators are scheduled to hear a proposed measure that would add companion-animal hoarding to existing state cruelty laws. The measure, Senate Bill 221, establishes penalties and rehabilitation for companion animal hoarders.

A public hearing is set for March 11 before the House Judiciary Committee.

Sponsored by state Sen. Mitch Tropila, SB 221 states a person is guilty of “companion animal hoarding” if all of the following occur:

  • Possession of 10 or more companion animals or household pets.
  • Failure or inability to provide the necessary care for animals.
  • Confining animals in a “severely overcrowded” environment.

“Companion animal or household pet” is defined as “a domesticated cat, dog, bird, ferret, rabbit or other domesticated animal normally maintained in the residence or on the property of the owner or person who cares for the domesticated animal.” The proposed rule does not apply to purebred animal breeding facilities or facilities for animals related to sanctioned endurance races.

Under SB 221, anyone found guilty of companion- animal hoarding would be fined an amount not to exceed $2,500, be sentenced to the department of corrections for a term not to exceed two years, or both. In addition, the convicted person must undergo a psychological or psychiatric examination and treatment when considered appropriate by the court.

The state Senate passed the bill on its third reading by a vote of 33-17.

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Reader Comments

Aimee    West Simsbury, CT

3/14/2009 6:24:44 AM

I sometimes get tempted to have a lot of cats, for I hate hearing of all the animals that have no home or who are treated cruelly. However I know it would be cruelty on my part.

christine    wilmington, DE

3/13/2009 10:03:34 AM

At one time, I had 14 pet cats and a few outside strays that I cared for. I took care of all my cats; they all lived to a ripe old age, I still have two left and I was very happy and not, I believe, crazy at all. I know some people may have serious problems in hoarding animals, but these fascist, yes fascist, legislatures are in no way interested in helping sick people or ill-kept pets. It is just another way to tax, and tax and tax some more, people to death. Montana is a pretty rural state, so you probably can keep more pets in a typical Montana setting than in a small city apartment anyway. So if you have more than 10 pets, what do you do with the extra ones?? Kill them?? Dump them?? Find homes for them?? Lots of luck with that one! Take them to the local shelter?? All public and private shelters are severely overcrowded right now, thanks to the government lousing up the economy, so most no-kill shelters won't even take them. Why can't those bastards we send to represent us in various seats of government kindly leave us all alone?

momo    anaheim, CA

3/9/2009 10:18:14 PM

happy they passed the bill

Anon    City, CA

3/9/2009 7:32:18 PM

Where I live you are only allowed 3 cats and 3 dogs per house. I have 4 cats and have more than enough space and time for them. I think my city is a bit strict in their law but I think that 10 animals is a little lax. I don't know of anybody in the city limits who would be able to care for 10 animals.

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