ANIMAL ADVOCATES TO SENATE:
Animal welfare was at the center of the discussion at the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Government, Law and Federal Relations Committee meeting yesterday on Capital Hill.
Advocates of animal protection rallied at the Senate to appeal to committee members to advance House Bill 21-59, HD1, which, if enacted, would prohibit cruelty and theft of animals, and would provide penalties for such acts, all over the CNMI.
“I really hope that this is where we can make a change for the better for our animals, dogs, and cats here on the island, as well as for the community,” Velma Apatang Lore said. “I have done everything I can to help Saipan Cares [for Animals] and the community.”
“As long as I’ve been back on island, I’ve seen the issues that we face with stray animals and it’s difficult. I can only bring so much with me to my home, take care of, and then bring them over to Saipan Cares,” she said.
Lore has donated the use of her own house, for Saipan Cares for Animals to use and to help animals in need. “That is where they have their clinic, but I’m also planning on extending that as long as they need it. I hope that I’ve done enough to help them, our animal lovers, and the community.”
Addressing the senators, Lore appealed to them to match the work that the community has done to make the islands safe for animals.
“The community has done everything to help on this matter. So, we’re asking you to meet us, match what we’ve done, put in as much as we have by helping us meet our goals. The community is asking for your help,” she said.
Another advocate, Lucy Sablan, highlighted the importance of having an anti-animal cruelty legislation in the CNMI.
“A lot of the foundations and non-profit organizations, like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, will not hand out grants if we don’t have an anti-cruelty legislation on board,” Sablan said. “That’s [the] bottom line. If they know that we do [have that law], we’ll be able to get some money to fund ourselves. We really want to do that. The community is behind us all. With this bill, we’ll be able to get more money from mainland. That would really, really help us.”
The Senate committee discussion on the bill would continue on Jan. 30 in consideration of the public comments, and the proposed amendments to the legislation, which the committee would have to review and take into consideration.