Humane Society honors Gallison and Serpa

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Humane Society presenter Lena Spadacene, Rep. Patricia Serpa and Rep. Ray Gallison with Humane State Legislator awards, Nicole Paquette, and Michelle McDonald. State House press bureau photo.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) honored Ray Gallison (D-69) and Patricia A. Serpa (D-27) as Rhode Island’s Humane State Legislators of 2013 for their efforts to crack down on wildlife poaching and protect elephants, according to a state house release.

Representative Serpa’s bill (2013-H 5764A), which passed the General Assembly last year, allowed Rhode Island to become a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. Under the compact, a person who is cited for a wildlife violation such as a fishing or hunting infraction in a state other than their own faces a number of legal hurdles. He or she is either required to post bond or collateral immediately, stay in custody until bond or collateral is posted, or go to court for an immediate appearance. However, a person cited for a violation in their home state can accept the citation at the scene and be immediately on their way. With the addition of the compact, a person cited for a violation in any member state would be treated as a resident of that state, and would be allowed to take their citation on-site. These measures are intended to make the administration of wildlife law more efficient so that officers can spend more time patrolling and less time processing violators.

“I am proud that Rhode Island agreed to become a part of the unification of wildlife law across the country, especially in light of the fact that many Rhode Islanders who hold hunting, fishing and trapping licenses have been affected by this issue,” Representative Serpa said. “This recognition from HSUS really serves as accolades for the creation of a fair, expedient process for violators and a new page in the book of environmental law. Any time we can streamline and simplify often has a positive ripple effect on the system.”

HSUS honored Portsmouth's Rep. Gallison for his legislation (2013-H 5853) barring the use of bullhooks and chains on elephants used in traveling shows and circuses. The Humane Society noted that although the legislation did not make the pass last year, it garnered enough attention to shed light on abusive practices commonly used when training elephants.

“I’m honored to be recognized by an organization that performs such great work in the realm of animal advocacy,” Representative Gallison said. “My hope is that this will serve as a reminder to others that improper treatment to elephants working in the entertainment industry can not only serve as a cruel form of abuse, but also endanger the health and welfare of those who attend these shows. Abused and neglected animals can become sick or diseased, and those that break free from captivity have the potential to kill or injure masses of people.”

HSUS is one of the country’s largest animal protection organizations – annually recognizes state lawmakers across the country who pursue trailblazing animal protection legislation and policy.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.