By: Aubrey Burgess
Jake Foster, an 11th grade delegate from Jack C. Hays High School, proposed an act relating to animal adoption procedures. The act would enforce background checks that will check for past and current illnesses, financial status, and past violence charges in order to protect the pet from harm. The bill was passed.
The Department of Animal Adoption in Austin, Texas, currently requires a photo ID, $75, and a visitor profile that requires a home address, phone number, and the amount of people in the family that is adopting the animal.
“Animals have done so much for us so we should help protect them through these background checks,” Foster said.
This is Foster’s first year in Youth & Government; he started because his teacher ran his school chapter and asked him to be on the Legislative team.
“I’ve never been one to do things outside of school,” said Foster, “so when I heard about Youth & Government I thought ‘wow, that sounds like a really good opportunity to do something new.’”
Foster decided to write his bill about animal adoption because animal welfare has always been a big passion of his.
“I think that the fact that animals face harm and cannot control that is really a shame,” he said.
The bill says that livestock and small animals like rodents are not required to follow this process.
“Small animals can be used for experiments and do not want to get in the way of scientific advancement,” Foster said.
According to the bill, “If any shelter or pet trader is found not following this procedure, they will be charged $2500.”
The bill would go into effect in the next business year to help the shelters adjust to the change. In addition, all laws that are conflicting with this bill will be repealed.
Ricky Rosario opposed the bill, saying “Therapeutic animals are needed by people with illnesses such as bipolar disorder and they will love and care for those animals just as much as others would.”
Foster responded saying, “if the bipolar person has a doctor tell them that they are well enough to get a pet they may.”
Jesse Williams (11) said that he is for this bill because it “makes sure that the animal lives a peaceful life.” Dylan Cousins said that this bill will help pets, “all arguments against it will be invalid.”
One amendment, stated by Julia Mendoza, 12, suggested that “line seven should be changed to domesticated animal adoptions.” Fosters agreed, saying that the clarification of the bill, changing the word “animal” to “domestic animals,” was helpful.