An Oklahoma House committee rejected a bill Tuesday that would have made exemptions to Oklahoma’s animal cruelty laws to allow people to “dispose” of animals they own by shooting them to death.
The bill, House Bill 2613, was rejected in the House Judiciary Committee, 8-4.
State Rep. Steve Martin, R-Bartlesville, introduced the bill.
“Euthanizing your own animal with a firearm in Oklahoma is done all the time,” Martin said. “People have animals that, for one reason or another, they’re either sick or old or for some reason not suitable to go to a new home, and it is as painless to euthanize an animal with a firearm, if it’s done humanely, as any other method.”
Currently, it is against the law to shoot your animal.
Martin’s proposal would have created a caveat in the law for animal owners who are “humanely destroying or causing to be humanely destroyed said animal by use of a firearm.”
It is legal to kill animals covered by the bill only in self defense or if they are threatening livestock.
Oklahoma law doesn’t allow animal shelters to use firearms to euthanize animals. Instead, they use chemical injections or carbon monoxide gas.
“I think (killing an animal by shooting) is as humane as taking them to a vet and having a needle put in their vein and being put to sleep,” Martin said.
“There are people in your family who have done that with a firearm. And I don’t know who it is, whether it’s your uncle or your grandfather; someone in your family has done this.”
Many animal rights advocates and other groups opposed the bill.
“What if somebody tries to shoot an animal with a gun and kill it with one shot but they miss, or the animal moves?” said Cynthia Armstrong, Oklahoma state director of The Humane Society of The United States. “Then, we have an injured animal running lose. You’ve got a maimed animal running around without any care.”