STATEHOUSE (Feb. 5, 2021) – The Humane Society of the United States presented State Rep. David Abbott (R-Rome City) with the Indiana 2020 Legislator of the Year Award for his efforts to help protect exotic animals in Indiana and the country.
The recognition comes after Abbott worked on a bill in 2020 to end the possession, sale, transfer or breeding of exotic or dangerous and wild animals along with other limitations when dealing with these types of animals. The bill was heard last year in committee, but was not voted on.
"Bad actors taking advantage of these types of animals for personal gain is inhumane at best, and potentially lethal at worst," Abbott said. "That legislation was designed to protect both animals and humans from harm. I love animals, and hearing stories of their treatment is downright disheartening."
Abbott continued last year's effort with a new bill this session. Abbot said House Bill 1398, or the Cub Protection Act, would address "roadside zoos" throughout the state that allow patrons to take pictures while either holding or being in close contact with animals like lions, tigers and bears.
"People like to hold these young animals and be close to them while they are caged, but they do not consider the long-term quality of these animal's lives," Abbott said. "When they become older and bigger, they can't be in close contact with people. Many of these animals are sold on a black market, suffer mistreatment or even face starvation because the owners are unable to keep up a food supply for them."
The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society of Indiana said they appreciate Abbott's continued efforts and caring for these animal's wellbeing. According to Indiana State Director for the Humane Society of the United States Samantha Morton, there is simply no safe or humane way to allow for public handling of bears and big cats of any age.
“Hoosiers have good reason to be proud that Rep. David Abbott is leading efforts to help protect the public from dangerous encounters and animals suffering in roadside zoos by authoring legislation to address these concerns,” Morton said. “We are pleased to honor him with this award and thank him for his persistence and leadership.”
Learn more about Abbott's bill at iga.in.gov, or more about the award at humanesociety.org.
State Rep. David Abbott (R-Rome City) represents House District 82, which includes
all of Noble County and portions of Allen, Elkhart, LaGrange and Whitley counties.
Click here for a high-resolution photo.
CAPTION: State Rep. David Abbott (R-Rome City) receives The Humane Society of the United States Indiana Legislator of the Year Award from Indiana State Director for the Humane Society of the United States Samantha Morton Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. The recognition comes after Abbott worked on a bill in 2020 to end the possession, sale, transfer or breeding of exotic or dangerous and wild animals along with other limitations when dealing with these types of animals.