Creating and supporting animal-friendly legislation

Since the 1900s, The Federation has actively worked on state legislation that benefits and protects animals. The Legislative Committee is made up of Federation members and supporters who along with our paid lobbyist track and address legislation affecting animals in our state. We network with local agencies and national groups including the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA to leverage the influence that our vast membership can have on policy makers.

The Legislative Committee works directly with The Federation lobbyist to identify legislation that impacts animals and makes recommendations to support or oppose bills brought up during the state legislative session. Our work is most intensive during the state legislative session (usually the months of January through April) and can involve testifying on bills. We do planning and educational efforts during the off-session months, and keep abreast of federal bills that can impact our work and the animals.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Legislative Committee, want to discuss a specific piece of state or local legislation, or simply become involved in our activities during the upcoming state legislative session, please contact us.

Need to find a current law or local code

Check out these resources to locate state and local laws and codes. You can also purchase the “Pocket Guide to Washington Animal Control Laws 2012 version” by visiting

Wrap up of the 2013 session

The Federation regularly provides updates regarding pending animal welfare bills. Click here to view a wrap-up of the 2013 session. Through the State Legislature website, citizens can track the status of any pending legislation.

The Legislature also provides a toll-free hotline during its annual legislative session that provides citizens with the opportunity to express their views on the issues before the Legislature. For questions about the legislative process, or to leave a brief message for a member, please call the in-state Washington State Legislative Hotline at 1.800.562.6000.

History of legislative successes

In 2009, in association with the Humane Society for the United States, the “puppy mill bill” (SB 5651) was signed into law to establish humane requirements for large scale breeding operations. The new law limits the number of adult dogs with intact sexual organs one person can possess to 50 and includes mandatory care standards to anyone who has custody of more than 10 intact adult dogs. Standards include access to clean food and water, exercise, proper housing, basic veterinary care, and protection from extreme weather conditions.

In 2006, in association with the Washington Department of Licensing, The Federation sponsored a vanity license plate called “We Love Our Pets”. A portion of the cost of the plate supports a spay/neuter fund administered by The Federation. Member agencies of The Federation are eligible to apply for grants up to $5,000 to create or enhance spay/neuter programs.

In 1994, the accomplishments of The Federation included coordinating comprehensive revisions to the state’s animal cruelty laws. For the first time since 1901, the Washington State legislature passed legislation to dramatically improve the RCW 16.52 which addresses animal cruelty.