Momma's Law, otherwise known as the Standard of Care for Animals Amendment Act of 2017, passed the DC Council today with a unanimous vote, ensuring stricter animal welfare laws in the District.
This was a huge win for the people who've worked so hard to improve the terrible conditions some dogs and other pets in DC find themselves in due to owner negligence. The story of the pit bull named Momma first became widely known when Petworth News broke the story on January 9th with the story "A frozen heart."
Two Petworth neighbors, Emily Price and Sarah Yacoub, began the months-and-months-long effort of trying to get Momma's condition improved by talking with the owner and the Humane Rescue Alliance. When those efforts failed, and temperatures dramatically fell in January 2017, the Petworth News article went viral and DC residents, the Humane Rescue Alliance and pet and pit bull organizations across the country called, tweeted and emailed the DC Council asking for new, more comprehensive legislation that would raise the minimum standards of animal care, and enable Humane Enforcement Officers to be more empowered.
Temporary legislation was passed by the DC Council on February 8th while the full legislation was being drafted. Now the final legislation has been passed.
It truly couldn't have happened without the constant hard work and huge hearts of Emily, Sarah and the other neighbors who live in the area, as well as the efforts of Councilmembers Brandon Todd and Mary Cheh who pushed from the very beginning to strengthen the animal welfare laws. A good example of grass-roots, resident-led change.
As for Momma... no one has seen her since that day in January. The dog's owner lives in Maryland (and kept dogs here at houses in the Petworth area). He took the dog with him that day and her condition isn't known. That's the sad, unknown part to the story.
7/12 Editor's Note: Note that the bill hasn’t officially passed yet -- it just passed the first vote, as every bill needs two passing votes in the Council. The second vote will happen after the DC Council's fall recess, then it goes to the Mayor and Congress for approval. With the unanimity of the vote, it's expected that all those stages will be successful.