Minnesota lawmakers push for new board dedicated to household pets

Bipartisan lawmakers are teaming up in trying to create a new animal board that focuses on the needs of household pets.  

Lawmakers and animal welfare groups went to the St. Paul capitol on Thursday with the help of some furry friends to push for the creation of the Companion Animal Board (CAB) which would focus on the policies of cats, dogs, and other household pets. 

Currently, issues pertaining to household pets are handled by the Board of Animal Health, which mainly deals with livestock, animal diseases and wildlife. Lawmakers and animal welfare groups want a new board that doesn’t focus so heavily on agriculture matters. 

"Companion animals are not agricultural products. We do not eat or wear them. These animals are about companionship with people and this requires different expertise and different focus and different oversight," Ann Olson the director of Animal Folks said.  

A adorable cat helping bipartisan lawmakers push for the creation of the Companion Animal Board.  (FOX 9)

CAB would allow the state to plan and respond to pets' needs and those who care for them. The board would enforce pet regulations for breeders and kennels, provide access to affordable and emergency veterinary care, manage feral cat colonies, dedicate funds for the shortage of veterinarians and technicians, provide education on pet care, and more. 

"Minnesotans love their pets, and that's something both Republicans and Democrats can agree on. Companion animals are pets, and they play a vital role in the lives of Minnesotans," Sen. Karin Housley said during the press conference.  

More than 65% of Minnesota households have a pet, and 95% of those households consider their pet a family member or a companion, Housley added.

If the bill passes, the board would consist of 13 members. The state would need to allocate about $3 million toward the project.