It’s a Cat Bill! It’s a Pig Bill! It’s Dead!

Today we debated Senate File 479, a bill that basically exempts certain types of cats from “dangerous wild animal” status. Generally, Iowa law prohibits a person from owning or possessing a dangerous wild animal or transporting a dangerous wild animal into this state. A dangerous animal includes cats other than domestic cats (e.g., lions and tigers); it also includes the offspring of a dangerous wild animal.  The bill provides an exemption for a bengal cat, left ( which is a cross between a domestic cat and an Asian leopard cat and which is adorable),  and also provides an exemption for a savannah cat, right (which is a cross between a domestic cat and a serval cat and which is not quite so adorable as the bengal cat, but still pretty darn cute). In both cases the bill requires a separation of four filial generations between the Asian leopard cat/serval and the exempted cat (aka F-4 bengals and savannahs).

So that’s all well and good, and we were all a yes vote, UNTIL Representative Horbach filed an amendment to the bill (H-8287). Now, amendments are great, but one of the primary rules is that the amendment needs to be closely related to the bill onto which it’s being stuck — if not, the amendment can be challenged as being “un-germane.” E.g., an amendment allowing children to carry concealed on the school playground would be germane to a bill seeking to regulate gun possession, and would also be germane to a bill seeking to regulate recess activities, but would prob not be germane to a bill seeking to make it legal to ride llamas and other alpaca-like animals on public land.

So SF 479 is a simple bill exempting two types of cats from the list of dangerous wild animals, but Rep. Horbach has a constituent who runs a wild Russian boar game hunting preserve, which is actually currently illegal but which Rep. Horbach wants to make legal with his amendment.  And, you know, I get that — he’s trying to help out a constituent, and while we don’t usually pass a whole new law to help out one person or one business, more power to Rep. Horbach if he can pull it off. I guess.

But as it turned out, he couldn’t pull it off, because all sorts of different groups had problems with this plan, including hog farmers and the DNR and the Dept. of Health, since apparently in other states where this is allowed the wild boars get loose and reproduce and run rampant throughout the country and city side, spreading germs and inflicting serious injuries to dogs and children with their big scary tusks. Yikes. And while it’s a safe bet that the majority of legislators in the House don’t care much about what the DNR or the Dept. of Health think, they do care about what hog farmers, and farmers in general, and the Farm Bureau in particular, think.

So Rep. Horbach withdrew his amendment making it legal to operate a wild boar game hunting preserve, and instead ran an amendment making it legal to operate a domestic swine hunting preserve. Which first of all is totally not germane to a bill dealing with the classification of cats, but Rep. Horbach moved to suspend the rules to allow him to move forward with his un-germane amendment (which is what the Rs always do, successfully, since it just takes a majority vote to suspend the rules, and there’s 60 of them and 40 of us).  And after some discussion in which it was established that Rep. Horbach’s amendment would, indeed, make it legal to hunt plain old non-dangerous pigs, like Wilbur or Babe or Petunia, and which also established that plain old non-dangerous pigs would probably provide fairly easy targets for hunters, since they tend to spend most of their time wallowing and sleeping — we voted on Rep. Horbach’s amendment and it passed, on party lines, as did the amended bill itself. Hurray.

So it’s funny, but it’s not. Because why would anyone vote for a bill making it legal to hunt domestic pigs? They aren’t wild animals — they are, by definition, domesticated. They aren’t dangerous to anyone, except maybe their own baby piglets, if they roll over on one. And making it legal to hunt pigs doesn’t help out Rep. Horbach’s constituents w/the wild boar hunting preserve, because surely most real hunters have no interest in hunting big, fat, lazy domestic pigs–where’s the fun in that?

Plus, it means that the cat re-classification bill is, for all intents and purposes, dead, since there is no way the Senate is going to go along with the pig hunting deal. And that’s too bad for whomever it is that wanted the cats re-classified, and it’s too bad that the Senate wasted time debating and passing the cat bill, and that the House wasted time debating and passing the bill with the pig hunting amendment.  Because we still have an awful lot of important things to get done in the next four weeks, and legalizing pig hunting just isn’t one of those things.

But for those folks who really really want to kill some wild boars (legally, I mean, since apparently you can do it illegally in Tama County), here you go — according to this ad, which for some reason popped up on my Facebook news feed, wild boars are taking over Texas, and they’re practically giving them away to anyone with a gun and a large truck. Good times.

About Representative Mary Wolfe

Part time attorney; full time State Representative for Iowa House District 98 (East Clinton County)
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14 Responses to It’s a Cat Bill! It’s a Pig Bill! It’s Dead!

  1. Jan Saddoris says:

    I think it sounds like it was a huge waste of time……………….. just saying!

  2. Teresa says:

    I see that it is hard to tell that facts when you don’t know the facts. This family business has been running for 60 years now with DNR license and Department of Ag. regulated. They are pseudorabies and brucellosis herd certified free. They do not have Russian or Eurasian type that was outlawed in 2007 therefore are not running this business illegally. Tama county pork producers and Farm Bureau are not opposed to this bill. Reasoning for it to be on the Cat bill is because it was attached to the same bill in 2007. Running this family out of business will greatly effect the community of Tama county. If fighting for family businesses is considered a waste of time then our future is not looking very bright.

  3. Linda says:

    What do pigs have to do with Domesticated Cats………………. the Boars are wild and can be shot to death, which is appalling in my opinion however what on earth has this got to do with the other, it like comparing oranges to apples and even then not even close

  4. sharon says:

    another republican who ONLY cares about himself,rich people who have nothing better to do than kill animals in an enclosure…oh…called game hunting, please!!!
    Total waste of time…worrying about CATS, which he knows NOTHING about…we are paying these loosers to do their jobs to get people back to work, make this the country it once was,etc. and he is worrying about cats, and wild boar hunting. Shame on him.
    and, killing domestic swine…what kind of a person supports this. These factory farm animals suffer enough. I am sick of Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa…unfortunately I live in Wisconsin…love the state…HATE the current regime.

  5. Cindy says:

    Typical government nonsense. However, I’m glad the cat bill didn’t make it through. There are enough homeless cats now and allowing these breeds will only add to the problem as people start breeding them.

  6. Laurie Bishop says:

    The most absurd thing imaginable. f4s cannot survive in the wild any more than any domestic cat can. Please try again and keep extraneous amendments out of the bill…please.

  7. narce sidener says:

    they need to tend to business at hand , it it unfair to the breeds !!!!!!

  8. Vickie Knudsen says:

    Any chance of an amendment coming up again to straighten it all out?

  9. Sheryl says:

    Pathetic that law makers get to pull this crap, waste our money and end up not changing something for the good (Bengal’s and other hybrid cats are more friendly than regular domestic cats) because some idiot like Horbach wants something to benefit him personally. Time to throw them all out and start again.

  10. Richard Bruns says:

    As an Iowan serving overseas in the military (in Italy – I’m not complaining!) who owns a Savannah cat this really saddens me. They are the perfect pet, the idea that they could by any stretch of the imagination be dangerous to anyone is ludicrous.

  11. NikkiL says:

    It’s so good to know that BS runs rampant in politics in every state in the union. Way to mess up a worthwhile bill, Horbach. Selfish much?

  12. Bill Reirden says:

    The reason they want to hunt domestic hogs is because in only three generations time(less than two years) the domestic hogs turn feral. They grow lots of hair, tusks and their snouts elongate. most of the wild boar hunting that is done is actually these feral pigs which are just as likely to escape and cause trouble.

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