NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 16, 2008)—The Humane Society Legislative Fund and The Humane Society of the United States applauds Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen for Friday's signing of HB 2808/SB 2399, The Haley Ham Act, into law, which will require the addition of a bittering agent in antifreeze and engine coolant so that pets and children are not poisoned by the sweet-tasting liquid.
The law was championed through the legislature by Rep. Janis Sontany (D-53) and Sen. Raymond Finney (R-8). Sen. Finney introduced the bill after hearing the story of 11-year old Haley Ham from Sevierville, Tenn., who lost her dogs Jessie and Sam when they were intentionally poisoned with antifreeze. The bill passed the Tennessee General Assembly by an overwhelming vote of 85-9.
"Poisoning occurs when antifreeze is inadvertently spilled in our driveways or left in open containers in our garages," said Sara Amundson, executive director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. "Six other states have passed similar laws to enact these important animal protection and public safety measures. We applaud state lawmakers for helping to protect Tennessee's children and pets and we are grateful that Governor Bredesen signed the bill into law."
The law requires that engine coolant/antifreeze that is more that 10 percent ethylene glycol must also contain denatonium benzoate, the world's bitterest known substance, to render it unpalatable. Hundreds of children and thousands of animals, including companion animals and endangered species of wildlife, are accidentally poisoned each year from ingesting antifreeze. Its sweet taste attracts them, but less than a teaspoon can be fatal. One survey found that two out of three veterinarians see at least one accidental ethylene glycol poisoning each year.
"We're very grateful to Representative Sontany and Senator Finney their leadership on this important piece of animal protection and public safety legislation," said LeighAnn McCollum, Tennessee state director for The HSUS. "We are also grateful to Haley for her willful determination to see this bill through to the end. It will help prevent many unnecessary deaths every year, and other animals will be saved from the suffering that her dogs Jessie and Sam endured."
Media contact: Martin Montorfano: 301-258-3152
The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. On the web at www.hslf.org.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.