Tennessee Voters for Animal Protection (TVAP), a non-partisan political action committee (PAC), recently endorsed Amelia Morrison Hipps, the Democratic candidate for District 46 in the State House of Representatives race.
TVAP endorsed 29 candidates in Tennessee House and Senate races.
"We are excited to announce our endorsements for the General Election," said Anjie Crow, TVAP president. "We've never endorsed this many candidates in the General Election before and are very pleased that there are so many animal-friendly candidates this year. It's proof that animal protection issues are more important in Tennessee than ever, and that there are many candidates who are willing to ensure animals have a voice in Tennessee."
"I am honored and humbled to receive the TVAP's endorsement," Hipps commented. "Pets have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. They are members of our family. My husband Jim and I refer to them as our four-legged children."
Hipps added that she supports animal welfare and protection legislation for two reasons.
"To paraphrase a friend of mine, if not for my voice and others who share my concerns, then who will speak for them? They can't tell us in words how they feel or what is happening to them, but if you've ever owned or been around a dog or cat who has been abused or neglected, you know by their actions," she said.
"The second reason I support legislation against animal abuse, neglect and cruelty is because studies have shown that those who participate in these activities often go on to abuse other humans," Hipps continued. "By strengthening our laws against such behavior against animals, hopefully we can break the cycle and stop abuse against people before it can start."
In their endorsement, TVAP wrote, "Amelia Morrison Hipps supports legislation known as the Commercial Dog Breeder Registration Act as well as stronger laws regarding animal fighting, tethering, spay/neuter and animal control. Additionally, she opposes horse slaughter, ag-gag, and wildlife ownership legislation as well as Breed Specific Legislation. Mrs. Hipps states she wants to be the voice of animals in District 46.
"Her Republican opponent, Rep. Mark Pody, voted for the ag-gag bill in 2013, voted against a bill in 2015 allowing for the rescue of dogs in hot cars, and voted in 2016 to allow skunks as pets."
Hipps said her opponent's votes both angered and appalled her. "I cannot understand how anyone could vote against a bill that would allow a person to break a window to rescue a pet left in a hot car. He cast one of the only two votes against this bill in the House. Overheating is a cruel way to die, whether it be an animal, a baby or a child."
Hipps said Pody's vote to allow skunks as pets shows a lack of knowledge about the animal, the special care it requires and its high propensity to carry rabies.
"There is not an approved rabies vaccination for skunks, which creates a potential health hazard for both people and other animals," Hipps said. "Additionally, there is the real possibility of people tiring of them as pets and releasing them into the wild, which not only endangers their survival, but also could cause an increase in the skunk population if they were to survive without being neutered or spayed.
"All the way around, this was an idiotic bill that wasted taxpayers' money and legislators' time, but my opponent still voted in favor of it," she said. "We need someone who will be the voice in protecting innocent animals and who will not vote in favor of frivolous legislation, and that's one of the many reasons I'm running for office."