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Gov. Stitt signs bill naming rescue animals as Oklahoma state pet

Dog playing outside
Posted at 3:17 PM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 09:28:53-04

OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill designating rescue animals as the Oklahoma state pet.

House Bill 1816, also known as Cali's Law, is a revision of a bill that passed the House last year but was sidelined because of COVID-19, according to the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Lawmakers said the measure doesn’t designate any one animal species as the state pet, so it can be a cat, dog, turtle or any number of animals. State Rep. Mark McBride said he’s even been asked if an elephant could be considered a rescue animal. He said, sure, as long as someone is willing to adopt it and care for it and is allowed to have it according to municipal ordinance.

Cali, an 80-pound Catahoula mix McBride adopted from the Moore Animal Shelter, served as the inspiration for the legislation.

“I’d never let a dog in my house before I got Cali,” McBride said. “Now, my wife and I have a second rescue dog, and we just love them both. We’re hoping others will join us in adopting other rescue animals, which in turn will help our municipalities reduce the cost of running their shelters or building bigger ones for lost or abandoned pets. We’re counting on this legislation helping us spread the word.”

Senate author Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, helped pass the legislation.

“There are so many pets who need and deserve a loving home, but the sad truth is that many of these animals will be put down if they aren’t adopted. The aim of this new law is to bring attention to this need and encourage more Oklahomans to open their hearts and their homes to rescue animals,” Weaver said.

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