Gov. signs bill naming rescue animals as state pet

May 1, 2021 | Headlines

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Mark McBride’s dog Cali is ready for her moment as the spokesdog for the state after the governor signed a bill designating rescue animals the state pet.

Cali, an 80-pound Catahoula mix McBride adopted from the Moore Animal Shelter, served as the inspiration for Cali’s Law, House Bill 1816.

“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.

HB 1816 is a revision of a bill that passed the House last year but was sidelined because of COVID-19. 

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. 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.