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Oklahoma bill that would make rescue animals the State Pet passes in the House

HB 1816 doesn’t designate any one type of animal species as the state pet, so it can be a cat, dog, turtle or any number of animals.

OKLAHOMA CITY — State Rep. Mark McBride’s dog Cali gets another shot at fame this year after her owner once again successfully won passage of a bill designating rescue animals the state pet.

House Bill 1816 – known as Cali’s Law – is a revision of a bill that passed the House last year but was sidelined because of COVID-19.

“When I adopted Cali seven years ago, my eyes were opened to how many animals are in our rescue shelters,” said McBride, R-Moore. “I ran this legislation to bring attention to this issue and to ensure these animals are not euthanized but are instead adopted as pets. Oklahomans are the biggest hearted people. I know when they see the rescue animal named as the state pet they’ll help in this mission and show these animals the love and care they deserve.”

Cali is an 80-pound Catahoula mix that McBride adopted from the Moore Animal Shelter. He said she’s the first dog he’s ever allowed in his house.

“You know, she’s really just a mutt, but that dog brings me an enormous amount of joy,” McBride said. “I know other rescue animals can do the same for their future owners.”

McBride said this also will help Oklahoma municipalities cut down on the cost of running or building bigger animal shelters for lost or abandoned pets. HB 1816 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.

HB 1816 passed the House with a vote of 86-8. It now moves to the State Senate where it is authored by Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore.

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