House pets, mountain lions and black-tailed prairie dogs have found a powerful advocate in Nebraska state Sen. Ernie Chambers.
Chambers has introduced legislation this year to protect dogs from neglectful owners and the prairie dogs from neighboring landowners - and he has chosen a mountain-lion hunting ban as his priority bill for the session.
The self-titled "Defender of the Downtrodden" says he's trying to undo many of the bills that were approved in the Legislature during the four years after term limits forced him from office.
Chambers says he believes animals are entitled to protections against human cruelty. The 76-year-old says he always had an affinity for animals, once describing a miniature poodle owned by his assistant as "the best and truest friend I ever had."