North Dakota and South Dakota step closer to new anti-cruelty bills

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I’ve touched on this of late. In November, the voters in North Dakota defeated a measure to change the state’s animal-cruelty laws. Now, a bill is being debated in the state legislature to readdress the issue.

KFYR TV reports the bill has the support of animal shelters, veterinarians and a number of agriculture and farm groups. The latter two give me pause, but I hope the bill will be a good step forward.

Citizens offered there thoughts this week at a Agriculture Committee Hearing. No one spoke in opposition to the legislation.

Senate Bill 2211 would “” define neglect, abuse and cruelty as three separate violations. Punishment for not giving adequate care or for abuse would result in a Class A misdemeanor for a first offence and a Class C felony for any subsequent offences within five years. “” – as noted in the KFYR article.

A KX News story quoted a number of individuals who spoke at the meeting, including this tidbit from a Farm Bureau rep: “Farm Bureau believes this bill or any bill speaking to these important issues should be about protecting animals, not punishing people. ”

That’s more than a bit off base. I hope the Farm Bureau doesn’t feel that way about child abuse or domestic violence or terrorism. People who abuse animals or other people should be punished. It should be about protecting victims AND punishing the offenders.

AND in South Dakota, the Black Hills Pioneer reports a new bill to establish tougher criminal penalties for animal cruelty was introduced in the state senate on Wednesday. South Dakotans Fighting Animal Cruelty Together is supporting the move.

North and South Dakota are the last remaining states that don’t have any kind of felony animal cruelty laws on the books.