Target: Shantel Krebs, Chair of the South Dakota Sentate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee
Goal: Thank South Dakota for making animal cruelty a felony
The South Dakota Senate has finally approved a bill that will make animal cruelty a felony. South Dakota remains the only state with no felony charges for animal cruelty and has been widely considered the most permissive in the Union for such crimes. Thankfully, South Dakota has set out to do something about it and for that they deserve our gratitude.
Senate Bill 46 will make cruelty to animals a class 6 felony punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of $4,000. Current laws only make inhumane treatment of companion animals a misdemeanor and a maximum penalty of on year in prison and a $2,000 fine. Several bills have been presented in the past, but were repeatedly voted down because of pressure from the agriculture industry. State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven believes this bill will was successful because it establishes that “standard accepted livestock-raising practices are not mistreatment.” Meaning, the law would ensure livestock producers are in no way affected as long as they uphold the standards for treatment of farm and work animals.
The bill passed unanimously in the Senate, which is a good indicator it will be successful when it reaches the House of Representatives for a final vote. It has also been the first of such bills to end years of debate and frustration between animal welfare groups and those in the agriculture industry. Senator Larry Lucas said of SB 46, “Individuals that would do a malicious act against an animal obviously may have that same type of evil thoughts in their mind against humans.”
Please take a moment to sign the petition below and thank South Dakota for finally making animal cruelty a felony in all fifty states.
Dear Senator Krebs,
The South Dakota Senate, hoping to make animal cruelty a felony, recently passed Senate Bill 46. South Dakota is currently the only state in the country that does not have any felony penalties for animal torture, cruelty, or neglect mostly due to pressure from livestock producers. Along with the rest of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, you have been working for months to mollify frustration within the agriculture industry and provide more protection for animals.
The bill is now headed to the House of Representatives, where it will await final approval. Thank you so much for all the work you have done to make this bill a success, and I certainly hope that it is. This may be your best chance and the animals of South Dakota shouldn’t have to wait any longer.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: torbakhopper via Flickr