Target: Representative Pete Visclosky; Senator Joe Donnelly,
Animal cruelty is not just happening more, the degree of cruelty is beyond comprehension. It is such a traumatic experience for the abused animal, family of the abused animal, and/or for the people who rescue these animals, we feel it is appropriate that stricter penalties for such crimes be put into place in an effort to deter their occurrence. Rather than mere misdemeanors or Class D felonies, we feel each of these crimes should be upgraded to Class A felonies.
Currently, under Indiana law, charges for abandonment, neglect, and/or torture of an animal carry the following penalties:
35-46-3-7 Abandonment or neglect of vertebrate animals
Sec. 7. A person having a vertebrate animal in the person’s custody who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally abandons or neglects the animal commits cruelty to an animal, a Class B misdemeanor.
35-46-3-11 Law enforcement animal; mistreatment or interference
Sec. 11. (a) A person who knowingly or intentionally:
(1) strikes, torments, injures, or otherwise mistreats a law enforcement animal; or
(2) interferes with the actions of a law enforcement animal while the animal is engaged in assisting a law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer’s duties;
commits a Class A misdemeanor.
(b) It is a defense that the accused person:
(1) engaged in a reasonable act of training, handling, or discipline; and
(2) acted as an employee or agent of a law enforcement agency.
(c) In addition to any sentence or fine imposed for a conviction of an offense under this section, the court may order the person convicted to make restitution to the person or law enforcement agency owning the animal for reimbursement of:
(1) veterinary bills; and
(2) replacement costs of the animal if the animal is disabled or killed.
35-46-3-12 Torture or mutilation of a vertebrate animal
Sec. 12. (a) A person who knowingly or intentionally tortures, beats, or mutilates a vertebrate animal commits cruelty to an animal, a Class A misdemeanor. However, the offense is a Class D felony if the person has a previous, unrelated conviction under this section.
We urge you to do what is necessary to change the current Indiana Cruelty to Animals Statutes.