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Arkansas Makes Animal Abuse a Felony

Arkansas Makes Animal Abuse a Felony

Until now, animal cruelty in Arkansas had just been a misdemeanor, punishable by a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, but that has quickly changed.

Arkansas was one of the few states left in the U.S. that had no felony animal cruelty laws, but the state quickly moved to pass legislation that would make animal cruelty a Class D felony, punishable by up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine. A second offense within five years would be a Class C felony, punishable by between three and 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

From puppy mills to chained dogs and kitten killings, cases of animal cruelty have not been uncommon in the state, and now both citizens and lawmakers want to put a stop to it.

The bill is also being backed by the Arkansas Farm Bureau, who had opposed it in the past because they felt that it wasn’t defined well enough. The new bill provides more specific definitions of cruel and inhumane treatment, and will also give law enforcement officers the power to make arrests.

The bill will also make cock-fighting illegal and will create a system for punishing subsequent misdemeanor offenses.

While misdemeanor charges are a good start in animal abuse cases, they don’t carry enough weight to deter individuals from committing crimes again. They offer virtually no follow up, and don’t provide violators with the necessary counseling they may need, as was the case with the Humane Society’s crack down on Every Dog Needs a Home in Arkansas, an animal hoarding case in 2006.

Cases of animal abuse are on the rise. It’s truly unfortunate that there are people who lack empathy and compassion for our fellow creatures. Let’s hope the last few states catch up with everybody else soon.

For information about where your state stands on animal protection, visit the Humane Society’s state legislation page here.

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10 comments

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5:03PM PST on Feb 10, 2009

Kudos to Arkansas. All 51 states should follow this example!

11:16AM PST on Feb 10, 2009

Now to get the WORLD on Track, This is awsome News

8:52AM PST on Feb 10, 2009

This is the best news that I have heard for a long time way to go Arkansas government for passing this law, now if all of the rest of the country will follow your example. We are their voice and need to protect these precious animals, abusers need to be sentence to the max. no plea bargins with just a slap on their wrist. Thank you

1:25AM PST on Feb 7, 2009

Finally!

1:51PM PST on Feb 3, 2009

makes me happy to think that more people are realizing that cruelty should be punished. anyone who hurts an animal is capable of hurting a person. wish people would see that hurting others is really hurting themselves-in a way inside that they will suffer for in the long run.

5:58AM PST on Feb 3, 2009

Well i do think that is great great great news and like now the only person that needs to inforce the law everywhere is our govrment!

11:39AM PST on Feb 1, 2009

GREAT NEWS!! NOW-IF ONLY THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM WILL ENFORCE THE FELONY LAWS IN EVERY STATE!

7:11AM PST on Feb 1, 2009

fantastic step in the right direction!

1:01PM PST on Jan 31, 2009

I applaud the Arkansas government for increasing the jail time and fines for those people that abuse animals. I hope the rest of the country will do the same. Animals can't voice their problems, it is up to those of us who can to help and protect them. People who abuse animals deserve all that they get and more.

6:39PM PST on Jan 30, 2009

Tougher sentencing is hopefully enough to keep these baddies at bay and to respect animals the way they should be. These are also domesticated animals with no defense other than those their owners provide and if they do not provide that, they haven't much. These are our friends, not exits for destruction and abuse.

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