START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
3,404,701 people care about Animal Welfare

Idaho Moves to Toughen Cruelty Laws, But Doesn’t Go Far Enough

Idaho Moves to Toughen Cruelty Laws, But Doesn’t Go Far Enough

This week the House Agricultural Affairs Committee in Idaho approved a measure that defines animal torture and creates a felony penalty for a third conviction of abusing companion animals.

The bill, HB 111, was sponsored by Chairman Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, in what one would hope was an altruistic effort to protect animals, but is really nothing more than an attempt to stave off a ballot initiative to toughen state laws later.

Idaho was one of three states that had no felony penalty on the books for animal torture or repeat offenses until last year when a law was passed that would result in felony charges if perpetrators had two prior convictions in the past 15 years. HB 111 offers the same penalties, only without the time limitation.

Idaho 1 of 3, an umbrella group of animal advocacy organizations, worked on a ballot initiative for tougher cruelty laws in the state which would have made torture a first offense felony. Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful.

When asked about the new law, spokeswoman Virginia Hemingway told the Idaho Statesmen it does little to stop abusers.

Representative Andrus has given me the opportunity to provide input on the animal cruelty issue in the last two years. I want to commend him for at least trying to pass legislation that will begin to stop animal cruelty. He is working in an atmosphere that is very intolerant of felonies for animal cruelty.

Unfortunately, as a result of the intolerance in the legislature, we are once again faced with a piece meal ‘it’s better than nothing’ bill. The bill that allows someone to commit torture three times on an animal before they are charged with a felony is absolutely appalling. We are talking about torture; not forgetting to leave water for your dog one day or not providing adequate shelter.

The legislature is telling everyone that it is fine with them if you knowingly and willfully inflict ‘unjustifiable and extreme or prolonged pain with the intent to cause suffering.’ They are also telling those who have production animals that they can commit torture and there will be absolutely no consequences because this bill only applies to companion animals i.e. pets.

While some applaud any efforts to strengthen laws, others are equally skeptical.

“It’s possible that if passed, House Bill 111 could in the future be amended to significantly enhance the penalty for malicious acts upon animals and that hope could be a basis for support. However, we are concerned that this placebo of a bill will be marketed as an actual cure by the legislature. House Bill 111 does not solve the problem of Idaho’s weak cruelty laws,” said Idaho Humane Society Executive Director Jeff Rosenthal, DVM.

Progress on this front has been hindered by ag groups who finally caved to support this bill in the hope that it will appease people enough to stop them from pursuing another ballot initiative, which they fear may affect agricultural practices, but that might be wishful thinking on their part.

“The legislature needs to realize they are ignoring the wishes of more than 50,000 Idahoans. We are seriously considering doing an initiative for the 2014 ballot which will make torture a first offense felony because I believe if you are willing to tolerate three convictions of torture; you are condoning torture,” said Hemingway.

 

Related Stories:

Utah is Finally Fighting its Horrific Animal Welfare Record

Puppies Triumph Over Angry Breeders in Texas

More States Want to Punish People Reporting Animal Abuse

 

Read more: , , , , , ,

Photo credit: Thinkstock

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

105 comments

+ add your own
4:07AM PDT on Jul 16, 2013

thank you for sharing 16/7

7:38AM PDT on Mar 23, 2013

thanks for sharing

10:49AM PST on Mar 3, 2013

There shouldn't be a first time at all.... animal cruelty is animal cruelty the first, second or third time and should be punishable the same.

3:08AM PST on Mar 2, 2013

14 members think it's OK to abuse animals at least once before punished. Did someone click the wrong button? I hope so!
Animals aswell as humans should not have to rely on state laws for protection. This is an area that should be covered by Federal law. Why should a pet in Idaho have to suffer three times before the perp is sent to prison, when a pet in another state will be saved from that horror?

10:19PM PST on Feb 23, 2013

It is a start BUT the laws need to be stricter & impose stiffer penalties.

7:14AM PST on Feb 22, 2013

Address Book Loading....
From
Your Email
To enter multiple email addresses separated by commas (up to 100)
Select names from your address book | Help

Add new contacts to Care2 address book Personal message Hello,
I saw this on Care2 and thought you'd like it as well.

Care2 is the largest and most trusted information and action site for people who care to make a difference in their lives and the world. We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

Idaho Moves to Toughen Cruelty Laws, But Doesn’t Go Far Enough
by Alicia Graef
February 19, 2013
4:00 am

"This week the House Agricultural Affairs Committee in Idaho approved a measure that defines animal torture and.........................creates a felony penalty for a third conviction of abusing companion animals."

Am I reading this correctly that a felony penalty kicks in AFTER A THIRD CONVICTION???? So this means that some monster can abuse, neglect, torture or murder 2 animals before he can be convicted as a felon???? Apparently it does..................


"The bill that allows someone to commit torture three times on an animal before they are charged with a felony is absolutely appalling. We are talking about torture; not forgetting to leave water for your dog one day or not providing adequate shelter."


This simply is NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

8:14AM PST on Feb 21, 2013

Our government doesn't protect us so how can we expect them to protect animals. It is nothing for the democratic party to say 'YES, ABORT' a fetus because it isn't alive but when it comes to sand crabs or spending taxpayers money on a memorial sign in Irvine CA for fish that was headed to a restaurant to die in 30 minutes they have no problems with. No regards for human lives but bugs YEP. They are all for it. It's easy to check that out about Irvine and the memorial for the fish that died.

5:42AM PST on Feb 21, 2013

Isn't a government supposed to protect the innocent and the defenseless against abuse, murder and torture? Legislators have to be constantly reminded that animals are an important part of our society as Guides for the Blind, Ears for the Deaf, Companions for the disabled and elderly, serving with the Military and Police. We must implement and enforce laws that protect those that are an intricate part of our world.

2:33AM PST on Feb 21, 2013

Why is it that lawmakers have to be dragged "kicking and screaming"along every tiny step of the road towards establishing some REAL justice for animals? It is as if they really don't even want to do the bare minimum in terms of implementing decent animal protection laws. And you can cite the overwhelming evidence that cruelty to animals precludes violence towards other people until you are blue in the face- it really seems to count for nothing. I have truly given up on the human species. I really despair of Homo sapiens - so called "thinking Ape".

1:24AM PST on Feb 21, 2013

at least it's a step in the right direction.......thanks for sharing with us!

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

ads keep care2 free

meet our writers

Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free

more from causes




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.