6. North Dakota Measure 5: Preventing Animal Cruelty
If approved, Measure 5 would make it a class C felony to “maliciously and intentionally” harm a dog, cat, or horse. Compared with the rest of the country, North Dakota’s animal cruelty laws are quite weak. It’s one of only two states where these kinds of crimes are a misdemeanor.
Some groups think the measure doesn’t go far enough — some forms of animal abuse, like malnourishment and neglect, aren’t included. What’s more, only three specific species are named — what about the rights of all the other members of the animal kingdom? Supporters say, though, that the measure was written this way to keep the law as specific as possible and to combat the worst forms of animal abuse.
Who’s Backing It: The Humane Society of the United States, The ASPCA, Several rescue organizations, animal shelters, and animal rights groups in the state. Country music star and native North Dakotan Lynn Anderson.
Who’s Opposing it: North Dakota Animal Stewards is behind the “no” campaign. Members of this coalition include meat and dairy producers, hunters, grocers, rodeos, and other agricultural groups. They also have the support of some veterinarians and a handful of animal shelters in the state.