Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Animal Cruelty Now A Felony In All 50 States

It may be shocking to think it took this long , but on March 14, 2014, South Dakota became the final state to enact a felony provision for animal cruelty.  There is still more that needs to be done and some states are working on it, such as Massachusetts with there PAWS act, or Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety Act, that has passed and awaits the governor's signature.

The PAWS act requires:

  • Stiffening of penalties for animal abuse-increasing the maximum prison sentence to seven years for a first offense, and up to 10 years for a subsequent offense
  • Requiring veterinarians to report suspected mistreatment to the police (vets who don’t report abuse would be reported to the Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine)
  • Offenders could face fines, which have been increased to $5,000 for a first offense and $10,000 for a subsequent offense.
In other states,  New Jersey passed State Senate. S. 1870  which will require pet shops in the state to provide consumers with certain identifying information regarding the animals they sell, thus cracking down on puppy mills and New York is working on the Consolidated Animal Crimes Bill (A.775b/S.6643) which improves enforcement by placing animal crimes under the penal code vs. under the farming and agriculture statues.

To see what is being done in your state, you can visit the Humane Society website under legislation.