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South Dakota Lawmakers Enact Stronger Animal Cruelty Penalties

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a new law making the state the 50th to set felony penalties for malicious acts of animal cruelty. SB 46 also sets felony penalties for cockfighting, which is now a felony in 41 states and a misdemeanor in the other nine. The Humane Society of the United States strongly supported both upgrades to the state’s laws.

The enactment of SB 46 is a significant milestone for the animal protection movement. Prior to 1986, only four states had felony animal cruelty laws. Today, due to the hard work of animal advocates and lawmakers throughout the country, every state and the District of Columbia has some form of a felony animal cruelty law.

Darci Adams, South Dakota state director for The HSUS, said: “South Dakota now joins the rest of the nation in treating animal cruelty as the serious crime that it is. In addition to cracking down on the blood sport of cockfighting, this new law imposes stricter punishment upon anyone who tortures an animal. It has long been a priority goal for The HSUS to have felony cruelty statutes in all 50 states and to have our entire nation treat animal abuse as more than just a slap on the wrist. This is a great day for South Dakota’s animals.”

Media Contacts: Stephanie Twining, 240-751-3943, stwining@humanesociety.org

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