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Citizen Advocates Rally at SD Capitol Urging Lawmakers to Protect Animals

The Humane Society of the United States

PIERRE, S.D. — Citizens from across South Dakota participating in The Humane Society of the United States' Humane Lobby Day 2009 will assemble at the state capitol Wednesday to rally in support of animal protection legislation. Activists will meet with lawmakers to urge them to pass H.B. 1146, a bill to create tougher laws for the worst acts of animal cruelty, and H.B. 1147, to provide civil immunity for veterinarians who report suspected animal cruelty in good faith.

"People who abuse animals can abuse people — it's as simple as that," said Dale Bartlett, The HSUS' deputy manager for animal cruelty issues. "Upgrading the penalties for animal cruelty will make all communities safer in South Dakota." 

The day will start at 9 a.m. with a legislative briefing at Perkins Family Restaurant in Fort Pierre, after which animal protection advocates from across the state will spread out to meet directly with their elected officials to urge support for this important legislation. 

H.B. 1146, sponsored by Rep. Joni Cutler, R-Sioux Falls, would make torturing an animal a felony offense. South Dakota is one of only four states in the nation without felony provisions for animal cruelty.

Rep. Cutler also sponsored H.B. 1147, which would grant immunity to veterinarians who report suspected animal cruelty.

Last year, state legislatures across the country passed 93 new laws for animals. The HSUS works with animal advocates and state legislators across the country to enact laws protecting animals from cruelty, combating animal fighting, halting wildlife abuse and more.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.