August 10, 2009
The HSUS Welcomes Stronger Animal Cruelty Laws in Louisiana
The Humane Society of the United States welcomes two new Louisiana state animal cruelty laws that provide increased penalties for egregious animal abuse such as torture and starvation. The laws, Act 106 and Act 179, strengthen existing cruelty laws to make animal abusers accountable for their crimes and deter future behavior. Both go into effect Saturday.
"Increasing the penalties for animal cruelty will hopefully make people think twice before abusing an animal in Louisiana," said Julia Breaux Melancon, The Humane Society of the United States' Louisiana state director. "We also applaud a provision of the law that requires psychological counseling for repeat offenders because there is a documented connection between animal cruelty and human violence."
The HSUS praises Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for signing these two important bills, H.B. 90 and S.B. 31, into law. Before these bills were passed, animal cruelty laws in Louisiana lagged behind other state laws and were deficient in the ways they dealt with crimes against animals.
Act 106, sponsored by Sen. Robert Adley as S.B. 31, strengthens existing animal cruelty laws by allowing prosecutors to pursue more severe penalties against individuals who commit crimes against animals. Act 179, sponsored by Rep. Anthony Ligi as H.B. 90, strengthens existing animal cruelty laws in the following ways:
- Any individual convicted of a second (or subsequent) offense of simply cruelty to animals will face felony penalties (not less than $5,000 and not more than $25,000 or imprisonment, with or without hard labor, for not less than one year nor more than 10 years, or both).
- Upon committing a second offense, offenders shall be required to receive a psychological evaluation or anger management treatment.
- If convicted of a second offense, a judge shall order that the offender may not own an animal again for a period of time deemed appropriate by the court.
These important upgrades to Louisiana's anti-cruelty law follow other advances in recent years, such as the ban on cockfighting and the regulation of puppy mills. The Humane Society of the United States thanks Louisiana state lawmakers for their leadership in protecting animals from cruelty and abuse.
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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 28. 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.