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Animal Advocates Lobby South Dakota Lawmakers for Felony Penalties for Egregious Acts of Animal Cruelty Against Pets

Citizens from across South Dakota participated in Humane Lobby Day 2012 with lawmakers at the capitol lobbying for humane legislation.

Citizens from across South Dakota participated in Humane Lobby Day 2012 with lawmakers at the capitol lobbying for humane legislation. Attendees urged legislators to make it a priority to focus on a felony animal cruelty bill during next year’s legislative session in 2013.

“South Dakotans want a felony penalty for egregious acts of animal cruelty against pets because of the strong link between animal cruelty and human violence,” said Darci Adams, South Dakota state director for The Humane Society of the United States.  “You don’t need to be an animal lover to know last week’s incident of a Yankton woman bludgeoning her cat to death demands a higher level penalty.”

In South Dakota, destroying a $1000 portrait of another person’s cat is a Class 4 felony, but maliciously stabbing, torturing and killing that person’s actual cat is only a misdemeanor.  It reflects a sense of misplaced priorities that South Dakota is one of only three states in the nation that does not allow felony-level penalties for malicious cruelty to pets.

People who abuse and kill animals are more likely to target human victims.  In a 20 year study, 70 percent of animal abusers were found to have then committed other crimes and 44 percent went on to harm people. Passing a felony animal cruelty law for pets is a crucial step in ensuring community safety in South Dakota. 

Humane Lobby Day 2012 featured a round table meeting of animal advocates from South Dakotans Fighting Animal Cruelty Together, Patrick’s Movement in South Dakota and individuals from shelter and rescue groups. 

Last year, state legislatures across the country passed nearly 100 new laws for animals. The HSUS works with animal advocates and legislators to enact laws protecting animals from cruelty, combating animal fighting, halting wildlife abuse and more.

 

Media Contact: Katie Jarl: 301-258-1483, kjarl@humanesociety.org