February 24, 2012
Idaho Senate Passes Weak Bill to Make Animal Cruelty a Felony Only on Third Offense
The Humane Society of the United States Urges House to Pass Stronger Law to Crack Down on Cruelty
The Humane Society of the United States is urging the Idaho House of Representatives to take a stronger stance against harming companion animals following a 31-1-2 vote in the Idaho Senate to make animal cruelty a felony only for three-time convicted offenders. Idaho currently has one of the weakest animal cruelty laws in the nation, being one of only three states where torturing an animal, even by the most sadistic means, warrants mere misdemeanor penalties.
No person in Idaho or in any state has ever been convicted of three cases of malicious cruelty, so the provision is useless in a practical sense. S.B. 1303, sponsored by Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, will do nothing to curb the most heinous acts of animal cruelty in the state, such as setting fire to puppies or decapitating kittens.
“The legislation tries to provide the appearance of action, but won’t change a thing. Citizens of Idaho want a felony penalty for extreme acts of animal cruelty against pets,” said Lisa Kauffman, Idaho state director for The HSUS. “The brutal act of torturing an animal should not be tolerated in our state.”
This week, citizen lobbyists urged their legislators to put teeth in the state’s animal cruelty law, and to explicitly define the terms of torture so that offenders face penalties that fit their crimes.
Last month, The HSUS released a comparison of animal protection laws across the country. Idaho ranked 50th among states.
To learn more about pending animal protection bills and their status, please visit The HSUS’ state legislation page for Idaho.