Kentucky BR 290 would institute extensive procedures for confiscation of animals as well as bond and seizure requirements for peace officers and animal control officers who are investigating alleged acts of animal cruelty. For felony cruelty convictions, the bill also would allow courts to order forfeiture of the animals involved, reimbursement for costs of care, and a 5-year ban on “having custody of or residing in the same household with other animals.” The bill has not yet been referred to a committee.
Kentucky Considers New Animal Cruelty Investigation Procedures and Penalties
New York Considers Cross-Reporting Requirements for Abuse of Animals and Children
New York S. 7401 would amend the state’s social services laws to require humane law enforcement officers and others responsible for investigating allegations of animal cruelty to report any suspected maltreatment or abuse of a child discovered during the course of their duties. It likewise would require individuals investigating child abuse to report any suspected maltreatment or cruelty to animals discovered in the course of fulfilling their professional responsibilities. The bill has been referred to the New York Senate Rules Committee.
Delaware Clarifies Cruelty Code
Delaware Governor John Carney has signed into law Delaware Senate Bill 179, which rectifies redundancies in Senate Bill 139, enacted in March 2020 to amend the state’s cruelty code by prohibiting leaving dogs outside unattended for more than fifteen minutes in inclement weather, limiting tethering to a maximum of two hours, banning wire flooring in housing for dogs, and prohibiting allowing dogs to run at large except in rare instances such as at designated dog parks, while hunting, or on a farm.
Florida Considers Revising Definition of Misdemeanor Animal Cruelty
Florida Senate Bill 256 would reorder the elements necessary for a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty. This bill is being considered concurrently with House Bill 121, introduced last week, which elevates crimes against animals perpetrated in the home or in the course of another felony to the level of aggravated animal cruelty.
Florida Considers Expanding Definition of Aggravated Animal Cruelty
Florida House Bill 121 would add causing the death or injury of an animal during the course of an unrelated felony, or unlawfully causing the death a family pet by “an act imminently dangerous to any animal and evincing a depraved mind” (regardless of the degree of suffering) as crimes that could be charged and prosecuted as aggravated cruelty, a third degree felony. Conviction for aggravated animal cruelty can mandate a fine of up to $10,000, psychological counseling, and anger management treatment, in addition to any prison sentence imposed. The bill has not yet been assigned to a committee.
Senate Considers Horse Slaughter Legislation
S. 2732, the “John Stringer Rainey Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act” would amend the federal criminal code to prohibit the possession, shipping, transportation, or receiving of “any member of the family Equidae” with the intent for the animal to be slaughtered for human consumption. The bill provides for monetary penalties and up to two years imprisonment and has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. Sens. Bob Menendez, Lindsey Graham, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Susan Collins are the lead sponsors.
New Hampshire Criminalizes Cruelty to Wild Animals
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has signed into law House Bill 529 which will make any person who “purposely beats, cruelly whips, tortures or mutilates . . . any wild animal, fish or wild bird,” or who causes such acts, guilty of a class B felony. Any person who “negligently” takes such action shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. The law includes an affirmative defense for “any manner of taking, open season time limits, permitted scientific investigations or wildlife management practices lawful under title XVIII or administrative rules.”
Illinois Allows Barring Companion Animal Ownership in Households of Persons Convicted of Multiple Animal Cruelty Offenses
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed into law HB 168 which provides that a “court may order that a person and persons dwelling in the same household may not own, harbor, or have custody or control of any other animal if the person has been convicted of 2 or more of the following offenses: (1) a violation of aggravated cruelty; (2) a violation of animals for entertainment; or (3) a violation of dog fighting.”
New York Bill Would Make Multiple Animal Cruelty Convictions Within Five Years a Felony
New York Senate Bill 7302 would make any subsequent conviction for animal cruelty or failure to provide sustenance to an animal a felony if committed within five years of a previous such conviction. The felony could carry a sentence of imprisonment for up to two years. The bill’s provisions would not apply to animals used in research.
Louisiana Creates Crime of Unlawful Possession, Transfer, or Manufacture of Animal Fighting Paraphernalia
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has signed into law Senate Bill 144 which will prohibit the possession, purchase, sale, transfer, and manufacture of animal fighting paraphernalia “with the intent to engage in, promote, or facilitate animal fighting.” “Animal fighting paraphernalia” is defined as “equipment, products, implements, or materials of any kind that are used, intended for use, or designed for use in the training, preparation, conditioning, or furtherance of animal fighting” and includes but is not limited to “breaking sticks, cat mills, treadmills, fighting pits, spring poles, unprescribed veterinary medicine, veterinary treatment supplies,” and “spurs, gaffs, knives, leather training spur covers, slashers, heels, or any other sharp implement designed to be attached in place of the natural spur of a cock or game fowl.” The new law exempts “items normally used in cockfighting that are at least five years old and have historical value” and “the training of animals or the use of [listed] equipment in the training of animals for any purpose not prohibited by law.”