Harsher punishments sought for animal cruelty

Harsher punishments sought for animal cruelty

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by Natalie Podgorski

KTVB.COM

Posted on July 12, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 4:43 AM

BOISE -- A statewide effort is underway to make animal cruelty a felony offense.

After legislation failed to make it out of the Statehouse, the organization Idaho 1 of 3 wants voters to decide the punishment.  They are working with groups across the state to collect enough signatures to put the initiative on the November 2012 ballot.  The Idaho Humane Society is one of the groups pushing the initiative forward.

"Every single time we see a case of animal cruelty we see a lot of people saying what can we do what can we do," said Hannah Parpart, communication outreach coordinator with the Idaho Humane Society.

Idaho is one of only three states nationwide where animal cruelty is a misdemeanor.  North Dakota and South Dakota are the other two states.

The Humane Society wants to see the current animal cruelty law changed to add the definition of animal torture and make it a felony offense.  If a person gets convicted of animal cruelty for a third time in 15 years it would be a felony.

"We need 47,000 to get the changes on the November 2012 ballot," said Parpart.

The Humane Society's goal is to collect 60,000 signatures. She says the Ada County Humane Society has already collected a few thousand signatures. Since people are turning their signatures into the county election offices, Parpart is not sure how many signatures have been collected statewide.

Idaho 1 of 3, and the other groups involved, must collect and turn in 47,000 signatures to the Idaho secretary of state before April 30, 2012.

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