Inside the Statehouse
Animal torture law heading to Senate Ag Committee
Jennifer Auh reports on the Animal Torture Law heading to the Senate Ag Committee. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
State lawmakers are looking to beef up animal abuse laws. Recently, the proposed bill took a big step forward, passing through the House Agriculture Committee.
The bill enhances last year's law that toughened cockfighting penalties. After this latest bill passed through the house, it's now heading to the Senate Ag committee.
Under the latest proposal, a third time conviction for abusing pets or companion animals will be a felony. Representative Ken Andrus drafted the bill. "You have to inflict with malicious intent to cause prolonged pain and suffering, then you would be guilty of a felony on the third offense," he said.
The Humane Society of America also supports this proposed bill. However, not all animal rights groups are in favor of this bill. In fact, the leaders of the non-profit, Idaho 1 of 3 said this bill doesn't do enough to protect all of the animals.
The Idaho 1 of 3 President said she appreciates Rep. Andrus's efforts, but wants the bill to include livestock. "All western states surrounding us have agricultural animals and have felonies. What is wrong with Idaho and our legislature that they do not want to add torture for production animals?" asked Virginia Hemingway.
However, Humane Society leaders said with strong opposition from the agricultural community, this is the best option. They also said the abuse of pets is more common and can often lead to violence against humans.
"The gentleman that was in the news, last couple weeks in Alabama went onto a school bus and shot the driver, and kidnapped the 5-year-old boy and held him for a week. That guy, two weeks before, took a lead pipe and beat his neighbor’s dog to death," said Lisa Kauffman, Idaho State Director at the Humane Society.
Those who opposed to the bill said they're concerned it will lead to tighter restrictions, but Rep. Andrus said he drafted this legislation to prevent animal rights activists from pushing for a stricter animal torture bill.
Later this week, Idaho citizens will get a chance to meet with lawmakers for Humane Lobby Day to show support for this bill. The meeting will take place on Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon, inside the Statehouse.