Idaho Governor “Butch” Otter has signed a bill that would require a first-time perpetrator of animal cruelty with a previous conviction of bodily harm against a person to be charged with a felony.
In addition, the person found to have caused animal cruelty will be required to undergo a psychological evaluation.
The Idaho Humane Society credits the bill’s passage following a case involving a pony that was tortured by an unknown perpetrator in 2015.
"It’s been proven that torturing an animal often leads to further crimes against humans and now Idaho will have the tools to hold these criminals accountable for their actions. Chairmen Ken Andrus has worked tirelessly on this issue for the past four years and we should all be thankful for his hard work, as well as that of others who helped get this bill passed. "
The bill goes into detail to explain that "companion animals," are "those animals solely kept as pets and not used as production animals, as defined in this section, including, but not limited to, domestic dogs, domestic cats, rabbits, companion birds, and other animals."
Before the bill was passed, Idaho law only required the third conviction of animal cruelty to be a felony. However, HB 524 will now render a second conviction a felony.