Legislation for Animal Abuse:
In December of 2014 the FBI announced they would make animal cruelty a Group A felony with it’s own category – the same way crimes like homicide, arson and assault are listed.
“It will help get better sentences, sway juries and make for better plea bargains,” said Madeline Bernstein, president and CEO of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles and a former New York prosecutor.
Law enforcement agencies will have to report incidents and arrests in four areas: simple or gross neglect; intentional abuse and torture; organized abuse, including dogfighting and cockfighting; and animal sexual abuse, the FBI said in statement.
It will take time and money to update FBI and law enforcement databases nationwide, revise manuals and send out guidelines, Thompson said, so there won’t be any data collected until January 2016. After that, it will take several months before there are numbers to analyze.
The new animal cruelty statistics will allow police and counselors to work with children who show early signs of trouble, so a preschooler hurting animals today isn’t going to be hurting a person two years from now, Bernstein said.
The FBI’s category will track crimes nationwide and is bound to give animal cruelty laws in all 50 states more clout. Many states are seeing more of those convicted of animal cruelty being sentenced to prison, in marked contrast to years past.
Whether talking about state laws or the FBI change, it is clear “that regardless of whether people care about how animals are treated, people — like legislators and judges — care about humans, and they can’t deny the data,” said Natasha Dolezal, director of the animal law program in the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
Legislation for Puppy Mills
Arkansas State Legislation:
Arkansans Against Puppy Mills petitioned Arkansas’ 90th General Assembly in March of 2015. Their purpose was to have a bill introduced to “Enact clear, enforceable standards of care for dogs kept in commercial breeding operations: access to food and clean water; regular exercise; solid flooring; adequate veterinary care; sufficient grooming to prevent feces-encrusted matted fur; etc.
- Require commercial breeders to operate like other businesses – establishing a licensing program to regulate the business and ensure compliance with existing sales and income tax laws.
- Establish regular inspections as a condition of licensure, and prohibit the licensure of anyone who has been convicted of cruelty to animals.
- Include criminal penalties for violations, to put an end to the proliferation of puppy mill operators who see repeated civil violations and petty fines as a minor cost of doing business.“
Unfortunately, this bill was not passed and they may have to wait another 2 years before trying again. However, this will not deter them or any other group from trying to pass more effective policies through to make a difference! For more information on this policy, click here.