Changing Animal Cruelty Laws | VideoKristin Clouston | 3/14/2012
Karen Thunshelle has been trying to get legislation passed that would make animal abuse a felony since 1997. She says similar initiatives have failed but says this one lists crimes specifically such as: beat to death, blinds intentionally, blinds, burns or drags.
She says animal cruelty measures failed in the past because they`ve been too broad, so this time they`ve tightened up the wording. "It`s very direct in its intent and is not to interfere with the ag portions of the state or our hunting and trapping heritage."
The law would only apply to dogs, cats and horses and the initiative has the support Souris Valley animal shelter.
"We`ve seen a lot of neglect or abuse where people have shot at animals, we`ve had some where dogs have gotten hung, before we`ve had burn situations," said Co-Chair Kristine Seabolt.
She showed one of those abused animals, a cat.
"I believe diesel fuel was poured on him and he ended up losing the vast majority of his hair because of that. Wound up having lesions from where the gas got on his skin."
They also get a lot of calls reporting suspected abuse.
"Unfortunately, because we don`t have great laws there isn`t much that can be done for them," Seabolt said.
Supporters say they hope making animal abuse a felony will both detour abuse and let people know they can do something to stop it.
You can read the initiative yourself by logging onto ndstopcruelty.com. As soon as the Secretary of State gives it his stamp of approval, supporters will start circulating a petition to get it on the November ballot.