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Petitioning 2013 South Dakota Legislature South Dakota State Legislature & candidates running for state seats and 2 others

South Dakota Legislature: Make egregious acts of animal cruelty a felony in SD for companion animals

People who abuse and kill animals are more likely to target human victims.  Passing a felony animal cruelty law for companion animals is a crucial step in ensuring community safety.     

Animal cruelty is a predictor and indicator of violent crimes, domestic violence and child abuse. In a 20 year study, 70% of animal abusers were found to have then committed other crimes and 44% went on to harm people. (Arluke, A. & Luke, C. 1997)

In South Dakota, inhumane treatment is defined as “any act of mistreatment, torture, cruelty, neglect, abandonment, mutilation, or inhumane slaughter of an animal that is not consistent with generally accepted training, use and husbandry procedures for the species, breed, physical condition, and type of animal.” The same level of penalty applies whether someone neglects to provide adequate water for their dog or maliciously stabs, tortures and kills their dog. Destroying a $1000 portrait of another person’s dog is a Class 4 felony, but maliciously destroying that person’s actual dog is only a misdemeanor.

Agriculture is the number one industry in South Dakota but that doesn't mean our companion animals don't need protection. Neighboring states have had these laws on the books for years and still have a viable Ag economy.
These egregious acts of animal cruelty don't happen often but when they do, appropriate laws should be in place to ensure the offender gets counseling and cannot offend again.

Recent Animal Cruelty Cases in South Dakota that should have been a felony due to violent nature:

Lead: Dog found shot (no charges pending until violator found)
http://www.bhpioneer.com/local_news/article_1873a30c-dbf1-11e1-9493-0019bb2963f4.html

Yankton: Woman beats cat to death with hammer
http://www.pet-abuse.com/cases/19222/SD/US/

Rapid City: Dog sexually assaulted
http://www.pet-abuse.com/cases/16759/SD/US/

Burbank: Dog Beaten to death with hammer
http://www.kdlt.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10304&Itemid=57
http://www.yankton.net/articles/2011/08/13/community/doc4e45eb9a44a20686551130.txt

People who abuse and kill animals are more likely to target human victims.  Passing a felony animal cruelty law for companion animals is a crucial step in ensuring community safety.  We urge the 2013 SD Legislature to take action!

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