Animal Cruelty Impacts | VideoRetha Colclasure | 3/8/2013
Sway is one of more than 100 horses saved from starvation on a Morton County ranch earlier this year. She`s getting stronger now, but one thing that isn`t getting stronger are laws that would have protected her, at least, according to Alison Smith.
"We need to beef up our bills, not make them weaker," Smith said.
Smith supported a measure last fall that would have made specific kinds of animal cruelty a felony.
That bill failed. But Smith said she was ok with that, after working with several groups to write a bill for this legislative assembly to consider.
"They said, `We`ll do it over here, let us do it legislatively. We`re going to cover everything, it`s going to be better. It`s going to be stronger.` That is not proving so," she said.
She says the original bill was good. But then, several amendments were added that weaken the bill. And now, she says, the House stands to potentially dilute it even more.
"We can`t keep protecting animal abusers," she said.
She says that`s what could end up happening with cases like the one against Bill Kiefer. "For instance with this case, where there`s 100 dead and over 100 that were severely neglected. You could do that continually and never reach a felony penalty."
She says that could be prevented, if the bill were to go back to the way it was originally written. "We`re only going to get one shot, and it`s right now."
Smith believes if the laws were stronger, state`s attorneys and law enforcement would be able to give animal abuse cases a higher priority.
The bill is SB 2211. The Senate passed it unanimously last month.