Jonesboro, AR (KAIT) - You could call it a victory for those working towards the well being of animals. Sergeant Larry Rogers at Jonesboro Animal Control, says seeing an abused animal is nothing short of heartbreaking. He hopes the stiffer penalties send a clear message that animal cruelty won't be tolerated. He says the new law also better defines what exactly animal cruelty is, and how it can be prosecuted.
"It defines, with the act of animal cruelty, the torture aspect of it in the felony cases. Committing a felony act of cruelty in front of a child--there's an enhancement, actual enhancement on that," said Sgt. Rogers.
Rogers says the role of the animal control officers are better defined in the new law as well.
"You can't interfere with an animal control officer while he is doing his job. If you do that it's the same as interfering or failing to show your i.d, for example, to a police officer," said Sgt. Rogers.
"Hopefully for those that are intentionally, horrifically cruel, it will give the state of Arkansas some teeth for their laws," said Northeast Arkansans' For Animal Director, Wannda Turner.
Wannda Turner calls the new law a step in the right direction. She says while she still has concerns for the well being of animals not included in the new law, she says it's a good starting point.
"I hope that in a year to 18 months, if we see this law is actually helping, but we see and areas where it could be better, I hope everybody will go back to the table and say this ok, this works really well--but this doesn't," said Turner.
Sgt. Rogers says the new law is a welcomed change.
"Arkansas has needed this, desperately needed this," said Rogers.