Animal Cruelty Laws May Toughen

March 5, 2003
Posted at: 9:13 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A new bill would toughen state laws against animal cruelty. The measure is by Representatives Steve Napper of Little Rock and Jodie Mahony of El Dorado. It would make a second offense within five years of a conviction a Class D felony.

The bill filed yesterday also would create a new offense of aggravated cruelty to animals -- in which a person could be charged with knowingly torturing or maliciously killing or starving an animal.

The bill specifically exempts the lawful taking of game and fish, engaging in routine accepted livestock, poultry or aquaculture management practices, protecting livestock and poultry and legal pest control practices.

Two years ago, the House rejected legislation that would have made severe acts of animal cruelty a felony. An initiative to toughen penalties for animal cruelty failed in the November election.

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