Proposed bill makes taking abused animal pictures an offense - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Proposed bill makes taking abused animal pictures an offense

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- A Senate bill is currently being amended that would make it a misdemeanor offense for a citizen to send in pictures of abused animals for investigation. 

The bill is aimed at protecting farmers and animal owners and looking to eliminate false claims of animal abuse. A regular citizen would be punished under Senate Bill 13 with a misdemeanor offense. 

“It’s going to effectively shut down all abuse investigation," said Wannda Turner, executive director and abuse investigator for Northeast Arkansans for Animals.

“There is no way we will be able to do any kind of abuse investigation," she said.

Senator Gary Stubblefield (R-District 6) said good owners are often punished by false claims and the bill will protect the animals and the owners. Meanwhile, many animal advocates are fighting the bill stating that it could prevent cruelty cases from being investigated. 

“I have had neighbors get angry with other neighbors,"Turner said. "And say my neighbor is doing this to this dog but with polite investigation, it doesn’t go any further than that.”

 If the bill is passed, it would require 2 veterinarians to agree that cruelty is taking place before law enforcement can take action.

 “A lot of the smaller cities and counties wont be able to able to do abuse investigation because they wont be able to afford it," she said.

Turner said this bill goes deeper than just protecting the  animals.

“There is a big link between animal abuse and domestic violence,"Turner said. "So it’s not just for the animals, we’re also trying to protect the future for everybody.

Senate Bill13 is currently being amended to include broader terminology. 

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