Proposed bill makes taking abused animal pictures an offense

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 abuseinvestigator for Northeast Arkansans for Animals.

“There is no way we will be able to do any kind of abuseinvestigation," 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 saymy neighbor is doing this to this dog but with polite investigation, it doesn’tgo 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 thesmaller cities and counties wont be able to able to do abuse investigationbecause 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 domesticviolence,"Turner said. "So it’s not just for the animals, we’re also trying to protect thefuture for everybody.

Senate Bill13 is currently being amended to include broader terminology.

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