Governor Favors Tougher Animal-Cruelty Law

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Beebe says he will try to convince opponents of efforts to toughen animal cruelty laws to change their minds.  Beebe says he tends to favor a first-offense felony animal-cruelty law, though he wants to review the previous failed legislation to say which measure he would definitely support.

Currently, the crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The governor says he thinks there is a lot of misunderstanding and fear that someone raising livestock will be prosecuted under a tougher law.  But he says proponents have been clear that they want the law aimed at dogs and cats and horses outside the usual livestock and poultry.

Two measures to strengthen the animal-cruelty law failed to get final legislative approval in the regular session last year.

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