Foothills Humane supports law giving jail time for animal cruelty

Published 2:27 pm Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The state Senate last week gave final and unanimous approval to a bill that would increase the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony for a person who intentionally starves an animal to death from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Torturing, mutilating or disfiguring an animal would also be a felony under the measure, called Susies Law.

The bill was named after an 8-week-old puppy that was tortured and burned and left to die in Greensboro. The suspect in that case received probation, despite pleading guilty to felony animal cruelty.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The bill before you today raises the bar, Sen. Don Vaughan, D-Guilford, said. Susie has created an awareness that those who torture animals ought to receive jail time, and thats just what this bill does.

The bill, which must be ratified by the state House before Gov. Bev Perdue signs it into law, will become effective Dec. 1.

Foothills Humane Society president Bob Then said he supports the measure.

I think I can speak for our Board in saying we are 100% in favor of having the Governor sign the bill into law! Then said. What kind of an individual would inflict such horrible torture and disfigurement such as was done to the dog in the picture you carried during one of the senates public hearings? Only a depraved, psychopath that needs to be put away for such a hideous crime.

Studies have shown time and time again that those who abuse defenseless animals go on to abuse spouses, children, and many others, Then said.

Polk County commissioners in April held a public hearing to consider amending the countys own animal control ordinance. Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill told the board that the county has had an ordinance in place but has no way of enforcing the law.

The draft ordinance being considered includes four levels of offenses ranging from litter and odors, animals at large, property damage to animal bites, keeping dangerous animals, diseased animals, abandoning animals, cruelty to animals and keeping wild or exotic animals.

If approved, the countys animal control officer will be able to issue citations that range from $50 to $250 for a level I offense, $75 to $500 for a level II offense, $100 to $1,000 for a level III offense and $125 to $1,500 for a level IV offense. The fine will increase depending on the number of offenses.

Then said his board has been told the revised animal ordinance is being reviewed by interim county attorney Mike Egan.