Proposed legislation to augment Idaho's animal cruelty laws as well as define and penalize the torture and neglect of animals was approved by a Senate committee on Tuesday. Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, is backing the proposed changes. He also chairs the Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee that is sending the measure to the full Senate for a vote.
In addition to defining animal torture and neglect, the legislation would also expand Idaho's felony dog fighting laws to include cockfighting and all animal fights. The state would also keep a list of animal shelters, though Corder said the state wouldn't license shelters.
The proposed legislation received support from all members of the public who spoke at the Tuesday meeting. Both the Idaho Dairymen's Association and the Humane Society, which often disagree on animal issues, support the changes. Lisa Kauffman, the Idaho state director for the Humane Society, said Idaho currently ranks 49th out of 50 on its humane state rankings, but that score should increase if Corder's bill becomes a law.
IdahoReporter.com has video of Corder and other lawmakers discussing the proposed changes. Sen. Lee Heinrich, R-Cascade, asked Corder if there has been a rise in animal abuse in Idaho.
Corder said another reason for enhancing Idaho law is because of a link between animal cruelty and cruelty and criminal actions toward people. He said part of the proposal will "put a bullseye" on people who commit serious or multiple acts of animal cruelty, neglect, or torture.
The proposed legislation lists not providing medical care for an animal as cruelty. Corder explains why the legislation doesn't clearly define what veterinary or medical care is required for animals.
Finally, Corder offers a detailed overview of the rest of the changes to the Idaho animal cruelty law.
On Tuesday, the full Senate also approved legislation that adds horses to the state's humane slaughter provisions. The measure won't necessarily lead to the slaughtering of more horses, according to Corder. "This is in only applicable in Idaho if there's a slaughterhouse operating in Idaho and if the federal government reversed its ban on the inspection of horses," Corder said. The proposal now heads to the House. You can read the text of this legislation here.
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