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Felony Animal Cruelty Laws in All 50 States - National Humane Education Society

Photo by The National Humane Education Society

pawsupPaws Up!

To the South Dakota legislature for enacting and the governor for signing into law a felony animal cruelty bill.

According to a news story, the governor of South Dakota signed into law SB 46, a bill that makes malicious acts of cruelty to animals a felony. South Dakota joins the other 49 states in enacting felony animal cruelty legislation.

We all need to be vigilant in protecting animals and reporting cruelty wherever we find it. 

Take Action: Residents of South Dakota, thank your legislators and governor for enacting and signing into law this important protection for animals in your state.

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16 responses to “Felony Animal Cruelty Laws in All 50 States”

  1. Brenda says:

    Why is this not being done? I have yet to to see any cruelty case be a felon yet. The teacher who fed the puppy to the snapping turtle got off as not animal cruelty. What did he do pay the judge off????

    Also, here in area of Illinois I saw a post /video of a guy in his car making his dog walk beside it on least and was limping. Person recording it called the police and they said they couldn’t do anything. REALLY???? It was cruelty. The poor dog was having troubles walking and why make it walk outside the car on leash in the first place? So sick of these stories and no action to protect the animal.

    • nhesadmin says:

      Hi Brenda,

      Thank you for your comment. Please know that we at NHES share your frustration in these matters. You are right–although we can do our part by pushing for animal welfare legislation and being kind to animals ourselves, it is up to law enforcement to enforce these new laws and it is up to the judicial system to uphold them.

      • DC says:

        As a former cruelty investigator I can help. Charging a felony cruelty case requires a few elements that are not always the best option for the animals. First, you must have proof beyond a reasonable doubt because you will be depriving someone of their liberty. Second, you need prosecutor support not to plea bargain and third, you need support for sentencing that includes future restrictions on animal ownership. If you do not have this, a civil case allows you to request an abatement order that will require only a preponderance of evidence and allows restrictions on ownership, inspection, even required mental health counseling. The felony option exists in all 50 states and often the civil or misdemeanor case is the winner for the community (including and especially the involved animals).

        • Mischa Howell says:

          Is there anything that you can do to prosecute the 12y/o that tied an electrical cord around a dogs neck then setting it on fire ?! PLEASE?! It happened in Mississippi and NOTHING is being done to punish the “minor” regarding the law. I put minor in quotes because lets be real here, A 12 yr old knows this is wrong. At that age a minor is well aware of this, and knows its not right, is fully aware that it causes pain, and was done intentionally. Thats a psychopathic future serial killer in the making just living life freely after doing this?!?

          • Mike Rotch says:

            You want to put a 12 year old in jail over an animal? Man who cares, the fact that someone can actually do time over a stupid animal is mind boggling

          • michelle says:

            I totally agree with you, that’s why there are places called juvenile detention! For the other guy, Mike Rotch. Yes the 12 year old should be held accountable just like an adult maby not to the extreme but accountable nun the less. And sorry if it been MY animal, the cops wouldn’t have been called to begin with, I know how to dish out a butt busting! All by my self.

    • Mara says:

      Bc the predators have to eat too. What’s normal for the spider is chaos for the fly. I refuse to let the meek inheret the Earth. Darwin’s law honey. Are YOU gonna care for them. Enough said.

  2. Candy Chitty says:

    All laws are a joke unless ENFORCED. Most laws are a joke and the criminals know this. So big deal that animal cruelty is a felony. Prove it.

    • nhesadmin says:

      Hi Candy,

      Thanks for your comment. We understand your frustration with the lack of enforcement of animal cruelty laws. However, the laws have to start somewhere. With new animal cruelty legislation making it easier to prove animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect, these laws will become more enforceable so that the animal control officers’ hands are not tied by the law.

  3. Dorothy says:

    And what about the poor buffalo in north central SD? Sad

  4. Nicole says:

    I’m guessing they will be excluding cows, pigs, and chickens (and all of the other unfortunate species that humans are A-okay with exploiting and abusing) from their definition of “animal.”

    • Nick DiBartolomeo says:

      I agree in the sense that the “living conditions” of those animals are horrendous. Their short lives are quite terrible but those animals are also considered beasts of burden and are usually put down in a humane fashion. It’s unfortunate but that’s life.

    • Alexa hanson says:

      Those aren’t the ones you should worry about. What about the cats, dogs monkeys , rabbits and so on that are tortured deafened, blinded and worse in the name of “research”. If the research is for human benefit, the experiments should be performed on humans not some poor cat or dog that can’t cry Putin pain and suffering.i am looking for an attorney who will help me prosecute lab testing and any animal. That,my fire test, is animal abuse, neglect and torture

  5. Patti says:

    I see so many instances where animals are beaten and otherwise mistreated and yet I don’t ever hear about them on the news unless it’s a hoarding situation. How can we , as concerned citizens, help? What are the steps to take when a situation arises that we feel the police should get involved.

  6. I’m completely disgusted and have had enough of the animal cruelty permitted in this country….eating animals should be illegal because arbitroirs are so horrible to animals..not to mention the trek TO the slaughterhouse is horrible cruel as well…these animals are bred to be treated horribly,, denied everything natural to their species ,, then horribly slaughtered while fighting every step of the way ( because believe it or not animals don’t want to die to feed you),, only to realize there’s no way out and to be slaughtered in front of other terrified beings as themselves…and that’s LEGAL..I’m ashamed to be American and human

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