February 2, 2020
To Senators Ryan Weld (R), Stephen Baldwin (D), Sue Cline (R), William Ihlenfeld (D), Mike Woelfel (D), and Mike Romano (D) for introducing Senate Bill 191 to help stiffen the penalties for “aggravated” animal cruelty crimes.
Animal abusers have many faces. They can be any age or gender from different socioeconomic backgrounds. When these abusers choose to inflict pain on any sentient being, they should reap the consequences and face adequate punishment for their crimes.
West Virginia Legislators are hoping to amend WV Code 19 by introducing Senate Bill 191. This bill would increase the penalty for individuals who commit “aggravated” animal cruelty crimes such as intentionally injuring an animal and failing to provide adequate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care. Also, any individual who refuses to alleviate their animals’ suffering, abandon their animals to perish, or leave them unattended in a vehicle that results in their death would face a felony charge.
Currently, individuals may only face a misdemeanor charge if they are found guilty of these types of heinous acts with a $300-$2,000 fine, up to six months in jail, or both. The Senate voted 31-2 on SB 191 showing that they believe these individuals should face harsher punishment. If passed, this bill would increase the charge to a felony, a $1,000-$3,000 fine, and time in a “state correctional facility” up to three years, or both. This amendment is waiting to be voted on in the House.
Take Action: West Virginians contact your House Representative to show your support for SB 191 so that these individuals will face greater punishment for their crimes.