Idaho's New Felony Animal Cruelty Law Lacks TeethPosted by Stephen Wells, ALDF's Executive Director on April 18th, 2012
On April 3, 2012, Governor Otter signed S 1303 to create Idaho's first felony animal cruelty law. The new law makes Idaho the 48th state to establish a felony animal cruelty provision, leaving the Dakotas as the only states without such laws. While this new law is a step in the right direction, it leaves a lot of room for improvement.
Under the new law, an animal abuser could only be charged with a felony if he had two prior convictions within the last 15 years for animal cruelty involving “intentional and malicious infliction of pain, physical suffering, injury or death,” with each conviction counting as one violation, regardless of the number of counts. The maximum penalty is 12 months in jail or a $9,000 fine – a penalty more typical of misdemeanor violations.
The new law also adds felony provisions for organizing cockfights when drugs or gambling are involved, and on the second offense in some other cases.
Please take a moment to urge Governor Otter to support future strengthening of the animal cruelty law with provisions for felony convictions on the first offense and meaningful penalties for violators.