ALDF Sends Bouquet of Thanks to Governor Sebelius for Signing Critical Animal Protection BillApril 18th, 2006
Everything is coming up roses for animals in Kansas, thanks to a new animal protection bill that was signed into law yesterday by Governor Kathleen Sebelius. The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), who worked with and advised lawmakers on the legislation during the past year, has sent a big bouquet of gratitude to the capitol this afternoon. The bill, which will go into effect on July 1, adds Kansas to the ranks of states whose laws allow animal abusers to be convicted of felonies. Only eight states remain without any such felony provision. In addition, the law, known as “Scruffy’s Law” after a dog maliciously tortured in a gruesome 1997 killing, includes mandatory minimum sentences, psychological evaluations, anger management programs, and five-year bans on the possession of any animal following a conviction.
Last month, following a detailed comparative analysis of the animal protection laws of each state in the country, the Animal Legal Defense Fund released a first-of-its-kind report ranking all fifty states and the District of Columbia for the general comprehensiveness and relative strength of their respective animal protection laws. As one of the small minority of states lacking a felony provision for animal cruelty, Kansas ranked in the bottom tier of states in the group’s report.
“The new felony provision in Kansas, along with the other steps forward for animals provided for by this law, are sure to make a difference in next year’s rankings,” says Stephan Otto, the Animal Legal Defense Fund's director of legislative affairs, who advised Kansas legislators and the local grassroots organization “Power for Paws” in pushing for the passage of Scruffy’s Law. “By ensuring that criminals who violently abuse animals will no longer get off with only a slap on the wrist, Governor Sebelius and the Legislature are showing that Kansans are serious about getting tough on crime, as well as protecting their beloved animals. If we could send flowers not just to the Governor, but to every Kansan who helped support passage of this new law, every flower store in the state would soon be empty. Kansas has a lot to be happy about today."
ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing interests of animals through the legal system. Please contact ALDF for a full copy of the state rankings report or visit the website.