New Animal Protection Laws in Nevada!

Posted by Stephan Otto, ALDF's Director of Legislative Affairs on June 28, 2011

“Cooney’s Law”–First-Offense Felony Becomes Law

On June 10, 2011, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed “Cooney’s Bill” into law making the most heinous acts of cruelty against dogs, cats and companion animals a felony on the first offense. Under the new law, a person who “willfully and maliciously” tortures or unjustifiably maims, mutilates or kills a cat, dog or animal “kept for companionship or pleasure” will be guilty of a category D felony, and a category C felony if the act is done in order to “threaten, intimidate or terrorize another person.” The new law also allows for the confidential reporting of suspected animal abuse, and clarifies the punishment for another provision.

Before “Cooney’s Law,” Nevada was the only state in the country where someone could torture an animal to death on three separate occasions before they would face a felony animal cruelty charge – Nevada is now the 43rd state to provide for first-offense felony penalties. Only three states – Idaho, North Dakota and South Dakota – still lack felony penalties for animal cruelty offenses altogether, regardless of severity or frequency.

Support for this key strengthening of Nevada’s animal protection laws galvanized following news of the horrific case of the dog Cooney. Last fall, a Reno man brutally cut Cooney with a box cutter – he then watched as she ran around the room, bleeding, her intestines falling out. Cooney died of shock and blood loss. The man later pled guilty to the most serious charge he could face under Nevada’s then-current law – a misdemeanor. He paid a small fine and was released with credit for jail time served.  

ALDF’s Legislative Affairs worked with the state organization Nevada Voters for Animals on the passage of Cooney’s Law. ALDF provided legislative advice and support, submitted testimony, and sent out an action alert in support of the bill to our Nevada supporters.

“Thank you [ALDF] for your guidance and assistance. It was a great (and winning) team effort,” said Gina Greisen, president of Nevada Voters for Animals. “I want abusers in Nevada to know their behavior will not be tolerated, and if they choose to harm a helpless animal, the punishment will fit the crime,” she added. “Cooney, you will never be forgotten. A little rescue dog who helped bring about so much change to protect people and animals. RIP sweet Cooney.”  

Increased Regulation of Dog & Cat Breeders

Governor Sandoval signed another important animal protection measure into law – this one aimed at puppy & cat mills. The new law authorizes increased regulation and oversight of dog and cat breeders in Nevada through stronger standards of care, required annual permits, microchips, inspections, and disallowing female dogs from being bred more than once per year or before the age of eighteen months.

Both laws take effect on October 1, 2011.


7 thoughts on “New Animal Protection Laws in Nevada!

  1. I’m speechless. People have no feelings for animals at all. Laws must be stricter-even the newest ones. It is sad.

  2. Juni Harmon says:

    People that could harm a pet, have absolutely no compassion! It’s about time that crimes against defenseless animals are considered a felony!!

  3. Ann says:

    When is the production of harmful, illness causing or death inducing commercial pet food going to be a felony punishable by heavy monetary fines and jail time for offenders in
    the United States? The checks for the many,
    many deaths of 2007 and chronic illnesses of
    2007 are to be sent after July 5 next week,
    4 and 1/2 years too late to help owners with
    treatment and long term care. Wasn’t that a
    crime?

  4. Connie Brady says:

    Just thrilled that Nevada has done something right for a change. I love animals and feel so much better now that I know they have some needed protection. Now we have to end the wild horse round-ups.

  5. Julia Anne Tawyea says:

    I cannot help it, I now hate most people because of this and other things I have seen online

  6. Kathryn Masson says:

    to Julia
    be creative and let your loath of this horrible animal abusers drive you to action. Become one of the people who changes the laws, spreads the word to NEVER abuse an animal…perhaps you will become part of a school education program, a major fundraiser for an organization that helps animals, such as Animal Legal Defense or another, a volunteer at an animal shelter, or adopt and love a once-homeless dog or cat….it will all change your life. You will become knowledgable and strong. You will learn that you can stand up to these freaks who abuse animals. We will win! Why not start by helping to enact felony punishment laws for animal abusers in Idaho, North and South Dakota, where the laws are still arcane and abuse is a misdemeanor? Make it happen! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, in an America of the future, it was UNHEARD of to abuse an animal. We can change the culture. It has been done before. Do not be complacent or full of fear. Take courage and DO SOMETHING positive.
    I’m with you, Kathryn

  7. Lynda Kliemann says:

    What about people that leave their dogs in hot cars? Yesterday i was at the grocery store saw a dog in a car with all the windows rolled up.I went back into the store ask the manager to go over their speaker system gave them the license no and make of car. Two older men came to the car went to them saying shame on them for leaving their dog in a hot car. Their comment was we were only in the store for 5 min. That dog was very over heated. I see this all the time.