A bill that was designed to create a felony crime of animal abuse for repeat offenders was significantly changed by a Senate committee on Tuesday.
The Senate Agriculture Committee approved HB 235, but only after removing language creating the felony offense of animal abuse. Currently, a person can only be charged with a misdemeanor for animal abuse. The bill would have created a felony for anyone found guilty more than once of animal abuse, with a penalty of up to two years in prison.
However, before approving the bill on a vote of 5-0, committee members removed all language having to do with the penalty. The only section of the bill left intact was one saying that in cases of domestic abuse, a judge can order a person to have no contact with an animal or to turn an animal over to someone else in a household.