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PNS Daily Newscast - August 13, 2020 


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New NC Law Puts the Bite on Animal Cruelty

June 24, 2010

RALEIGH, N.C. - A conviction for animal cruelty in North Carolina can now mean jail time for offenders. Gov. Beverly Perdue signed Susie's Law Wednesday. Named for a pit bull puppy left badly burned last year - Susie's Law reclassifies malicious animal cruelty from a Class I to a Class H Felony and gives a judge the ability to sentence a convicted offender to up to eight months in jail.

Catherine Morton, board chair of the Avery County Humane Society, supports the legislation, but insists the effort to protect animals doesn't stop with the governor's signature.

"If law enforcement won't follow through, there's nothing that you can do and law enforcement is not going to follow through unless the judiciary is going to exact those strong penalties."

Morton says enforcement comes down to creating awareness among law enforcement and providing manpower to uphold the law. Susie's Law will take effect on December 1. While many assume humane societies have the power to enforce animal cruelty laws, Morton reminds that the responsibility falls solely on law enforcement.

"In fact humane societies have no enforcement authority."

The man convicted of badly burning Susie received probation for his crime, although he is now serving jail time for an unrelated offense. Studies show that those involved with animal abuse have a higher likelihood of committing crimes against fellow humans later in life.

For information on enforcement of animal cruelty laws, contact your local humane society.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC