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Will Gov. Ducey Sign or Veto Animal-Cruelty Bill?

PHOTO: Abandoning horses and some other animals would no longer be a crime in Arizona if Gov. Doug Ducey signs a bill that has passed the House and Senate. Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture
PHOTO: Abandoning horses and some other animals would no longer be a crime in Arizona if Gov. Doug Ducey signs a bill that has passed the House and Senate. Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture
March 26, 2015

PHOENIX - Animal-rights advocates are calling on Gov. Doug Ducey to veto a bill that reduces, and in some cases eliminates, criminal penalties for acts of animal-cruelty involving livestock. The action follows approval of House Bill 2150 in the House and Senate.

Martha German, is president of Arizona Humane Voters, which is among the organizations opposing the bill. She says under the legislation, abandoning some animals would no longer be a crime.

"As an example, somebody could leave an injured or sick horse out in the desert and let it suffer, without any penalty at all," she says.

German says the bill also would end current law requiring that sick or injured animals receive medical care, and that some acts of animal cruelty, now prosecuted as felonies, would be treated as misdemeanor crimes.

The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Brenda Barton (R-Payson) has said it would give law enforcement more time to pursue animal-cruelty cases involving domestic pets such as dogs and cats.

State Sen. John Kavanagh, (R-Fountain Hills) who voted against HB 2150, calls it an attempt by Arizona's agricultural community to water down animal-cruelty laws. Kavanagh says he also finds it troubling on moral grounds.

"It's sad. We can do a lot better towards animals," says Kavanagh. "I'm not a PETA member, I'm not a vegetarian, but I think we need to treat all living things with respect and not cause unnecessary pain."

The Humane Society, at the state and national level, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund also oppose the bill.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ