North Dakota Prevention of Animal Cruelty Initiative, Measure 5 (2012)

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Prevention of Animal Cruelty Initiative
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:North Dakota Constitution
Referred by:Citizens
Topic:Treatment of animals

The North Dakota Prevention of Animal Cruelty Initiative was on the 2012 ballot in North Dakota as an initiated state statute, where it was defeated. If enacted the measure would have made it a class C felony for an individual to maliciously harm a living dog, cat or horse. The measure also would have created some exemptions from the law, including agricultural workers, veterinarians, scientific researchers, and hunters.[1]

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results
North Dakota Measure 5
Defeatedd No206,54665.37%
Yes 109,395 34.63%

Officials results obtained from the North Dakota Secretary of State.

Text of measure

The official ballot text read as follows:[2]

Initiated Statutory Measure No. 5

This initiated statutory measure would create section 36-21.1-02.1 of the North Dakota Century Code. This measure would make it a class C felony for an individual to maliciously and intentionally burn, poison, crush, suffocate, impale, drown, blind, skin, beat to death, drag to death, exsanguinate, disembowel, or dismember any living dog, cat or horse and provide a court with certain sentencing options. The measure would not apply to production agriculture, or to lawful activities of hunters and trappers, licensed veterinarians, scientific researchers, or to individuals engaged in lawful defense of life or property.

YES — means you approve the measure summarized above.

NO — means you reject the measure summarized above.


North Dakotans to Stop Animal Cruelty led the campaign to pass the measure. They said that the reason for limiting the initiative to protecting three species was to keep the law specific in aiming to prevent the worst kinds of animal cruelty.[3]


The North Dakota Animal Stewards opposed the measure on the grounds that it did not protect against other common forms of animal abuse, like neglect and malnourishment. They also said that they would have preferred a law that protects all animals, rather than only cats, dogs, and horses.[3]

Path to the ballot

See also: North Dakota signature requirements

In order to qualify the initiative for the 2012 ballot supporters were required to collect a minimum of 13,452 valid signatures by August 8, 2012.

According to reports, supporters turned in around 25,000 signed petitions on August 7, 2012. The Secretary of State had until September 10 to verify the signatures.[4]

On Tuesday, September 4, 2012, Secretary of State Al Jaeger announced that sufficient signatures had been gathered and that the measure qualified for the ballot.[5]

See also

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