Arkansas Animal Cruelty, Initiated Act 1 (2002)

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Arkansas Initiated Act 1, also known as The Arkansas Animal Cruelty Act appeared on the November 7, 2002 election ballot in Arkansas, where it was defeated.[1]

Election results

Animal Cruelty
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No462,44062.2%
Yes 281,298 37.8%

Text of measure

The language that appeared on the ballot:

- The act amends current law to create an act of *aggravated animal cruelty,* a Class D Felony (punishable by up to 6 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine for a first offense and up to 40 years in prison depending on the number of prior or subsequent felony convictions). The act defines *aggravated animal cruelty* as when a person knowingly tortures, mutilates, maims, burns, poisons, or maliciously kills, starves, or disfigures animals. It leaves unaltered the current Class A Misdemeanor penalties (punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and up to one year in prison) with the exception that it links subsequent Class A Misdemeanor animal cruelty convictions to classify the second offense as a Class D Felony. Felony convictions also carry with them the loss of certain rights commonly taken for granted by citizens. Included are the rights to vote, hold public elected office and own or possess a firearm of any kind. Other fines and costs are linked to court authorized care and keeping of abused animals and psychological care and counseling for those convicted as required by the court. - It changes the current statute prohibiting *dog* fighting to prohibit *animal* fighting and to further prohibit manufacture or sale of animal fighting equipment, supporting animal fighting, being present at an animal fight presented as a public spectacle or owning/possessing devices with the intent of using such device for animal fighting or to enhance an animal*s fighting ability. • The act enables forfeiture of animals that are deemed abused or mistreated in the eyes of the court and specifies the disposition of the animals seized by the court. The statute also sets limits for notice and claims of interest in an animal seized under the Animal Cruelty Act authority (at least 41 days from the date of first publishing the court order). This provision in the act allows the court to take possession of an animal even prior to trial if a preponderance of evidence is established to indicate an act of cruelty or aggravated animal cruelty. This court action can be taken in advance of a person*s conviction or acquittal on either charge of Misdemeanor or Felony Animal Cruelty. This *Statutory Lien* provision in the act is a change from existing law. - The act enables forfeiture of animals that are deemed abused or mistreated in the eyes of the court and specifies the disposition of the animals seized by the court. The statute also sets limits for notice and claims of interest in an animal seized under the Animal Cruelty Act authority (at least 41 days from the date of first publishing the court order). This provision in the act allows the court to take possession of an animal even prior to trial if a preponderance of evidence is established to indicate an act of cruelty or aggravated animal cruelty. This court action can be taken in advance of a person*s conviction or acquittal on either charge of Misdemeanor or Felony Animal Cruelty. This *Statutory Lien* provision in the act is a change from existing law.

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