Felony animal cruelty initiative gaining attention

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August 15, 2011


By Al Ortiz

BOISE, Idaho: An initiative is aiming at making animal cruelty a felony in the state, and it is now getting some attention.

The initiative effort is being headed by an umbrella group of multiple organizations called Idaho 1 of 3, the name most likely meaning that the state is one of three states that does not consider animal cruelty a felony. The group Stop Torturing Our Pets, which was founded by Virginia Hemingway, is also part of that group.[1]

According to reports, the details of the law would include: defining the specifics of animal torture, increasing misdemeanor fines to $400 for a first offense, $600 for a second, and would make a third charge in a 15-year span a felony. The punishments for the third offense would be between six months and three years in prison and, at most, a $9,000 fine. Currently, for a first offense, the fine is $100, and $200 for a second offense.

Hemingway revealed the main purpose of the petition: "The people we're really after are the repeat offenders."

The initiative effort must gather at least 47,432 signatures from registered voters in the state by the May 1, 2011 petition drive deadline. In Idaho, the petition drive deadline is either 18 months after title approval or the April 30 deadline, whichever comes earlier. This means that the deadline will indeed be April 30, since the measure's title approval came after April 30, 2010.

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