MCDANIEL ANNOUNCES ANIMAL CRUELTY BILL FILED IN SENATE
Looks for Swift Passage of Landmark Legislation
LITTLE ROCK- Today, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel discussed details and distributed copies of his animal cruelty bill for the first time with the media and general public. Senate Bill 77 is sponsored by Senator Sue Madison-(D-Fayetteville) and Representative Pam Adcock (D-Little Rock). At the time the bill was filed, the bill listed 38 co-sponsors in the House and 20 co-sponsors in the Senate.
"We stand here today as the result of 10 months of hard work, over 50 drafts, and the dedicated contributions of many people and organizations," McDaniel said. "It is important to note that a majority of the members of both the Senate and House Judiciary Committees are included as co-sponsors, as they will be most likely to control the bill's fate."
SB 77 will make aggravated cruelty to a dog, cat or horse, a Class D Felony on the first offense. Currently, animal cruelty, no matter what the degree, is punishable by a fine of no more than $1,000 and a jail term of no more than 1 year. When SB 77 becomes law, offenders will face a fine up to $10,000 and up to six years in prison. Staggered penalties for subsequent misdemeanors will also be in place for those who are guilty of cruelty to any animal.
SB 77 also addresses the link between animal cruelty and domestic abuse. The proposed legislation will tack on an additional 5 years in prison for anyone convicted of torturing an animal in the presence of a child.
The bill will also make all forms of animal fighting a felony. Currently, only dog fighting is a felony in Arkansas.
"I would like to thank everyone who participated in the process of crafting this legislation over the past 10 months," said Senator Sue Madison. "I would also like to point out that we would not be here today if it were not for the many dedicated Arkansans who never quit pushing for this legislation."
"As someone who has spent countless hours over many years working on this issue, I am so pleased to be here today. I appreciate the Attorney General's leadership as well as his patience working on this issue," said Representative Pam Adcock. "This is long overdue, and I look forward to working with my colleagues as we pass this bill."
Statistics related to animal cruelty and a list of organizations that support the legislation are attached.
• Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
• Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association
• Arkansas Pork Producers Association
• The Arkansas Poultry Federation
• Arkansas Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas
• Arkansas Prosecuting Attorneys Association
• Arkansas Sheriff's Association
• Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police
• Arkansas Farm Bureau
• Humane Society of the United States
• No Chance Arkansas Rescue
• All About Labs Rescue
• Out of the Woods Rescue
• Golden Retrievers Rescue
• Pulaski County Humane Society
• Saline County Humane Society
• Last Chance Arkansas Rescue
• Catfish Farmers of Arkansas
• Rescue Wranglers
• Feline Rescue and Rehome (FuRR)
• Arkansas Federation of Animal Owners
• Arkansas Cattlemen's Association
Fact Sheet: Animal Cruelty & Other Criminal Behavior
• Of 332 animal cruelty arrests, 70% of suspects had arrests for other felonies, including two homicides; 86% had multiple arrests; 70% had narcotics arrests of which 68% were for sales or trafficking; 65% were arrested for battery-related violent offenses; 27% for firearms violations; 13% for sex crimes; and 59% were gang members.
• Of 354 serial murderer profiles, 75, or 21%, were known to have committed animal cruelty, and authors speculated that more may have committed unreported incidents of animal cruelty. The authors studied five serial killers in depth (Carroll Edward Cole, Jeffery Dahmer, Edmund Kemper, Henry Lee Lucas, and Arthur Shawcross), and found that each killer turned to animals to revenge their rage and humiliation. The persons who caused the frustration were seen as too powerful to hurt, so they chose animals because they were viewed as weak and vulnerable, to later repeat the patterns of their animal cruelty against human victims.
• A Massachusetts study of 153 animal abusers found that 70% were arrested for other crimes within 10 years of their animal cruelty arrest: 38% for violent crimes; 44% for property crimes; 37% for drug offenses; and 37% for disorder offenses.
• Up to 75% of domestic violence victims report that their partners threatened or killed family pets.
• In a 1997 survey, 85% of the 50 largest shelters for battered women in the United States said clients discussed incidence of pet abuse in the family. Overall, 71% of women and 63% of children entering the shelters reported that animals had been the target of violence.
• A "gold standard" study that sought to identify risk factors for intimate partner violence found that pet abuse was one of four. The study was conducted between 1994-2000 in 11 USA metropolitan cities with 3,637 women as subjects and 845 participated as a case control.
• In Wisconsin, 68% of battered women with pets reported that their animals had also been abused. Of these incidents, 75% occurred in the presence of children.
• A New Jersey study found that animal abuse had occurred in 88% of homes being investigated for physical child abuse. In one third of the families, the children had abused the animals.
• Childhood acts of animal abuse is one of the earliest indicators for a diagnosis of conduct disorder, often beginning as young as age six and a half.
• More than 13% of children entering shelters for battered women reported that they had hurt pets, and 7.9% said they had hurt or killed animals. 50% said they had protected their pet by intervening against the abuser.
• In December 2008, DEA officials busted a Mexican drug cartel heavily involved in a cockfighting ring in the Nashville, TN area. Authorities confiscated weapons, hundreds of pounds of marijuana.