Published: February 5 2014 | 11:13 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:12 am in

Animal abusers could see harsher penalties for cruelty and torture under legislation on its way to the full House Judiciary Committee after its stop at a subcommittee Wednesdsay.

House File 2023 would change the fine for animal neglect from a simple misdemeanor to a serious misdemeanor and those found causing serious injury or killing an animal would face an aggravated misdemeanor, rather than a serious misdemeanor under current law. Those found torturing animals would face a class “D” felony on the first offense, an increase from current law that waits to slap offenders with the class “D” felony until a second offense.

Animal advocates said the bill stresses the severity of  the “egregious” behavior adding studies show those who torture animals can progress to human torture.

However, Rep. Rick Olson, D-Des Moines, said the state’s Public Safety Advisory Board, which includes law enforcement and judicial officials, should get a chance to weigh in on the proposed penalties since they would have to work with the changes.

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