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.