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15 July 2001 Issue
Victory For Animals: Minnesota Passes Felony Animal Cruelty Law

from ASPCA news-alert - news-alert@list.aspca.org 

Congratulations to everyone who called, wrote and worked so hard to pass this legislation!

On June 30, Governor Jesse Ventura signed into law a bill, authored by Senator Don Betzold and Representative James Clark, that increases Minnesota's penalties for intentional torture or cruelty to companion animals. Explains Nancy Minion, president of Second Chance Animal Rescue, the

new law "was a long time coming for animal protection advocates who began this initiative at the Legislature five years ago."

Effective August 1, 2001, new penalties for intentional acts of cruelty increase as the harm to the animal increases:

* An act of cruelty that results in great bodily harm or death to a companion animal carries a felony charge and a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both.

* An act of cruelty resulting in substantial bodily harm is considered a gross misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison, a $3,000 fine, or both.

* The penalties are elevated for intentional cruelty to service animals, such as hearing and seeing eye dogs.

* If the act of cruelty is done in a manner to threaten, intimidate or terrorize a person, the maximum penalty for substantial bodily harm increases to two years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both; the maximum penalty for great bodily harm or death increases to four years, a $10,000 fine, or both.

"What a wonderful victory for Minnesota!" exclaims Minion. "There were many individuals and organizations who were crucial to this victory, particularly those who testified at hearings," she says. "Humane societies, veterinarians and animal control officers made the plight of abused and neglected animals real to legislators. Many volunteers lobbied the 201 legislators throughout the 2001 session. Letters and phone calls from supporters all over the state poured into legislators' offices."

Go on to Victory In Court
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