NC Gov. Perdue Signs Susie’s Law

SusieUpdate June 24, 2010: With Susie looking on, North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue signed Susie’s Law yesterday, making penalties for animal abuse stronger. 

S.B. 254, also H.B. 1690, known as Susie’s Law, passed the North Carolina state senate and the House of Representatives easily in this short 2010 session.

The only real opposition came from House Judiciary III Committee member state Rep. Nick Mackey who wanted to amend the bill to make animal torture and cruelty only misdemeanors and Henri McClee of the N.C. Sporting Dog Association, to defeat the bill. (Mackey just lost a primary battle for his seat and has also been suspended for 3 years by the North Carolina state bar for acts said to include dishonesty.)

The law, S.B. 254, Susie’s Law, raises the penalty for anyone who "maliciously" kills or causes to be killed an animal by "intentional deprivation of necessary sustenance".

The new law also makes this crime a Class H felony. It is currently a Class A misdemeanor. G.S. 14-360(a1)

Also, under GS 14-360(b) any person who would "maliciously torture, mutilate, maim, cruelly beat, disfigure, poison, or kill, or cause or procure to be tortured, mutilated, maimed, cruelly beaten, disfigured, poisoned, or killed, any animal" is now guilty of a Class H felony instead of the current Class I felony.

S.B. 254 is named for Susie, a puppy that was beaten and burned; the little animal was left for dead. LaShawn Whitehead, Susie’s abuser, received a sentence of 4-6 months in jail for burning personal property and a 4-5 month suspended sentence for animal cruelty. That’s it.  

North Carolina state Representatives Maggie Jeffus, Pricey Harrison, Alma Adams, and Laura I. Wiley are the primary sponsors of this bill.

There is a well-established link between animal abuse and domestic violence and other violent crimes. A June 13, 2010 New York Times article illustrates this with a look at a number of studies showing animal abuse is often an indicator of future violence to humans.  

In one study 71% of women in a battered women’s shelter reported their abuser either abused a household pet or threatened to abuse a pet. (Ascione, 1998)  

In another study 88% of child abusers also abused the animals in the home. (Ascione) 

In a study by Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, Public Health Department, the Johns Hopkins University from 1994 to 2000 in eleven USA metropolitan cities, pet abuse was one of the four significant predictors for determining who was at highest risk for becoming a batterer. Many abused spouses delay leaving out of fear for their pets’ safety and because they have nowhere to take them.

70% of animal abusers were found in one 20 year study to have then committed other crimes, and 44% went on to harm people. (Arluke, A. & Luke, C. 1997).

In another study 99% of animal abusers had convictions for other crimes. (Clarke, J. P. 2002). In that same study it was found 100% of people who committed sexual homicide had abused animals. (Clarke, J. P. 2002). That study also revealed 61.5% of animal abusers had assaulted a human as well. (Clarke, J. P. 2002).

63.3% of inmates in a prison study who were in for violent crimes admitted to abusing animals. This doesn’t include the ones who didn’t admit it. (Schiff Louw Ascione, 1999)

Police have found animal abuse is a better predictor of whether someone will commit sexual assault than previous convictions for murder or arson. (Clarke, J. P. 2002).

3 thoughts on “NC Gov. Perdue Signs Susie’s Law”

  1. Three cheers for North Carolina! Now, if the citizens of that great state will move forward to shut down the remaining 20+ gasa chambers in which animals are daily tortured to death, they’ll be on a roll, for sure! Thanks for the excellent report, laura.

    Hannah Tostensen
    Darien, GA

  2. Hello,
    I was sent his article from a wonderful person on Ebay, I had explained what just happened to our dog DUFUS, on August 26th,our beautiful dog was shot with a Shotgun by a Evil man who lives down our road. We live out in the country, and our dog would never hurt a fly. He on occasion would go to this guys house for 5 min. max, we would go get him, this guy’s daughter used to live there and she had a Roweiller, and when the Rotweiller went in heat,there was no stopping Dufus. We had Dufus for 5 years,would have been this Thanksgiving Day. He was a German Shorthair Pointer.
    On August 27th, the Vet called me and told me he was ready to come home. I was so excited and happy, I called the school and told the secretary to relay the message to our Son,that Dufus was doing better and I was going to bring him home. I rushed to the vet, with food,a ball and all my love. They explained everything to me about his medication and all the buckshot they removed,there was a BB in his lung, but the bleeding stopped and she did not want to go and take it out. I had taken my camera and took a bunch of pictures of the X-Rays,where you could see SO MANY BB’s. We went and she let him out of the cage,I had felt bad enough leaving him there. We went outside,and the girl precede to pick him up,when I had yelled for her not to,he was heavy.She picked him up anyhow, and we left,we were 2 miles from the Clinic, he didn’t seem right,the look in his eyes,I just kept telling him how much I loved him,Daddy loved him and our Son loved him.And we were so thankful he was going to be alright.I drove into Arby’s to get him a Roast Beef, when he yelled out a yelp and collapsed,thank god noone was behind me, I threw our truck into reverse, and I was trying to find my phone, screaming and crying. I finally got out on the road and called the Vet and told them something was very wrong,I would be there in minutes, she could not understand me, I was hysterical. I pulled in and they came running out, the Vet put her ear to Dufus and shook her head No to the one girl,and I screamed, NO WHAT???? She said I am sorry,I said “Please do something,Can’t you do something?” Paddles? SOmething.She said, “No,I am sorry”
    I cannot even write this, I am trying very hard.This was 3 weeks ago today.
    We went into a small room, where I spent the last time with my wonderful dog, this was a nightmare. I do not know what happened.The questions keep going in my head,I should of,I should of. WHat did I do wrong?
    My husband had left the night before to races at Indy with 3 friends,they had planned the last year. I made the dreadful call, silence, I knew my husband was devasted.He said,”I am so sorry I am not there with you.”
    We decided on cremation, it would take a week. They mad us a Paw Print.
    I could barely drive home, I was very upset the vets office had rushed me out of there,I wanted to stay with my best friend.They kept knocking on the door,”The paperwork is ready” I wasn’t in the room more then 15 min.
    My SOn came home from school,the moment I was not looking forward to.He walked in the door,looked at me,looked both ways,”Where is he?” I had to tell himTelling your child that our Dog had died was horrible.
    That evening I emailed our Newspaper “Tribune Chronicle” and I emailed “WFMJ” my favorite news station. They both responded quickly and were here the next day.It was on the news Sat.evening twice,plus in between. Sunday AUgust.29th,Dufus was on the front page of the paper.”Dog Slain”
    We recieved alot of cards, letters and money from strangers, everyone praying for Dufus and us, it was so touching.
    In the mean time, I was not comfortable with the cremation,I did not feel good. My Son said one night, Dufus should be buried here at home,I said,you are right. I called the vet on Tuesday ,they were closed Mon.for Labor Day, and I asked if Dufus was still there and she said YES> I was so happy. I had accidently found Pet Caskets in the yellow pages,and I called.It was a funeral home in the next town,the man was very nice. My husband was a bit angry with me because Iwas changing my mind and it had been a week almost,I said they told me it would be a week anyhow.I said, I don’t know if they would be his ashes or not.How do I know? He said,Have Faith! Which I do have alot of faith,and I thank God we had 5 years with Dufus, but I want him buried at home, next to his pond, his frog pond where he stayed for hours chasing the frogs in the water. Thursday Sept.2,My husband and I ran after he got off work to buy the casket, and rushed to the vet before they closed.I had called them several times already,and I had asked if they would put him in the casket, and they said yes.We got to the Vet 5 min. before closing,I rushed in,we pulled in the back,I gave them one of his balls,a letter,a toy,a little bible,a picture of him and our son.ANd a brand new American Flag I asked if they would wrap him in. My wonderful Doctor,Dr Reghetti had suggested that to me, she said he was a Hero adn no dog would have survived that and to come home.I did not even explain that part,when I took off on foot to get him,he was in our yard,walking slowly and covered in blood,I still am having nightmares.ANd he never cried once.
    On September 2nd at Sunset,Dufus was buried next to his frog pond. I have been lighing candles every night for him, and have bought alot of Herbs, I am planting a herb garden there.The 3 of us felt so much better,Dufus was home. I had came back out at midnight,which everynight before I go to bed,I go and tell him goodnight. But tht night,the STARS were so beautiful,the sky was bright,the frogs were siging with all the bugs and some birds, I had such a Magical,Spiritual time outside that night,it is unexplainable. Dufus was here, God was here,my Father was here. I felt all of them.It was incredible.Thank you God.
    I have made so many, many phone calls,and emails.Not really any help, some leads, but nothing as of yet that I can do. The laws in Ohio are not good for Animal Cruelty, there is a revised code for TRESSPASING.
    I went to an attorney last week, very nice reputable Lady.I explained everything with pictures.My big question was and is”Why do people get into so much trouble if they shoot a deer when itis not hunting season” There is so much of Ohio Laws and Regulation for Hunting, Wildlife,Fish,Plants.What about PETS???? This is not right. You cannot just shoot a animal if it comes in your yard!!!!
    I have not been back tot he attorney’s yet, I would love to,but the cost is $2500.00.I am not here to sue the guy, I would like him to be punished and I would like to change the Laws in Ohio and maybe the United States. I would like a “DUFUS LAW”
    Our Son is graduating from HS in the Spring, we have pictures,party,college. We do not have a extra 2,500 to spare.
    I have been in the process of making a Dufus website,email and You tube account. I want everyone to see the news Video and newspaper article.I am not computer genius.
    If anyone would like to email me or send me something or even call me I would greatly appreciate it, I will take all the advise I can get.
    You can read the article online at the Tribune Chronicle, Aug.29th. (DOG SLAIN” and you can view the news video at I believe the video is on page 4 now under “Lordstown woman wants—” You will see our beautiful Dufus.
    The youtube account si “MR Dufus27” and the email is Mr and
    Congratulations Susie on your Law passing, that is so wonderful. I am very sorry for your pain and your loss.God Bless you and your family.
    Thank you for reading this, I didn’t plan on typing so much.
    And please ,let me know,anyone,anything. Your kindness is greatly appreciated.
    Liz Kiss-Bahrey
    Warren (Lordstown) Ohio
    In memory of DUFUS

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