And Then There Were Two….

Update April 6, 2012: Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has now signed into law S.B. 1303 which for the first time in the state’s history establishes felony penalties for animal cruelty. Until now any animal cruelty in the state, no matter the circumstances, was a misdemeanor.   Only North and South Dakota are left as the only states that have no felony penalty for animal cruelty.

Under S.B. 1303 a third or subsequent conviction for animal cruelty within 15 years would be a felony, but only if the perpetrator is found guilty or has pleaded guilty to "intentional and malicious infliction of pain, physical suffering, injury or death upon an animal".   ID Stat. Sec. 25-3502(5)(a), 25-3504. The penalty would be the same for a misdemeanor third conviction for other animal cruelty: a jail sentence of no more than 12 months or a fine anywhere form $500 to $9,000, or both.  

Also, it would be a felony to advertise, promote or organize cockfighting events where there are illegal drugs and gambling.  The penalties would be the same as for the new felony crime described above.

A new crime is also created where it would be a misdemeanor to advertise, promote or organize cockfights where gaffs or other artificial or mechanical means are used to "enhance pain, inflict injury or cause death" or where drugs are administered to the animals.

Idaho 1 of 3 

Animal welfare advocates are hoping instead of this relatively weak measure to pursue a ballot initiative that would make torture of an animal a felony on the first offense and animal cruelty otherwise would be a felony on the third offense. There would be increased penalties too. The advocates have organized as Idaho 1 of 3 to signify Idaho is one of 3 states where animal cruelty is – or was-  never a felony.  Idaho 1 of 3 must collect 47,432 signatures by April 30 to put their measure on the ballot. IF YOU LIVE IN IDAHO, go here to find where you can sign a petition to put this measure on the ballot, or volunteer to help collect signatures.