In 2010, a total of 1106 abuse cases were reported in the United States with a mortality rate of 96.75%. Nearly 7130 animals were killed as a result of animal cruelty. (“PetAbuse”, par 1) Putting Measure 5 into legislature in North Dakota could not only save thousands of animals from being killed but it could also save thousands from being abused in the first place. With this becoming a Class C Felony, numerous people may finally realize the importance of the law because of the potential sentence.
Compared to Oregon’s state cruelty laws, North Dakota’s are extremely informal and relaxed. Oregon is one of the top five rated states for its animal abuse laws, whereas North Dakota is in the top five worst anti-cruelty laws along with Mississippi, Hawaii, Idaho and Kentucky. (Thornton, Kim Campbell. par 1) North Dakota does not even come close to reaching the extensive and precise statute’s that Oregon has laid out. For example, Oregon’s bill states five levels of felonies and penalties including first degree aggravated animal abuse, which is specified as: “‘Maliciously kills an animal; or intentionally or knowingly tortures an animal’ This is a Class C Felony, with a fine up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment up to 5 years.” (“State Cruelty”, par 4) And the penalizations become harsher as the offences get larger. Currently, North Dakota only has a cruelty of animals listed as a Class A Felony. The equivalent of one year in prison and fines of up to $2000, a much smaller penalty than that of what the bill would like to pass as animal cruelty.
I believe that North Dakota does need to step up and change the anti-cruelty laws that are in place now because the amount of abuse can only begin to become worse. By leaving the law as it is, nothing is changing or being enforced as well as they could be. Although there are laws in place now, they are not nearly as detailed or precise as the acts in other states.
In a court of law, a Class C Felony can be recognized as “a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment, a fine of five thousand dollars, or both, may be imposed”. (“Penalties and Sentencing”, par 5) This punishment is assigned to a person involved in a drunk driving accident or driving under the influence (DUI) case. In a case where an impaired driver is on their fifth DUI offence they will be charged with a Class C felony instead count(s) of manslaughter. If Measure 5 is put into place, this would be the equivalent to an animal abuser being charged on their first offence. Animal abuse is a very important issue and should be taken seriously. But for a convict who has hurt an animal, compared to that of a convict