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Published February 11, 2011, 03:35 PM

ND Felony Charge Proposed for Animal Cruelty

North Dakota doesn't have a felony charge for animal cruelty, and lawmakers are debating whether to approve one.

By: Associated Press,

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota doesn't have a felony charge for animal cruelty, and lawmakers are debating whether to approve one.

The Senate Agriculture Committee is reviewing a bill that would provide felony punishment on a second offense for animal cruelty or abandonment.

The maximum penalty would be five years in prison. Now, the top penalty is a year in county jail.

Faith Bellon of Bismarck says since the Legislature is looking into bullying in schools, it's also time to review tougher penalties for animal mistreatment.

Spokesmen for North Dakota farm groups say they're not opposed to harsher penalties for animal cruelty. But they say much of the bill was written at the last minute. They support having the Legislature should study the issue for the next two years.

The bill is SB2365.

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