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South Dakota to introduce felony animal abuse legislation

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South Dakota is the only state in the nation that has no felony level penalties for the most violent crimes of animal cruelty towards dogs, cats and horses. According to the press release by South Dakotans Fighting Animal Cruelty Together, the penalty for setting a cat on fire carries the same penalty as someone writing a bad check, however all of that might change this year.

This legislative session in Pierre, Senate Bill 46, will be introduced into the Agriculture Committee making the most egregious cases of animal cruelty punishable by a maximum of two years in prison.

For five years, the South Dakota agricultural community has clashed with humane advocates over differences between domestic pet and livestock laws and the separate and approved standards associated with farm animals. Representatives have now worked together on a compromise.

According to a statement on SD FACT South Dakotans Fighting Animal Cruelty Together Facebook:

“The Governor has approved the draft, with some minor revisions that do not change the intent of the bill. The bill has been pre-filed with LRC and they are making their suggested edits, which I hope will be complete by late next week. Sen. Krebs has agreed to have the bill introduced into the Senate Ag committee at her earliest convenience.”

If you would like to be a voice for animals in South Dakota, please refer to the following links:

Please contact your state legislators and ask them to support Senate Bill 46 ( You can find your legislators and their contact information at

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