Guest Post: Support Measure 5 To Stop Animal Cruelty
Right now North Dakota is one of only two states in the nation lacking felony penalties for even the worst forms of animal cruelty. South Dakota is the other. Measure 5 would fix that and ensure that anyone who tortures a dog, cat or horse would receive a meaningful punishment instead of a slap on the wrist.
This summer, more than 25,000 North Dakotans signed a petition to put Measure 5 on the ballot–that was nearly double the required number of signatures needed to qualify; this helps show the depth of support for strong animal cruelty laws in our state.
This would never have been necessary if the state legislature had dealt with the animal cruelty issue. Last year, lawmakers in Bismarck voted down a proposal to even study the issue. The executive vice president of the Farm Bureau was on Hot Box recently and admitted that the legislature would have a full plate next year and, once again, may not be able to address our notoriously weak animal cruelty laws.
Fortunately, North Dakotans do not have to wait another year to bring our laws in line with our values. Measure 5 is on the ballot and will provide adequate penalties for the worst animal crimes immediately, if passed. Measure 5 makes the worst forms of animal cruelty a felony such as impaling, crushing, burning or beating to death. Measure 5 is limited to dogs, cats and horses while exempting agriculture and hunting. This is a balanced approach to target the worst forms of cruelty while protecting North Dakota traditions.
It is that very reason that Jason Schmidt’s opposition to Measure 5 is so puzzling. He seems to want to block any meaningful animal cruelty laws just because he has a beef with the Humane Society. The opposition should call themselves the “Coalition of the Unaffected” since Measure 5 has nothing to do with them.
Schmidt tries to scare people into opposing this by dreaming up hypothetical scenarios where it may be necessary to kill an animal. He ignores that the first words of Measure 5 are “Any individual who maliciously and intentionally….” The word “maliciously” is key. This means that for Measure 5 to apply one has to have harmed a dog, cat or horse with evil intent.
Animal cruelty cases are far more prevalent than Schmidt believes. Here is just a quick sampling of cases that made it into the news.
- In Grand Forks, a Chihuahua was beaten to death during a home invasion.
- In Fargo, a woman allegedly took her Lhasa Apso, Buddy, to a bar and swung him in the air by his collar and leash, nearly choking the dog to death.
- In Cass County, a man killed his cat, Momma, by slitting her throat with a box cutter. He was ordered to serve 40 hours of community service and pay $300 in court costs.
- In Bismarck, a man slammed a puppy on a counter, stepped on its head, and killed it, apparently to threaten his cousin’s girlfriend, the puppy’s owner.
The Williston Daily Herald was right when the editorialized in favor of Measure 5 and said “It’s time to take a stand against animal cruelty.”
Others agree. Measure 5 has been endorsed by the MonDak Humane Society (Williston), Pet Project Humane Society (Dickinson), Triple H. Miniature Horse Rescue (Mandan), 4 Luv of Dogs Rescue (Fargo), Circle of Friends Humane Society (Grand Forks), Souris Valley Animal Shelter (Minot), Oreo’s Animal Rescue (Dickinson), Jillian’s Haven Animal Rescue (Bismarck), James River Humane Society (Jamestown), Prairie Paws Rescue (Jamestown), Humane Society of Richland and Wilkin Counties/Glenn Ista Shelter (Wahpeton), Adopt a Pet (Fargo) and scores of other animal welfare groups, veterinarians, and businesses.
We are all united in saying Help our Pets Survive! Vote YES on Measure 5!Tags: animal cruelty, election 2012, measure 5, North Dakota News