Advocacy Update: Help Strengthen Penalties for Animal Abusers!

Another Step Forward for Raine!

Yesterday, we earned the support of the Senate Judiciary Committee (6-1) to advance SB1295 to the Senate Rules Committee. We are working hard to strengthen penalties for animal abusers and appreciate the community’s support.

SB1295 would make it a Class 5 felony (currently Class 6) to intentionally or knowingly subject a domestic animal to cruel mistreatment (“To torture, inflict unnecessary serious physical injury or kill the animal in a manner than causes protracted suffering”), or to intentionally or knowingly kill a domestic animal without either legal privilege or consent of the domestic animal’s owner or handler. Read the full bill. Download the fact sheet.

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Woman who saved tortured golden retriever says Arizona needs tougher animal-cruelty laws

Dustin Gardiner, The Arizona Republic | February 9, 2018

Photo: Laurie Stephens, Sweetface Photography

For weeks, she could hear the bloodcurdling screams echoing through her Tempe apartment complex.

Heather Frazer desperately tried to find the source of the cries because she knew an animal was in trouble. After several attempts, she found the right apartment and peered through a gap in the blinds.

“That was when I saw like a little ball of orange fur on the ground,” Frazer said, beginning to choke back tears. “It was the worst scream that I’ve ever heard in my life.”

She said she caught a glimpse of a man beating the puppy with a metal rod — over and over again.

Frazer called Tempe police, who entered and found a tiny golden retriever with multiple skull and cheek-bone fractures, swelling in both eyes, multiple cuts on his front shoulder and on top of his head, and a broken canine tooth.

Police also found two cats in the apartment that appeared to be beaten. One cat’s eye was detached from its socket, according to media reports at the time.

Shundong Hu, the man Frazer said she saw in the apartment, was indicted on charges of cruel mistreatment of an animal, a Class 6 felony, and two misdemeanors for failing to provide medical treatment to an animal and disorderly conduct.

Hu, who pleaded not guilty, is scheduled to stand trial in April.

If he’s convicted, the felony charge could be changed to a misdemeanor by the court and carry a much lighter punishment, due to Arizona’s existing animal-cruelty laws.

The potential penalty would be greater for killing a lamb or a cow without the owner’s permission.

Animal advocates, including the Arizona Humane Society and Frazer, said that difference is why Arizona lawmakers need to close what they call the state’s “animal-abuse loophole.”

They are asking the Legislature to pass Senate Bill 1295, which would toughen the penalty in severe cases of animal cruelty by making it a Class 5 felony, the same penalty as killing livestock illegally.