- The Arizona House of Representatives passed HB2671 and the bill was signed by Governor Doug Ducey on May 8, 2019!
- This victory means that animal abusers will face stronger penalties in the worst cases of abuse – the ones where abusers intentionally and knowingly inflict cruel mistreatment. It means the punishment will finally fit the crime.
- We thank Representative Kavanagh who served as the bill sponsor and champion, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery for his leadership and our Humane Legislative and animal welfare partners who rallied with us.
Harsher animal abuse proposal goes to governor
Arizonans who purposely kill or torture family pets could soon face stiffer prison terms – or at least mandatory counseling.
On a 42-18 margin the House gave final approval to legislation to make it a Class 5 felony to intentionally or knowingly subject a pet to “cruel mistreatment” or kill a pet without the consent of the owner. The measure now goes to the governor.
Current law makes all forms of animal cruelty a Class 6 felony with a presumptive term of a year in prison. HB 2671 would boost that to 18 months for this kind of action.
But Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said the aim isn’t necessarily to put people behind bars for longer periods of time.
The problem with the current law, he said, is that judges are free to treat Class 6 felonies as misdemeanors. And what that means, Kavanagh said, is that those found guilty can be placed on what amounts to unsupervised probation.
He said those convicted of Class 5 felonies also can be placed on probation. But the difference, said Kavanagh, is that a judge can force that person to get counseling.
“We’re talking about getting people who are really deranged into mandatory treatment and counseling and supervision so they don’t injure more animals or people in their household,” he said.
“There’s a great link between domestic violence and abusing animals,” Kavanagh said. “These people need help. This bill gets them help.”
Arizona Gov. Ducey signs law creating harsher penalties for animal abuse
PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill last week that creates harsher penalties for people convicted of animal abuse in the state.
While most animal abuse is classified as a misdemeanor or class 6 felony, HB 2671 creates two new categories of abuse that can be prosecuted as class 5 felonies.
Those categories are the intentional, cruel mistreatment of a domestic animal and the intentional killing of a domestic animal without legal privilege or consent of the owner.
A minimum prison sentence for a class 5 felony in Arizona is nine months, while the maximum is two years. Courts also cannot lower a class 5 felony to a misdemeanor.
“Animal cruelty is despicable — and Arizona will not tolerate it. Proud to sign #HB2671 to strengthen penalties for those who abuse domestic animals,” Ducey said in a tweet.
The Arizona Humane Society also celebrated the passage of the bill.
The animal welfare group called the law “a huge step forward in protecting our community’s pets and ensuring the punishment fits the crime in the most horrific cases of abuse!”