- On Tuesday, August 27, HB2671 became Arizona state law. This milestone victory ensures animal abusers will face stronger penalties in the worst cases of abuse – the ones where abusers intentionally and knowingly inflict cruel mistreatment. The Arizona Humane Society has worked tirelessly over the last four years to pass this bill.
- Previously, Arizona law required that abuse of pets can only be charged at the lowest felony designation. A class 6 felony is more often than not reduced to a misdemeanor with a slap on the hand. This is a much-needed change that gives prosecutors the tools to ensure the sentence reflects the severity of the crime.
- In 2018, AHS’ Animal Cruelty Investigation team responded to more than 7,400 cruelty investigations.
Here are 5 new Arizona laws that will go into effect Tuesday
PHOENIX — Tuesday is a busy day in state politics.
Not only is the city of Phoenix holding a special election, but most of the 321 measures approved this year by the Arizona Legislature will take effect.
Here are five laws that will have a statewide impact:
Those who abuse animals will be subjected to increased penalties.
House Bill 2671 will adjust animal cruelty from a Class 6 to Class 5 felony, meaning violators could face jail time and can’t have it reduced to a misdemeanor.
Arizona Humane Society President and CEO Steve Hansen told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday that animal abusers commonly go on to abuse humans.
Hansen hopes the stricter penalty will weaken that link and lower the rate of animal abuse cases in the state.
“The bill will allow prosecutors to match the penalty with the crime,” Hansen said.
New animal cruelty legislation goes into effect Tuesday
Animal abusers can now expect to face a higher penalty in Arizona starting Tuesday.
Legislation known as Bill HB2671 will now raise the highest animal abuse charge from a class six felony to a class five for people who intentionally kill or mistreat an animal.
Previously, the class six felony could be dropped to the lesser charge of a misdemeanor. Now, the class five felony consists of a higher sentencing, supervised probation and treatment and cannot be dropped to a misdemeanor.
As a class five penalty, the potential sentence can increase from one year behind bars to 18 months.
Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, who introduced the bill, said HB2671 is simple justice.
“People who intentionally kill will now be appropriately punished, and people who are mentally ill and intentionally kill will now be appropriately treated,” Rep. Kavanagh said.
The Arizona Humane Society, who worked alongside Rep. Kavanagh on the legislation, sees more than 7,400 cases of suspected animal abuse every year.
On July 9, the Arizona Humane Society Second Chance Hospital treated a dog who was left to die after being stabbed by its owner at a Phoenix home. After a month in the hospital, the dog survived and was adopted.
Cases like these are the reason the Arizona Humane Society worked on this effort for four years.
“Studies show a lot of animal abusers go on to abuse people. We hope [the legislation] breaks the cycle of abuse,” said Steve Hansen, President and CEO of the Arizona Humane Society.
The Arizona Humane Society looks forward to the penalty now matching the crime.