Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Animal cruelty should be felony

The barbaric dog-fighting charges against Michael Vick have focused the national spotlight on cruelty to animals. Idaho's ridiculous cruelty to animals statute has finally garnered public attention. Many people and an Idaho Statesman editorial have been adamant that the crime of dog fighting be made a felony. The issue, however, is that Idaho's entire cruelty to animals statute needs to be changed from a misdemeanor to a felony, which would include almost all crimes against animals. Dog fighting is currently not even mentioned in Idaho Code.

Research on this issue found brutality by sadistic cowards. It literally made me throw up. The crucial difference is that one case happened in Georgia so the perpetrators of that fiendish act were sentenced to 10 years. In Idaho, they would have been sentenced to a paltry six months for a first offense and no more than 12 months for a third offense with possible fines assessed. An Aug. 2 Idaho Statesman editorial reported that Republican Caucus Chairman Sen. Brad Little believes this is adequate punishment for torturing an animal to death.

Let's bring Idaho out of the hall of shame as one of only six states in the lower 48 with a misdemeanor cruelty to animals law and leave Wyoming as the only other state where bloodthirsty dogfighting is legal.

We, the people, must make this a key issue in the 2008 legislative session and give our lawmakers one last chance to do what is just. If they refuse, once again, then we need to get organized and put an initiative on the 2008 or 2009 ballot to change this pathetically unjust law. Please send your names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers and counties of residence to if you agree.

Virginia Hemingway


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