Jones legislation targets animal abusers

LANSING- A bipartisan packageoflegislation that wouldincrease penalties for people who abuse animals was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, said sponsor state Sen. Rick Jones.

"People who are animal abusers later become people abusers," said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. "I wish this legislation was not necessary. However, serial animal abusers must face higher penalties."

Senate Bills 235 and 236, a bipartisan package of bills sponsored by Jones and Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, strengthen the penalty for individuals who abuse or neglect more than 25 animals. The package also establishes penalty tiers for first and second animal torture or killing.

Under the new law, a person charged with animal abuse or neglect involving 25 or more animals could face up to seven years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 500 hours of community service. Currently, the penalty for crimes involving 10 or more animals is four years in prison, a $5,000 fine and 500 community service hours.

"I fully expect this legislation to pass the Senate and the House and be signed into law," Jones said. "I would like to thank Senator Bieda for his hard work to help get these measures out of committee."