SD Senate approves making animal cruelty a felony
Good news for South Dakota - the Senate has approved making animal cruelty a felony. South Dakota is the last state in the country to NOT have a felony punishment, so it's about time.
Of course, we think this is a great thing. Unfortunately, in our experience getting any kind of cruelty charges is next to impossible. Even in the Sumner, Iowa case of March 2012, where over 30 horses were dead and we rescued 22, the owner of the horses was only charged with a couple misdemeanor charges. Law enforcement is overwhelmed, unable to care for the animals that should be seized, and finds it hard to take a stand. Earlier this year GSH was contacted by the South Dakota Animal Industry Board to find out if we'd be willing to be a point of contact for law enforcement in South Dakota as needed for seizures and help. Of course we said yes. The Animal Industry Board is trying hard to offer help and education to law enforcement, but even with great organizations like New Hope Horse Shelter having paved the way for 10+ years, the state of South Dakota is still in infancy when it comes to helping animals.
We have no plans to do more than help the animals - in fact, once our 501(c)3 is finalized are prohibitted from attempting to influence legislation. But we're always working to educate and be a resource. If you see cruelty, call your Sheriff. Feel free to let them know about us and that we will help, if we can