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Bill Would Punish Animal Owners for Abuse

April 8, 1998
By: Liz Cafer
State Capital Bureau
A Senate bill that would punish animal owners who are guilty of neglect or abuse went to a House committee Wednesday. Liz Cafer has the story in Jefferson City.

It all started with a farmer in northwestern Missouri.

He went broke and quit caring for his livestock.

But according to Missouri law, he wasn't guilty of a crime.

That's when Senator Sidney Johnson decided to write a bill dealing with animal welfare.


"...so that if they neglect -- really neglect, I'm mean this is serious neglect -- or abandon, throw out an animal, the prosecutor does have some grounds on which they can prosecute."

Torturing or mutilating an animal would be a felony under the bill.

The original bill would have also made neglect or abuse a felony, but the bill was changed on the Senate floor to reduce them to misdemeanor crimes.

Debate on the bill continues in the House Agriculture Committee. In Jefferson City, I'm Liz Cafer for KMOX.