JEFFERSON CITY - Pet owners would face tougher restrictions under a measure presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, Feb. 2.
Currently the crime of animal trespass arises only if an animal has been lose for 12 hours or longer.The bill sponsored by Sen. Gary Romine, R- Farmington, would restrict that 12-hour limitation to livestock.
The owners of other animals, like cats and dogs, would be guilty of trespass for simply failing "to provide adequate control" of a pet who subsequently wandered onto another person's property at any time.Romine told the committee that sheriffs in rural counties are having trouble enforcing animal trespassing laws because of wandering cats and dogs. His bill prompted a joke by Committee Member Ed Emory, R-Lamar, as to whether pets would understand the tougher restrictions on trespassing.
"My dog is very smart, but I'm not sure about the effectiveness because she can't read. Will she still be responsible even if she can't read?" Emory asked.
Romine responded that by clarifying that dog and cat owners would now be responsible for the trespassing of their pets.
The committee did not take an immediate vote on the bill.
The state law defining animal trespass does not affect local municipal ordinances that may require a pet to be kept on a leash or within the pet-owner's property.