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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Trust the People, Not the Politicians

North Dakotans will vote next week on Measure 5, to make it a felony to maliciously and intentionally harm a dog, cat or horse. Lawmakers in neighboring states such as Montana and Minnesota adopted felony-level penalties for malicious cruelty years ago, and Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Oklahoma took action in the 19th century! In fact, 48 states have done it, and it’s embarrassing that North Dakota is such an outlier.

Opponents of this common-sense anti-cruelty measure have put forward the false and flimsy argument that voters should not pass any animal cruelty law, because the legislature should handle it instead. Really?

Watch TV ads for Measure 5North Dakota legislators have had decades to upgrade weak penalties in the state’s anti-cruelty law, and last year, the state House of Representatives voted down the idea of even studying the issue. That’s right, S.B. 2365, the bill to study whether to make animal cruelty a felony, failed in the House by a vote of 36 to 56.

YEAS: Amerman; Anderson; Boe; Dahl; DeKrey; Delmore; Glassheim; Gruchalla; Guggisberg; Hanson; Hawken; Hogan; Holman; Hunskor; Johnson, N.; Kaldor; Keiser; Kelsh, J.; Kelsh, S.; Kilichowski; Klemin; Kreun; Kroeber; Meier, L.; Metcalf; Meyer, S.; Mock; Mueller; Nelson, J.; Onstad; Sanford; Steiner; Wall; Williams; Winrich; Zaiser

NAYS: Beadle; Bellew; Belter; Boehning; Brabandt; Brandenburg; Carlson; Clark; Conklin; Damschen; Delzer; Devlin; Dosch; Frantsvog; Froseth; Grande; Hatlestad; Headland; Heilman; Heller; Hofstad; Johnson, D.; Karls; Kasper; Kelsch, R.; Kempenich; Kingsbury; Klein; Koppelman; Kreidt; Kretschmar; Louser; Maragos; Martinson; Monson; Nathe; Owens; Paur; Pietsch; Pollert; Porter; Rohr; Ruby; Rust; Schatz; Schmidt; Skarphol; Streyle; Thoreson; Trottier; Vigesaa; Weiler; Weisz; Wieland; Wrangham; Speaker Drovdal

ABSENT AND NOT VOTING: Nelson, M.; Sukut

Now, do you get why North Dakotans to Stop Animal Cruelty filed Measure 5, and why more than 25,000 North Dakotans signed petitions to place it on the ballot?

Measure 5 is an opportunity for North Dakotans to enhance some protections for animals right now, and the legislature can still make further upgrades to the cruelty law in 2013, if lawmakers have a turn-around from their past intransigence on the issue. North Dakotans should trust the people, not the politicians, and vote YES! on Measure 5.

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