Those who torture an animal would face up to two years in prison on the first offense under a bill which cleared the Iowa Senate last night. The bill was drafted in response to highly-publicized animal abuse cases. It calls for mandatory counseling — and a second conviction of animal torture would be a felony. Senator David Miller, a republican from Libertyville, said it was a compromise worth supporting. He says in some cases there is a sadistic intent and those are the crimes they want to get to.Senator Matt McCoy, a democrat from Des Moines, says 21 states have some sort of felony for animal torture. He says prosecutors need a tool they can use in cases like the one in Fairfield where two men killed several cats.Just four Senators voted “no” on the bill, including Senator Steve King, a republican from Kyron. King said he couldn’t vote to toughen penalties for animal abuse while abortion was still legal. He says when he thinks about what is done to innocent unborn life because it’s legal, he can’t support the legislation.Farmers, veterinarians, sportsmen and researchers are exempt while performing “customary acts” on animals. The bill now goes to the House, which debated the issue last year.
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