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Arizona Senate bill would increase punishments for animal cruelty

(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

PHOENIX — A bill introduced in the Arizona state Senate would expand punishments for certain animal cruelty and mistreatment violations.

The Senate bill states that anyone who subjects an animal to cruel mistreatment or kills a domestic animal without legal privilege or consent from the owners will be subject to a Class 5 felony.

Current animal cruelty laws are considered Class 6 felonies. The change would increase the punishments for offenders, as Class 5 felonies are considered more serious.

Class 6 felonies are punishable by one year in prison, whereas, Class 5 offenses carry a punishment of one-and-a-half years in prison.

The sponsor of the bill, state Sen. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), has introduced legislation involving animal abuse in the past.

Last year, Kavanagh introduced a bill that would have created an animal abuse registry.

It would have caused anyone who had been convicted of an animal cruelty violation to register their name and address in a searchable database similar to a sex offender registry. The bill failed to make it out of committee.

Meanwhile, his newest bill aimed at animal abuses passed the Senate Judiciary committee last week with a 6-1 vote.

The bill will move to the state Senate to be decided on.

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