Arizona Gov. Ducey signs law creating harsher penalties for animal abuse
PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill last week that creates harsher penalties for people convicted of animal abuse in the state.
While most animal abuse is classified as a misdemeanor or class 6 felony, HB 2671 creates two new categories of abuse that can be prosecuted as class 5 felonies.
Those categories are the intentional, cruel mistreatment of a domestic animal and the intentional killing of a domestic animal without legal privilege or consent of the owner.
A minimum prison sentence for a class 5 felony in Arizona is nine months, while the maximum is two years. Courts also cannot lower a class 5 felony to a misdemeanor.
“Animal cruelty is despicable — and Arizona will not tolerate it. Proud to sign #HB2671 to strengthen penalties for those who abuse domestic animals,” Ducey said in a tweet.
The Arizona Humane Society also celebrated the passage of the bill.
The animal welfare group called the law “a huge step forward in protecting our community’s pets and ensuring the punishment fits the crime in the most horrific cases of abuse!”
Thank you to @dougducey for recognizing the importance of strengthening penalties for animal abusers! This is a huge step forward in protecting our community’s pets and ensuring the punishment fits the crime in the most horrific cases of abuse! https://t.co/oX3lkI3sh9
— AZ Humane Society (@azhumane) May 9, 2019
An Arizona Humane Society spokeswoman told ABC15 that the shelter takes in more than 7,400 animals each year that it believes were abused.
HB 2671 was passed by a 42-18 vote in the House and 20-9 in the Senate before heading to Ducey’s desk.