KS Governor signs two animal bills
Governor signs two animal bills
Posted on Mon, Apr. 17, 2006
TOPEKA, Kan. – Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed into law Monday one bill prompted by a tiger killing a teenager and another measure resulting from the beating death of a Yorkshire terrier.
The new law requires owners of exotic animals to keep them confined so they can’t come in contact with people, and also makes it illegal to allow such animals to "run at large."
"Wild animals are just that – wild," Sebelius said in a statement. "They need to be handled by trained professionals only."
The measure was prompted by the August 2005 death of Haley Hilderbrand, 17, a Labette County High School senior bitten by a Siberian tiger while posing next to the animal for a class photo at the Lost Creek Animal Sanctuary in Mound Valley, southwest of Parsons.
It also makes it illegal after Oct. 1 to own a dangerous animal without having a U.S. Department of Agriculture license, and owners must carry $250,000 worth of liability insurance.
The other new law is the result of efforts by humane societies and pet lovers for years to make animal cruelty a felony rather than a misdemeanor. It was first inspired by the case of Scruffy, the terrier beaten and burned to death in Kansas City, Kan., in 1997.
Dubbed "Scruffy’s Law," it requires those convicted of animal cruelty to serve at least 30 days in jail and pay a fine from $500 to $5,000. In jail, they must have a psychological evaluation and complete an anger management course.
Unintentionally neglecting an animal would remain a misdemeanor, although a second conviction would mean a minimum of five days in jail. The bill doesn’t apply to the extermination of insects, rats or other pests or the slaughter of livestock.
Interest intensified this year because of the death in August of Magnum, a mixed-breed puppy found in a Wichita trash bin, wrapped in wire with cuts, a broken leg and chemical burns. Magnum died from his injuries.
Both laws take effect July 1.
Dangerous animals: SB 578. Cruelty to animals: CCR SB 408.
On the Net:
Kansas Legislature: http://www.kslegislature.org
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