Arkansas – Animal Cruelty and Animal Abuse Laws
Strong Arkansas animal cruelty and animal abuse laws began in July of 2009, with the state of Arkansas creating aggravated cruelty and torture to an animal — a cat, horse or dog —a Class D felony. Any person who has been found guilty of such an offense is required to receive a psychological or psychiatric evaluation, treatment, and/or counseling.
Additionally, Arkansas passed a law providing immunity to any person who reports to a local law officer a true incident involving animal cruelty. Immune from civil and criminal liabilities for their part in a cruelty investigation are veterinarians, providing they are honest and not acting with malice. The law in Arkansas also prohibits animal fighting, unlawful exploitation of bears, and color dyeing of baby chicks. Dog-fighting was a felony in 51 states, including Arkansas, with 46 states having felony penalties for “malicious acts of cruelty.” Under the 2009 law, the first offense of torturing a horse, dog or cat is a felony, with cruelty to animals punishable to six years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Arkansas is the39th state to considered cockfighting a felony offense, just one of the lesser cruelty offenses (such as neglect) that is a felony level on the fourth offense. If an animal abuser tortures an animal in front of a child, the 2009 law has a provision for a five-year sentence.
Funding has been provided through the new law for training law enforcement officers, to specialize on the interpretation and implementation of animal abusers and the abused animals. Those in charge of establishing the tougher animal abuse law in Arkansas are those who understand how important are felony-level sentences for those charged with Arkansas Animal Abuse/Animal Cruelty: State Senator Sue Madison; State Rep. Pam Adcock; Gov. Mike Beebe; and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.
The tougher laws against animal abusers were difficult to shove through the courts as the Arkansas Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations fought against them. If it had not been for McDaniel, the new law would never have been able to get through.
“It’s a greater satisfaction to know that, as of today, the mistreatment of animals in Arkansas, whether by hoarders, puppy millers, cockfighters or others, will be met with a stronger measure of justice, one that is backed by a full array of law enforcement and public officials in the state.” (HSUS)