The 26th Alaska State Legislature, 2009 - 2010||
Sponsor Statement: House Bill 138
Cruelty To Animals
“An Act relating to penalties for cruelty to animals; and relating to aggravating factors at sentencing involving assaultive behavior and cruelty to animals.”
Posted: March 13, 2009
Status: (H) FIN : 2010-03-01
A strong connection has been documented linking animal abuse and domestic violence. There is credible evidence that individuals who practice violent acts against animals also present a danger to the public. Intentional animal abuse is often seen in association with other serious crimes including drug offenses, gang activity, weapons violations, sexual assault and domestic violence—and can be one of the most visible parts of the entire history of antisocial behavior.
Studies in psychology, sociology, and criminology during the last 25 years have shown that violent offenders habitually have childhood and adolescent histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty. Even the FBI has recognized that connection since the 1970s when its analysis of the lives of serial killers suggested that most had killed or tortured animals as children. Other research has shown consistent patterns of animal cruelty previously existed among perpetrators of more widespread forms of violence, including child abuse, spouse abuse, and elder abuse. In fact, a leading Psychiatric Association considers animal cruelty one of the diagnostic criteria of conduct disorder.
Cruelty to animals is increasingly viewed as a somber issue by professionals in law enforcement and mental health—and certainly also the general public. Effective prosecution of animal abuse produces benefits. It provides early and timely responses to those who are, or who are at risk of becoming, a threat to the safety of others. It provides an added tool for the protection of those who are victims of family violence. We cannot produce a truly compassionate society, but we can do things that move us in a positive direction.
HB 138 strengthens animal cruelty laws yet recognizes dog mushing as the sport it is yet allows for the humane destruction of dangerous animals as well as vermin and pests that threaten our structures and personal safety. HB 138 makes knowingly and intentionally inflicting severe prolonged pain or suffering upon an animal a felony.