A high-profile proposal to make animal cruelty a felony in South Dakota — the only state that hasn’t done so — got off to a smooth start last week as a panel voted unanimously to move it along to the full Senate.
Animal-rights groups have pushed for years to make it a serious crime to abuse an animal, arguing that the current misdemeanor penalties are insufficient for certain cases. But the ag industry has succeeded in defeating those bills, raising fears of prosecution for common practices such as cattle branding.
This year, with the help of State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven, the ag industry got together with animal-rights groups to write a compromise bill.
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