Animal cruelty bill goes into effect on July 1st

This bill takes away the privilege of domestic pet ownership from convicted felons while they are on probation or parole.

Posted: Jun 27, 2019 10:53 PM
Updated: Jun 28, 2019 10:12 AM

LAFAYTTE, Ind. (WLFI) - State Senator Ron Alting's animal cruelty bill will officially go into law on July 1st. He promoted the bill's success on Thursday morning at the Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic in Lafayette, before Governor Eric Holcomb signed it into law Thursday afternoon.

Right now, a person convicted of animal cruelty can go right back to any shelter or pet store and get a cat or dog as soon as they get out of jail. But after July 1st, that's going to change thanks to Senator Alting's.

"If you are a convicted felon, that takes away your privilege of owning a cat or dog while on probation of parole," said Senator Alting.

This bill started at a local level, when members of the Tippecanoe County Animal Advisory Board approached Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Patrick Harrington with the need for the legislation in 2017.

"In my 22 years in this role, the best bills are the ones that come from the local level," he said. "From friends, from constituents that really are the boots on the ground."

Harrington said there is correlation between animal and human abuse.

"Studies show that 75% of the victims of domestic violence say that the person the committed that crime against them also abuse their family animal and that's a way of controlling that victim," he said.

This bill also gives our animal control officers another tool to fight animal abuse in our community.

"If you've ever watched that animal planet, ASPCA stuff on TV, all that stuff is here, every bit of it," said Josh Klumpe, Chief Animal Control Officer for the City of Lafayette.

Klumpe has worked as an animal control officer for 13 years. He said the job is the perfect combination of his love of law enforcement and animals. He said often times the needs of animals gets put on the back burner, but he's happy to see it take the stage with this bill.

"To get legislators and prosecutors and city attorneys and everybody on the same board and on the same page that does nothing but make our job easier," he said.

Harrington also said he's also hoping they can help keep people out of the courtrooms.

"We want to ensure safety to our animals, but also maybe start that person on treatment toward recovery process so we don't see them again in our criminal justice system," he said.

All three also commended the non-partisan support of this bill in the legislature. It passed unanimously from both the Indiana House of Representatives and the Indiana Senate, something that they said is rare in today's political climate.

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