Here is a sampling of several new bills relating to animal welfare that have been introduced this legislative session. Mary Lee Pappas * Senate Bill 159, cruelty to animals. Requires a court to consider counseling as part of the sentence imposed on a person convicted of animal cruelty and permits a court to order the person to receive counseling. Sen. Timothy Lanane (D-Anderson) has proposed this bill for several sessions in a row without receiving a committee hearing. The bill recognizes the link between acts of cruelty to animals and to people.
Maleah Stringer, founder of the Animal Protection League in Madison County, wrote the bill and took it to Lanane. "The implications of the bill will affect our state on several levels," she said in a statement to NUVO. "Very simply it has the power to change how animal abuse is viewed and will help animals be treated more compassionately."
* House Bill 1084, regulation of pet stores. Provides for the regulation of pet stores and licensing of pet store operators by the state board of animal health. Establishes the pet store-licensing fund. Appropriates money to the board to use for regulating pet stores and the licensing of pet store operators. Duane Cheney (D-Portage).
* HB 1229, trust for the care of an animal. Provides that a trust may be created to provide for the care of an animal. Trent Van Haaften (D-Evansville).
* SB 562, killing domestic animals. Makes murdering a domestic animal a non-suspendible Class D felony unless the killing was necessary to prevent injury to a person, protect property or prevent a seriously injured domestic animal from prolonged suffering. Rose Ann Antich-Carr (D-Merrillville).
* HB 1759, insurance for owners of vicious dogs. Provides that a person who owns or harbors a vicious dog commits a Class A misdemeanor if the dog causes bodily injury to an individual and the person who owns or harbors the dog does not have a liability insurance policy that provides at least $100,000 of coverage. Enhances the penalty to a Class D felony if the person harboring the vicious dog has a prior unrelated conviction for harboring a vicious dog or if the dog causes bodily injury to a child. Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) and Matthew Whetstone (R-Brownsburg).
* HB 1620, companion animal tax. Provides for a local option companion animal tax, not to exceed $5 per companion animal, for local animal control or to build, maintain or operate animal care facilities. Replaces the current state dog tax and kennel fee with a state dog tax of $1 per dog owned. Abolishes the dog census. Retains the town option dog tax of $2 per dog. Eliminates the township and county dog funds, the dog account of the state general fund and provides for the disposition of money in the funds and the account. Requires reporting of dogs on the state income tax return. Establishes the dog tax board (board) and the state dog tax account (account). Provides that the board administers the account. Requires township trustees to submit animal kill claims to the board. Provides for the use of money in the account to pay for: (1) animal kill claims; (2) canine disease research; and (3) canine research and education. Bob Bischoff (D-Lawrenceburg) and Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville).
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