Senate Panel Unanimously Approves Farm Animal Cruelty Bill

March 20, 2014

(Photo courtesy of the Arizona State Legislature)
Rep. Brenda Barton said the bill helps to distinguish between farm animals and pets.

A state Senate panel has unanimously approved a bill that changes the way farm animals are treated under the law. Rep. Brenda Barton said the measure creates more workable definitions between farm animals and pets for prosecutors. She believes that will help to prevent animal cruelty on working farms and in non-farm settings. But, opponent Kathy Lasousa is not happy with the changes.

“I believe it is a dangerous precedent to remove farm animals from current animal cruelty codes, putting them in their own new section, especially seemingly to appease the Arizona agriculture industries," said Lasousa.

The bill treats initial violations as misdemeanors. It was heavily-amended to finally win over critics like Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who opposed the original measure, which would have barred him from investigating abuse complaints. The bill now goes to the Senate Rules Committee.