MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A bill increasing penalties for animal cruelty in Alabama House Bill 27 was given final approval and awaits Governor Robert Bentley's signature.
For years, animal lovers have been saying Alabama needs stricter penalties to punish people who intentionally hurt animals. They may soon have it.
BALDWIN COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY RESCUE
Officials with the Baldwin County Humane Society said they rescued a dog named Clara from Thomasville on Friday, May 17.
Deneen Balistere with the Baldwin County Humane Society said, "She was dumped at a gas station, and the person who had dumped her had poured gasoline on her to take care of the mange. That's an old wive's tale that that's the best way to get rid of it."
Clara is being treated at Rehm Veterinary Clinic in Loxley.
What does gasoline do for mange?
Balistere said, "Nothing, except make it horribly hurt."
The new animal cruelty bill hands down harsher penalties: a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and $1,000 fine.
That was increased from a Class B misdemeanor of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.
The sharpest teeth in the bill come for severe cases of cruelty, like torture.
Linda Dooley is a law school student who wrote the bill more than a year ago, and worked with State Rep. Joe Faust to get it passed.
Dooley said, "It gives us a statute that allows for aggravated cruelty, which means prolonged torture, with a weapon, any kind of aggravated cruelty will now be a Class C felony."
State Representative Faust of Fairhope said, "She brought it to me last year, and I guess Channel 10 got a hold of it, and at the time we got about 3,500 hits. People wanted the bill passed."
Mindy Gilbert with the Alabama Chapter of the Humane Society of the United States supports the bill, and said you may be surprised how many cases of animal torture happen in Alabama.
Gilbert said, "Just this year, there was a situation in Cullman County in which some teenagers stole a pygmy goat, and they tied it up, and they beat it, and they kicked it, and then they threw it off a bridge to its death, and all of this was videoed."
As for Clara, officials with the Baldwin County Humane Society say she should be healed and ready for adoption soon.
WILL THE GOVERNOR SIGN THE BILL?
We've reached out to the Governor's office to find out if Governor Bentley will sign the bill.We haven't heard anything yet.
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