Supporters of Measure 5 released a list of crimes against animals in the state in response to critics of the measure that would strengthen the legal penalties in cases of animal cruelty.
“Across the country—everywhere but North Dakota and South Dakota—the worst acts of cruelty to dogs, cats and horses are considered felonies, yet these vicious crimes happen here, too,” said Karen Thunshelle, campaign manager for North Dakotans to Stop Animal Cruelty.
NDSAC points to four cases of animal cruelty in the state that received media attention after critics said the measure was ambiguously worded and such severe crimes are rare in the state.
The first case happened on April 30, when three men robbed a Grand Forks couple’s home and beat a Chihuahua to death.
A 27-year-old Fargo woman brought her dog, a Lhasa apso, to a bar in the early hours of March 15 and swung the dog by a leash, held it by the neck, pulled its hair out and threatened to kill it.
After his cousin asked him to leave his mobile home in Bismarck, a 25-year-old man slammed his cousin’s girlfriend’s puppy onto a counter and stepped on its head in 2007.
In 2004, a 36-year-old Fargo man held a cat down and cut its throat with a box cutter. The cat escaped but had to be put down by officers.
“North Dakota’s population is booming, and with that will come people who might not hold North Dakota values toward animals,” Thuneshelle said.
Nukhet Hendricks at the Fargo-Moorhead Humane Society told Fargo TV that Measure 5 is too narrow in scope because it only protects dogs, cats and horses and no other species. Thunshelle told the Times-Record that those animals were chosen because they were the most common companion animals in the state.
The North Dakotans for Responsible Animal Care (NDRAC) opposes to the wording of Measure 5 and is proposing legislation to be introduced in the next legislative session if the measure is voted down. The legislation is similar to Measure 5 in that it makes animal cruelty a class C felony, but NDRAC says it provides more clarity and guidance to law enforcement.