New state law will deal out harsher penalties for animal cruelty - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

New state law will deal out harsher penalties for animal cruelty

(Source: SPCA of Texas) (Source: SPCA of Texas)

A new state law is set to go into effect that will deal out harsher penalties for those who are found guilty of animal cruelty.

An East Texan who testified to a state committee on the subject says there is much more at stake than just how long someone should be sentenced if convicted,  like stopping future crimes against people.
"We're talking about felony animal cruelty, we're talking about intentional acts, we're talking about torture. One that causes the animal to die or causes serious bodily injury," says Longview Animal Services Supervisor Chris Kemper.  

For years it's been a state jail felony, but now senate bill 762 makes animal cruelty a felony 3.

"Not only did we get an animal cruelty law that made it through the house and made it through the senate,  Governor Abbott signed it into law," Kemper says.

And the new law dishes out stiff penalties.

"It carries a sentence of 2-to-10 years," Chris says.
Kemper testified to a senate committee on the significance of animal cruelty and abuse as being a warning sign for much worse.
"There is a correlation between murderers and serial killers and animal abuse. Ted Bundy. Geoffrey Dahmer, Albert Desalvo. Serial killers who all started on animals. What if we had flagged these people when they were still torturing animals? Luke Woodham killed his mother and two classmates. In a diary of his they found he described setting his dog Sparkles on fire, and described it as a thing of beauty," says Kemper.

Kemper says studies show animal cruelty is a gateway crime.

"We deal with animal cruelty seriously because it's a red flag towards future behavior. We recognize that there is a correlation between violence against people, and violence against animals," says Chris.

Animal neglect or abandonment remains a class "C" misdemeanor. The new law carries a two year prison sentence, and if convicted a second time, the offender could face as much as 10 years in prison. The new law with its’ new penalties goes into effect September first.

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