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What the new federal animal cruelty law means for Indiana

Posted at 11:28 PM, Nov 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-27 15:24:52-05

INDIANAPOLIS — After President Donald Trump signed a new bill into law on Monday making animal cruelty a felony nationwide, animal rights advocates in Indiana want you to know the law won't make much of an impact locally.

Cara Bryant runs Otis Animal Welfare and Rescue, a foster based non-profit animal rescue in Parke County. She saw articles about the law being shared all over social media since Monday.

Under the new law, a person can face a federal felony if they are convicted of purposely crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or in any other way seriously hurting an animal, but anything less than that is still enacted at the state and local level.

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"Law enforcement can't charge somebody for crimes that don't exist," Bryant said.

In April 2019, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill banning inhumane euthanasia and some people, like Bryant, see it as a good step forward.

"That's the most that's changed in a really long time," Bryant said.

Bryant and other advocates still want to see stiffer punishments for animal abusers, at the state and federal level.

Under Indiana law, animal cruelty is still only a misdemeanor.

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