- Legal Industry
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According to the annual report made available by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the animal abuse statutes in Iowa not only lack teeth but also cannot bark. The animal rights group has, for six years now, ranked the state as among the “worst.”
The annual analysis compares various animal protection measures in each state and ranks them based on fourteen categories. These include cost mitigation and recovery, exemptions, penalties, seizure and forfeiture, post-conviction possession, mental health evaluations and counseling, law enforcement policies and fighting.
Jason Burns, the Assistant Linn county Attorney, last week said that the penalties for animal abuse are not strong and the state of Iowa lags far behind other states when it comes to laws on animal abuse.
Burns, who prosecuted a lot of animal abuse cases back when still handling misdemeanors, said, “The report is accurate. There are no felony offenses except for animal torture on the second offense and animal fighting on the second offense. There is no mandatory jail time for any offense, only fines.”
Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control operations manager, Diane Webber, said Iowa lacks most of the provisions that the annual report evaluates. This includes cruelty penalties and prohibiting abusers from future ownership of animals. The state also does not have recovery costs for rehab and care of abused animals.
Nevertheless, Webber said that last year, positive steps were taken by Iowa to improve the standard of care for animals in “puppy mills.” The state’s animal torture law also includes a provision that requires mandatory psychological examination of anyone convicted for torture.