Tanya Hagel, Lansford
The opponents of Measure 5 are misrepresenting the ballot measure and trying to keep the status quo on animal cruelty. Instead of listening to myth, rumor, and gossip, North Dakotans need to check the facts. The facts of the case are that this initiated measure would add a new section to chapter 6-21.1 of the North Dakota Century Code to make it a felony for any individual to maliciously and intentionally burn, poison, crush, suffocate, impale, drown, blind, skin, beat to death, drag to death, exsanguinate, disembowel, or dismember any living dog, cat, or horse. If you question the truth of that, just read the full text of the measure as follows:
BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NORTH DAKOTA:
SECTION 1. Section 36-21.1-02.1 of the North Dakota Century Code is created and enacted as follows:
36-21.1-02.1 Aggravated animal cruelty-Prevention of Extreme Cruelty to Dogs, Cats, and Horses Act
1. Any individual who maliciously and intentionally burns, poisons, crushes, suffocates, impales, drowns, blinds, skins, beats to death, drags to death, exsanguinates, disembowels, or dismembers any living dog, cat, or horse is guilty of a class C felony.
2. The prohibition in subsection (1) of this section does not apply to:
a. Hunting, trapping, fishing, or any other activity that requires a license or permit under chapter 20.1-03;
b. The marking of an animal for identification, and any other activity that is a usual and customary practice in production agriculture;
c. Examination, testing, individual treatment, operation, or euthanasia performed by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian;
d. Lawful medical or scientific research conducted at a public or private facility or laboratory by or under the direction of a qualified researcher;
e. Any lawful activity undertaken to protect a person's life or property from a serious threat caused by a dog, cat, or horse; and
f. Any other lawful activity exempt from the definition of "'cruelty' or 'torture'" contained in section 36-21.1-01.
3. In addition to any imprisonment or fine, or both, ordered pursuant to chapter 12.1-32, any individual who violates subsection (1) of this section also may, at the discretion of the court, be:
a. Ordered to undergo mandatory psychological or psychiatric evaluation and obtain psychological counseling, including counseling in responsible pet ownership or animal cruelty prevention, for which the person shall bear any costs incurred; and
b. Ordered not to own or possess a dog, cat, or horse for up to five years after the date of the sentencing.
Again, here are the facts: Voting Yes on Measure 5 will make it a class C felony for an individual to maliciously and intentionally harm a living dog, cat or horse. Measure 5 protects farmers, ranchers and hunters! Measure 5 specifically will NOT apply to production agriculture, hunting, trapping, fishing, or rodeos.
Measure 5 does apply to the most extreme acts of animal cruelty-such as burning, crushing, suffocating, impaling, and dismembering animals. This measure will make the punishment for such acts to fit the crime.
North Dakotans treat animals with respect. It's time for our laws to reflect our values, especially as North Dakota's population continues to grow. Help our pets survive, vote Yes on Measure 5.