INDIANAPOLIS, IN (WFIE) - Choose to abuse animals, and you will pay the price.
House Bill 1615, approved 92-0 in the House Wednesday, will update Indiana’s animal cruelty statutes to crack down on people who choose to harm animals.
Representative Ryan Hatfield (D-Evansville) championed the bill.
“The goal of this legislation is to create better protections for Hoosier animals and people,” Hatfield said.
The bill calls for people who hurt an animal to face felony charges and go to prison if convicted.
“In my time in the prosecutor’s office, we saw one story after another of animal abuse. Hank the dog comes to mind. The hoarding case, and so many other tragic incidents. This bill grew out of frustrations with all of those incidences," Hatfield continued. "We wanted to make sure animal shelters can’t freeze cats, and you can’t light your dog on fire.”
The bill also prohibits an animal control program, animal shelter, or humane society from killing an animal by any means other than humane euthanasia, to be administered in a manner that causes painless loss of consciousness and death.
"FBI Profiler Robert Ressler says, 'Murderers often start out by killing and torturing animals,'" Hatfield added. "There is a direct link between people who abuse animals and people who abuse other people. When we strengthen animal cruelty crimes to protect animals, we also protect fellow Hoosiers."