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Wanted: Prime Sponsor for Pet Cruelty Bill

Last updated on 2013.01.25

My Lead neighbor Shari Kosel mentioned last September that she would try to get some tougher cruelty protections for pets on the books this legislative session. Her group, South Dakotans Fighting Animal Cruelty Together, is following up with a complete bill ready for the Legislature:

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to provide for felony penalties for aggravated cruelty to dogs, cats, and horses.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA: Section 1. That Chapter 40-1 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

40-1-27.1 Aggravated cruelty as felony. No person may maliciously and intentionally cause the mistreatment, torture, or cruelty of any dog, cat, or horse resulting in serious injury, serious illness, or death of the dog, cat, or horse. A violation of this section is a class 6 felony. “Serious injury” means any injury that creates a substantial risk of death, leaves a dog, cat, or horse significantly disfigured, causes broken bones, or causes prolonged impairment of health. “Serious illness” means any illness or starvation that creates a substantial risk of death, leaves a dog, cat, or horse significantly disfigured, or causes prolonged impairment of health. “Torture” includes but is not limited to burning, poisoning, crushing, suffocating, impaling, drowning, blinding, skinning, fatal beating, fatal dragging, fatal exsanguination, disemboweling or dismemberment of a dog, cat or horse.

This section may not be construed to prohibit:

  1. Hunting, trapping, fishing, or any other activity regulated under Title 41;
  2. The marking of an animal for identification, and any other activity that is a usual and customary practice in production agriculture;
  3. Examination, testing, individual treatment, operation, or euthanasia performed by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian;
  4. Lawful medical or scientific research conducted at a public or private facility or laboratory by or under the direction of a qualified researcher; and
  5. Any lawful activity undertaken to protect a person’s life or property from a serious threat caused by a dog, cat, or horse.

Any person who violates this section may also, at the discretion of the court, be ordered to undergo 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 not to own or possess a dog, cat, or horse for up to five years after the date of the sentencing.

This animal cruelty bill is better written than Rev. Rep. Scott Craig's make-your-school-an-unaccountable-armed-camp bill. It clearly focuses on the animals of concern—dogs, cats, and horses. You won't go to jail for branding your cattle, putting nightcrawlers on your hook, or cleaning your walleye.

The bill addresses both the inherent immorality of animal cruelty as well as the human side effects. Animal torture is linked to aggression and violence against humans... so arguably, by tightening penalties for animal cruelty and authorizing judges to send violators in for counseling, this bill might do more to keep children safe than the guns-in-school bill.

But, while Kosel reports 13 legislators have said they will co-sponsor this bill, no one has stepped up as prime sponsor.

Come on, folks: this bill does clear good and no harm. It recognizes a dangerous crime and does more to protect us from violent offenders. Legislators, you have until Monday, January 28, to file individual bills. One of you should pick up this bill and give it a chance to stand up to scrutiny in committee.


  1. larry kurtz 2013.01.19

    I support a facility to slaughter horses, Cory: they are just one more invasive species decimating habitat for native species.

  2. Steve Hickey 2013.01.19

    First point: just an fyi---- the same people write all our bills. We give them our intent and what we are trying to accomplish and the LRC crafts a bill that fits into present SD law and definitions. The legislator bringing the bill likely didn't pen it. That's not always true, but it usually is.

    My question: will those who vote in support of this animal cruelty bill also support the fetal pain bill? As you know it's currently okay to dismember a living human being without anesthesia. Regardless of whether or not you agree with science which now tells us conception produces a biological human being, I'd think it's a matter a basic human compassion. We shouldn't dismember even a bird if we know it can feel pain. No?

    Also interesting to me, a leading Democrat in my district sent a letter on behalf of AgUnited asking me not to support out of state animal rights activists who were recently successful in ND and who are now here. I know they found some locals to champion it here but the letter shows how 98% of this effort is not from SD. That being said, I'll look very closely at the merits of this bill and all I've said here is not to be construed as an indication of how I'll vote. This is just more info.

  3. Bill Dithmer 2013.01.19

    What about hunting with dog?

    The Blindman

  4. Richard Schriever 2013.01.19

    I would have sponsored this bill. And in response to Mr. Hickey - the "fetal pain" bill would be superfluous. Current restrictioins on late-term abortions essentially negate abortions from taking place after the fetus has actually developed to the point where it is physically CAPABLE of feeling pain. You know - when there are actual connected nerve endings. The science of biology tells us that we aren't fully-formed but just tiny tiny minature humans at conception. There are a whole series of developmental steps and processes that occur on a very predictable schedule in the womb. The capacity for pain is one which is well--understood. BTW - had this discussion way back in the late '80s with the a grad school classmate's husband, who was Perinatal specialist at UCLA-Medical school. Lectured and practiced all over the world. Name of Shapiro.

  5. Les 2013.01.19

    Dog, horse and cat are edible, some are pets and some are nutrition.

  6. Shari Kosel 2013.01.19

    Representative Hickey, thank you for commenting. I want to assure you, this bill is 100% South Dakotans. I don't belong to any outside group, nor are we receving any funding from an outside group. We are citizens across South Dakota that believe companion animals deserve more.

    That said, I started working on this on my own over five years ago when my neighbor's dog Maysie was tortured and murdered. Maysie was a beautiful lab, a hunting companion and a dog I adored.

    When I finally reached out to Facebook, I found hundreds of other South Dakotans just like me. Many had their Maysie stories, many had experienced a malicious act of cruelty. And that's just it, malicious.

    This isn't about hunting dogs, this isn't about vegetarianism, this isn't about common animal practices. This is about the willful, crazed beating of a prized dog while in a closed kennel. This is about cutting a dog's ears off with a steak knife. This is about the worst cruelty against our companion animals. All the crimes are actual South Dakota cases and all were a misdemeanor. To compare, writing a bad check is the same penalty in South Dakota as dousing a dog with gasoline and setting him on fire. All true. All horrific.
    Compassion for companion animals. We are their South Dakota voice.

  7. Sue Stone-Douglas 2013.01.19

    Well said Shari Kosel! You speak for thousands of South Dakotans statewide!

  8. larry kurtz 2013.01.19

    Hate crime legislation for four-leggeds=red state collapse.

  9. Barry Smith 2013.01.19

    Seems to me that this bill is very well intentioned and that there should be stiffer penalty's for this type of sadistic cruelty, but would have to be very well written in order to not have unintended consequences. Even then I think there would be some unintended consequences, maybe if there was a large amount of Judicial leeway written into it. We don't want anyone prosecuted for raising food or participating in a sport, but we all know that there is a real fine line between being able to do the types of things to animals that Shari is talking about and being able to do them to humans.

  10. Bill Dithmer 2013.01.19

    Man I have a lot of problems with this bill.
    1. Who get to determine if an animal has been mistreated?
    2. What about a coon hound or cat dog that get cut up or hurt while hunting?
    3. How are you going to handle search and prosecutions of the bill?
    4. This statement."Examination, testing, individual treatment, operation, or euthanasia performed by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian"

    Let me tell you that I have put many dogs down because it was the right thing to do at the time. Taking them to the vet would have only made them suffer even more then they already were. I put an old friend down last week that had been with me for almost twenty two years. I would not have trusted anyone else to end her suffering. Last year I had to put my friend Pete down that was almost twenty one. I would never have put him through a trip to the vet after the yots got ahold oh him "never."

    I will never let someone from the USHS or PETA on my property again. I had to deal with them while I was raising dogs. The only thing that kept me from having to deal with those people was my USDA license and the inspections that were perfect.

    In what was my line of business "training coon and cat dogs" dogs get hurt all the time, sometimes badly. But I took good care of my dogs and most lived longer then most peoples pet. I don't need anyone looking over my shoulder playing armature vet. When one of these dogs gets hurt they get treatment because they are worth so much money, and we love them.

    I ask again who is going to be in charge of enforcement?

    The Blindman

  11. Mickie Hortness 2013.01.19

    Thank you Shari Kosel for all your hard work on this. I too am a South Dakotan who believes our companion animals deserve more. There are folks who believe that egregious acts against companion animals just do not occur in our state. Having worked in the field of veterinary medicine for nearly 17 years, I can tell you that it most certainly does happen in our state. As Shari said, we all have our Maysie stories. And just because it isn't something you read about in your local newspaper everyday or see on the evening news, doesn't mean it isn't happening. It is.

    There is a certain faction of people in our state, an Ag state, who are so fearful of anything that speaks of protection for our companion animals. But as Shari pointed out, this bill is not about being anti-meat or anti-Ag. This bill is not about hunting or fishing. The bill clearly points out that the intent is to provide felony penalties for egregious acts against dogs, cats and horses. And until we have these felony penalties in place and enforced, our state of South Dakota will remain at the bottom of the Humane State Ranking list.

  12. Barry Smith 2013.01.19

    I've been there too Bill. I had an 18 year old dog in terrible pain. A choice between 30 minutes to the Vet or a quick bullet to the head. I know what was right and I did it. I won't ever forget it but it was the right thing to do. Like I said a law for this sort of thing has to be really well written, just too many unintended consequences.

  13. Barry Smith 2013.01.19

    Shari - Would Bill and I be charged with a felon for our actions, under this law?

  14. Bill Dithmer 2013.01.19

    One more question and then I'm through, if I get the right answer.

    Give me the definition of "companion animals" would this include all dogs? What about a dog that does a job, hunting, cattle or sheep herding, police work, personal protection, or maybe search and rescue?

    Please be as exact as you can. After all if you cant answer that question your bill is to broad and could end up causing more harm then good.

    I will support this bill if given the right answers to my questions. If the answers aren't there yet the bill is fatally flawed.

    The Blindman

  15. Lois 2013.01.19

    OK for all of you who oppose this bill what would you purpose? I too have been forced to make the decision to put down animals. NOT TORTURE THEM. Please, what do you think is fair punishment when a prized beloved pet is tortured beyond recognition by an invader? What would you think is fair and just if this would happen your prized pet? Stop the critial comments and please offer your solutions.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.19

    Les, if you're really by hungry, might conditions 2 and 3 allow you to set up that horse slaughter plant?

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.19

    Bill D., the bill does not appear to use the term "companion animal." It says "any dog, cat, or horse."

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.19

    Bill and Barry, your point about putting a beloved pet out of its misery is well taken. I think that sad situation is covered by the opening line of Section 1: maliciously. You are acting in mercy, not malice. This bill doesn't put you in jail.

  19. Shari Kosel 2013.01.19

    Ok, stepped away for an hour and all these questions. I will try to address the best I can.

    Bill and Barry, NO YOU WOULD NOT BE CHARGED. Under current South Dakota law putting down a injured or ailing old dog with a bullet isn't malicious. That is legal under current law & still will be.

    State companion animal cruelty code is currently enforced by the local sheriff or sworn officer of a local humane society, this will not change. Groups like PETA & HSUS have no law enforcement powers in our state, local law enforcement is always in charge. Re-read the bill, this is in addition to current law for malicious & intentional acts of torture to a dog, cat or horse.

    Bill, these are only for the most horrific of intentional acts of violence. As I previously stated, hunting, anything to do with hunting/trapping/agriculture are 1. already protected under our current laws and 2. are 100% not part of this bill.

    I don't know how I can state this any more clearly so people aren't confused. There are only a handful of these crimes in SD every year but when they do happen, we need to be ready with a felony penalty. I ask this, because there are only a handful of murders in SD every year, do we need a felony law? Yes, of course.

    Does this help clarify?

  20. Shari Kosel 2013.01.19

    Sorry, Bill I see I missed your last question.

    Yes, working dogs would fit under the companion category. That said, a working dog needs to be protected from being set afire, from having his ears cut off with a steak knife, from being tortured with hate and anger and malice. The working dogs I've met eat/sleep better than I do!

  21. Barry Smith 2013.01.19

    Thank you Shari for the clarification :-)

  22. Bill Dithmer 2013.01.19

    NO YOU WOULD NOT BE CHARGED. Under current South Dakota law putting down a injured or ailing old dog with a bullet isn't malicious.

    I would appreciate very much if this was written into the bill. Right now in the state of South Dakota you cant legally put a crippled deer out of is misery without a conservation officer there to determine if it was hurt bad enough to justify your actions. That's the law. Been there, done that, been cussed out for that.

    The Blindman

  23. Steve Hickey 2013.01.19

    Class 6 Felony - 2 years in state pen and/or $4000.

    This is likely be the insurmountable hurdle in the bill. Somewhere between a slap on the wrist and the electric chair lies a just penalty for cruelty to animals. I look forward to that debate if it gets a sponsor and gets out of committee and on to the floor of the House. Cruelty to animals is a certainly a good thing to revisit. Raising the penalty too high puts animals on par with humans in terms of the value of life and that'll will definitely meet resistance.

    Richard, you are wrong in your comments about fetal pain in SD. The bill being brought would have affected 3 abortions last year which were past 20 weeks. We do abortions later than that here for life threatening medical reasons and there is presently no anesthesia requirement. There are studies out there that show babies feel pain at 8 weeks. I don't need a study to help me see that even younger than that, if you poke it with a sharp instrument... it pulls away from it. Why do you suppose that is?

    We should error on the side of being humane if there is ANY chance ANY living thing feels pain when being dismembered until it bleeds out and dies. Science is not on your side in this argument Richard. There are not some biological humans who are more human than other biological humans. Stage of development doesn't determine humanity.

  24. Steve Hickey 2013.01.19

    Bill - I cosponsored a bill this week that would allow us to put a deer out of its misery if hit by a car without a conservation officer present. Rep. Peggy Gibson is the prime sponsor. I have no idea if the bill will make it very far.

  25. Shari Kosel 2013.01.19

    Representative Hickey, did you know that South Dakota is one of TWO states without said felony bill for animal cruelty? Why do South Dakotans value the life of an animal any less than that of a human? Life is life, right?

    Didn't you state that "ANY chance ANY living thing feels pain"? Dog fighting is a felony in SD, but not malicious acts of cruelty? (to me they are the same) A $1,000 portrait of a dog is a felony if damaged, but intentional damage to said dog is a misdemeanor. It just doesn't make sense.

    You are a clergyman, St. Francis of Assisi would have to disagree with you about animals.

  26. Rob Honomichl 2013.01.19

    As I read through some of the comments here I began to be overtaken by some of the ignorance of the comments. I am in full support of this bill as it is something that is needed. We should not let South Dakota be the last state to put laws like this in place.

    Recently in Madison, an individual dumped six 4 week puppies in a dumpster. If this person is charged with animal abuse he will simply just get a small fine and nothing will change this behavior. The owner even after this act is still allowed to own the dogs that produced the puppies with no stipulations. This needs to be changed.

    Many have pushed that we look at mental health issues in result to recent shootings. Guess what...a person that has now issue with animal abuse and mutilation is someone who is mentally ill and probably will need another life to take.

    Last year we saw someone in South Dakota walk into a neighbors kennel and kill their hunting dog with a hammer. He walked away with a little fine and that family lost their pet.

    Like mentioned this bill was written by South Dakotans and takes on a need that the state needs, or someday we will sit back and be like how did a Michael Vick situation happen in South Dakota.

  27. larry kurtz 2013.01.19

    Since this state law wouldn't apply could tribes open a horse slaughter plant?

  28. larry kurtz 2013.01.19

    Would advocates of this bill support a religious or medical rights defense for cannabis?

  29. larry kurtz 2013.01.19

    South Dakota is one of the last states to change "game" to wildlife in its agency that sells slaughter rather than preserving the species within its scope (heh) of control.

    Why worry now?

  30. Sara Parker 2013.01.19

    I am a life-long resident of South Dakota who strongly believes we need stronger laws for acts of cruelty against companion animals. Apparently AgUnited is saying that 98% of this effort is not from SD – this is just not true. I am involved in SDFACT’s effort and we are all from South Dakota. We want to make our communities safer and provide prosecutors with another option when dealing with violent individuals who commit acts of cruelty against pets. There is a proven link between animal cruelty and human violence – acts of cruelty against an animal should be taken seriously. All neighboring states, except North Dakota (which is currently working on this), have had felony penalties for acts of cruelty to companion animals on the books for years and they still enjoy a strong ag economy.

  31. Bill Dithmer 2013.01.19

    Rob Honomichl, there is nobody that hates the abuse of animals more then I do. As I stated before I would be glad to support this bill if it is written properly. At this time it seems that the parameters of the bill are just to wide and would have the unintended consequence of putting some people at risk of being law breakers that had no intention of breaking the law.

    I speak specifically about my sport because there are those that would like to stop it completely. That is the hunting of fur baring animals with dogs. This sport has been around long before there was a Dakota Territory and I am very protective of it. I have personally seen laws that were written with the best intentions that because they were to broad had an adverse affect. I don't want that to happen in this case.

    You say "I began to be overtaken by some of the ignorance of the comments." If you are talking about me I can assure you that my comments are not out of ignorance but from the knowledge that bills with grey areas are hard to get passed and harder to enforce. I want the law to be as black and white as possible so there can be no questions after the fact.

    Just for the record I hunted and trained dogs for 45 of my sixty years, the last ten years without even carrying a gun. That's right bloodless coon hunting except if the dogs caught a coon.

    I no longer hunt or train dogs. I don't raise pups anymore because my body just cant take the punishment. I protect the sport so that those that come after I'm gone can still enjoy the thrill of the chase, not the kill!

    Maybe this will help you to understand why I ask these questions.

    My Hunting Heritage

    The beginning was long before there was even a thought of me. I have been told this story many times by different men that I have known in my life. They are all gone now but I'm sure they wouldn’t mind if I shared it with the rest of you.

    It started in the late thirties after the Great Depression and before the war to end all wars WWII. It was a time when there wasn’t a phone for miles and electricity was just something that city folks had that the people out in this part of the country only dreamed of. At our house we had a wind generator and a propane generator that were the source of amazement to the rest of the community because of the things they could do without manual labor.

    Just to get from one place to another took advanced planning and often took the form of horses or mules either ridden or driven. There were a few cars but the roads left a bunch to be desired when dry and if they were wet you didn’t even think of driving. It was a simple life but the neighbors you had were a close knit group that were more like family then just people you knew. If someone got sick, everybody knew it. If someone died within a couple of hours everybody not only knew it but would show up at that persons place to help in any way they could think of. The food was great, there were very few poor cooks back then. But it always depended on the season and the weather what you would eat.

    They created their own fun. It might be branding, it might be baking bread, and it might be coon hunting.

    It was a lot different then when it came to coon hunting. It was never just two or three men getting together to hunt, sometimes there were as many as thirty, and most of the time there were at least fifteen that got together to hunt. It started in early fall and continued through the winter when the weather was right. That meant anything from sixty degrees to 0 as long as it wasn’t snowing to hard. They would hunt with as many as six or eight dogs. If you had a dog, you brought a dog. They took turns selling or using the hides, even the ones that didn’t own a dog. They hunted with oil lanterns, carbide lights and the new fangled thing a two cell flashlight being carful not to use the flashlights to much as they were needed to shine trees.

    There were no rich people around here and there were no poor people as far as the bunch that hunted together, they were all the same. There wasn't a color barrier back then. That didn’t come around here for many years after that time. The Indians and the whites did the same things and lived the same way. They were all neighbors. My Uncle Cars used to say “everybody looks the same in the dark”. He was right they do. Every time they hunted it would be decided where and when they would hunt the next time and sure enough when that afternoon came around there would be wagons and cars headed for the designated hunting ground. It was like Monday night football only outside.

    Although they came to hunt it was far from the only thing that was done. The men took those opportunities away from the women folk to talk about life. The old men would talk to the young ones giving advice and listening to their problems. They would talk politics and the talk would always get around to the war in Europe. You have to remember that around here most of the people came here from Germany. Most of the parents talked English but some were darn poor at it. At that time people often looked at Germans like they might just be spies and nothing could have been further from the truth. Most of these people left Germany for the same reasons that the war was being fought in the first place. As for Japan, nobody around here had ever seen a Japanese except maybe in a book.

    They went sometimes by themselves, and sometimes in twos or threes to the war with one common thing. The week before they left they came to the hunt and everyone shuck their hands and told them how proud they were of the ones that were going knowing full well that there were some that wouldn’t come back. At these times everyone stood in a big circle and talked. There was often a jug passed around and many a young kid had his first taste of the hard stuff when the bottle was passed from person to person around the circle.

    When the first ones went in there was much talk about seeing each other after the war and it was agreed on by all to meet here at the ranch on the creek six months after peace was declared to start the hunt and the circle again.

    Well they did come home. A couple had no visible scars but were forever changed in their minds. A couple came home on crutches one stayed that way for the rest of his life, and one lost an arm. And a couple never made it back to the circle again. There were more then a few tears shed the first time they all got together to hunt and it took years to get rid of the bad dreams some had from their experiences.

    When I was still little I knew a lot of these people. To a man they would never talk about the war but instead choose to relive hunts of the past and friends that they hunted with. My Uncle Cars was one of the most decorated men in the state and we still don’t know what he did to earn all of his medals. They were all like that. War must indeed be hell.

    As I said they are all gone now but every once in a while when my friends and I get together someone will tell a story that their dad or grandpa told them about the hunt or the circle and you will see heads shaking because they have heard the same story from their own dads or grandpa.

    I'm the only one around here that still hunts. But there have been times when the wind was just right and I would let my imagination run a little wild, that I could hear people down the creek laughing and talking. Sure I know there isn't anybody there but it is times like these that I know I'm not alone either.

    Well there you have it. This is by no means the only story from that time about the men that went to war for this country. The hunting might be different, some hunted fox, some water foul, and some fished, but the overall theme was the same. Country boys thought and worried more about their friends and neighbors and their country back then. It was all about friendship, and just getting the chance to get together again to enjoy each others company. Is it just me or have we lost something along the way?

    The Blindman

  32. Rorschach 2013.01.19

    Penalty inflation is something that goes on constantly in the SD legislature. Every year there are crimes du jour for which bills are introduced to increase penalties. Legislators like to be tough on crime. Rarely do penalties go down - except when there is a big study like the Criminal Code Revision Commission or this year's Criminal Justice Initiative that puts together a package of laws. Otherwise it's constant bracket creep.

    Nobody is for cruelty to animals. But the law on the books provides for up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine (per count charged). The law and the court system work. We can put the bad guys away right now.

  33. Bill Dithmer 2013.01.19

    "Since this state law wouldn't apply could tribes open a horse slaughter plant?" Interesting question Larry. I bet you could get ten different answers from ten people.

    The Blindman

  34. Shari Kosel 2013.01.19

    And then there was one....

    Our neighbors to the north have introduced legislation increasing animal cruelty penalties. In the story below the ND Stockmans is encouraging passage. It is actually broadly supported by Ag entities and animal advocates alike - check out the bill draft here: The bill will be heard in ND's Senate Ag Committee on January 24th.

    South Dakota could soon be the ONLY state in the country without felony penalties for the most malicious acts of cruelty.

  35. Jana 2013.01.19

    Pastor Steve, I'm surprised at your angst with what you thought was an out of state bill.

    Guessing you feel the same angst with the bills written by ALEC? No?

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.19

    The North Dakota Stockmen support the ND bill? That should put a cork in any shouts that this is some nefarious HSUS plot, shouldn't it?

  37. Jana 2013.01.19

    Do people who will be denied Medicare because of ideology feel pain because they cannot afford to see a doctor? Or will knowing that the governor and the legislature just don't like our President make them feel better.

  38. Steve Hickey 2013.01.19

    Jana- I'm not an ALEC member. I know bill ideas and models often originate elsewhere . Not my point here. I just came home from the SD Corn Growers banquet and spoke with the person who I referenced above. The out of state money and activism is the story in ND, or so I'm told.

    What did I write above put me at odds with St Francis? Nothing. Most certainly nothing from ST Francis could be construed as putting animals on the same value plain as humans- not that this bill does this- I just raised the point that some animal rights folks are happy to dismember human beings but see animals as our brothers and sisters to be protected by strict penalties.

  39. Jana 2013.01.19

    Iowa passed a law to protect animal and livestock producers from people taking pictures or video taping animal abuse.

    Heck the GOP has members who view women and immigrants the same as livestock.

  40. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.19

    Steve: tweeeet! foul! Your implication in your comment at the top was that "98% of this effort is not from SD." Maybe that was just a sloppy "this," but the comment can easily be read as an effort to paint this animal-cruelty bill with the out-of-state-activist brush. Jana's ALEC comment in response is perfectly apropos. If Ag United and other corporate cronies are going to say that out-of-state origins are a voting issue (and I'll give that argument a hearing; heck, I'll even use it!), then they'd better join us in squawking when we see ALEC's grubby fingerprints on a bill.

    That said, Shari, Sue, Mickie, Rob, and Sara all aver that this proposal is a South Dakota product, so out-of-state origins shouldn't be anyone's point here. I'm fine with that until someone presents evidence to the contrary. Play ball!

  41. Jana 2013.01.19

    Stevw king to name one.

  42. Dana P. 2013.01.19

    Ms Kosel, thank you so much for your efforts on this. So glad to see that someone is doing what is right in trying to protect animals from horrific cruelty. Many of the "what if" questions that I am seeing on this thread, makes me shake my head. I think it is good to have a discussion about pros and cons, but, come on, I would think that everyone gets what this bill is trying to address and the intent of it.

    "The measure of a society can be how well its people treat its animals." ~Mohandas Gandhi

  43. Les 2013.01.20

    It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.
    "The measure of a society can be how well it's people treat their late term unborn". Les
    I love my kids more than I love my dog Pete, but miss him more than I do my children.
    I don't think an animal cruelty law is bad. Why not public caning Shari.? We've already filled our prisons beyond imagination with laws that now need to come off the books.

  44. Douglas Wiken 2013.01.20

    Just what we need is another law to put people in prison so we taxpayers can squander $20,000 to make some bleeding hearts feel better about the pet that just pissed on the rug.

  45. Bill Dithmer 2013.01.20

    Larry when I got up this morning for some reason I was thinking about Mason Williams "Them Poems" so I had to go look. The one that stuck out was "Them ewe doers."

    Now you bring up this with a picture in the link. I will never look at a lamb chop the same way again. No that is a lie, I hate sheep meat anyway. You dont ever hear about some dumb ass trying to bite off a calves nuts.

    Oh well its Sunday in South Dakota. Suddenly compared to Wyoming we look sane.

    The Blindman

  46. Bill Dithmer 2013.01.20

    Les you are absolutely right but lets not stop at caning. Here is a penalty that would fit the crime.

    Judge " Mr. animal hater I have heard all the evidence and found you guilty of cruelty to animals. After doing some research in the matter I have decided that the best sentence for your crime is the following."

    "You are hereby sentenced to one year, starting from the time you leave this courtroom, to wear a TriTronics long rang shocking collar with GPS. This collar is to be permanently set on high and will shock if you leave the designated area. I will be in full control of the collar at all times. YOU WILL BE SHOCKED, a minimum of three times a day. You will be shocked at any given time or place to be determined by me. It can happen when you are sleeping, it might happen when you are eating, if you are in the shower or on the john it just might bite you. Court is adjourned."

    The Blindman

  47. grudznick 2013.01.20

    Take cats out of the law and then pass it.

  48. Taunia 2013.01.20

    What about the rights of those that want to or feel the need to abuse animals? Why should their rights be impinged?

    It's an inalienable right not taken away by the U.S. Constitution, therefore it's constitutional. Like the right to buy a house, the right to vote, the right to marriage, et al.

    It's an inalienable right to abuse animals and I think people need to wake up and defend this right before it's taken away by liberty-hating groups, and we become secular, marxist communists.

    We fought great wars to remain free. Your right to abuse animals is being challenged. Why are you sitting there reading this instead of gathering your neighbors and family to march on the streets and telling them they are going to lose even more rights under this Muslim, Kenyan-born, Manchurian candidate president?

    Long live our rights!

  49. grudznick 2013.01.20

    I read the newspaper about the heinous acts that were done. Ban ball peen hammers and all animal problems will be solved.

  50. Les 2013.01.20

    Hell yea Bill. God forbid the judge have a bad day, those three times could far exceed in duration that of a sane handlers use.
    Lets start making the time fit the crime. Some might classify it as a little barbaric, but its a sure fire way to initiate a quick mind shift in such games.
    How does that statement explain your support of the death penalty Taunia?

  51. Shari Kosel 2013.01.20

    Thank you for all the comments. I appreciate discussion to help eliminate any misconceptions about what we are trying to accomplish.

    That said, I think we found a sponsor in the Senate! Someone has come forward and is looking our draft over now. Wording may change per LRC recommendations but right now it's wait and see.

    We have until Wednesday to secure a co-sponsor in the House and collect all necessary signatures.

    Thank you for your thoughtful and encouraging responses. Egregious acts of companion animal cruelty will hopefully become a dark tale we tell our grandchildren.

  52. grudznick 2013.01.20

    Is the sponsor Mr. Stan?

  53. Charlie Johnson 2013.01.20

    Ag United will always use a "straw man" to deflect the issue at hand. Their fear of PETA of HSUS creates a situation where average South Dakotans get labeled in a gruel and unfair manner. Rep. Hickey--the dialgoue in this post has shown that both the proponents and well reasoned doubters of this legislation can confront the issue in a well mannered way. Don't let Ag United twist the context of the discussion.

  54. grudznick 2013.01.20

    Mr. Johnson, what is your position on ownership and concealed carry of ball peen hammers by law-abiding citizens?

  55. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.21

    I welcome Ag United's participation in the discussion of this bill, Charlie... so we can show what specious sophists they are.

    Shari, send the scoop: who's the sponsor? Press release?!

    Grudz, I counterpropose that we require every citizen to carry a ball peen hammer at all times and undergo training in the proper usage thereof.

  56. Mickie Hortness 2013.01.21

    Congratulations Shari and thanks again for all your hard work on this! This is a very important issue to many South Dakotans.

  57. Rorschach 2013.01.21

    Almost daily we show Rep. Hickey's specious sophistry here, but he keeps coming back for more. Ag United is far inferior in that regard than the inconsistent reverend who never met an argument he would address directly.

    I'll address this one directly. We have a penalty on the books for animal cruelty, and we don't need to inflate that penalty. Let penalty enhancement (bracket creep) stop here.

  58. Mickie Hortness 2013.01.21

    Part of the problem is that those penalties that are on the books are not enforced. Does anyone know anyone who has spent a year in jail or paid a $2000.00 fine for an act of animal cruelty? Seems to me that South Dakota is not only lacking in laws that protect animals, we are also lacking in officials with enough guts to enforce the laws we do have.

  59. Angie Dolan 2013.01.21

    Thank you, Shari K., for your explanations to all who have questioned this bill, and for going forward to try to have our state accept that there is truly cruelty to animals, and that South Dakotans can change their thinking. As the owner of formely abused animals and animals noone else has wanted, and foster "parent" for abused animals through the years, I firmly stand behind you.

  60. Tina Miller 2013.01.21

    Shari K, thank you for doing this! For years I have seen the need for this, I appreciate your compassionate heart and I pray for the passage of this bill which seems pretty clear to me! Thanks!

  61. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.22

    Should we have a problem with expanding the penalty for someone who behaves in such a malicious way poses such a serious risk to other people?

  62. larry kurtz 2013.01.22

    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

    “Clover was a stout motherly mare approaching middle life, who had never quite got her figure back after her fourth foal.”
    ― George Orwell, Animal Farm

  63. Shari Kosel 2013.01.22

    SDFACT emailed eleven directors of South Dakota ag groups* January 11th and we were disappointed that no one responded to our invitation to work together on a bill. Kelly Nelson from Ag United was on KELO-AM this morning and stated that they are organizing an “animal well-being group” meeting, next week in Pierre. No one from SDFACT was invited to attend this meeting. A similar group met last year and concluded that no changes in state laws were needed. This group stated, “South Dakota has a proud and rich history of animal ownership and husbandry.” You can see the report they gave to legislators at It is very disappointing that lobbyists are trying to keep this discussion out of legislative committee – where it can be discussed and testified on by South Dakotans on ALL sides of the issue. Instead, the ag lobby will discuss it at an invitation-only meeting. The real question is why are ag groups placing so much focus on companion animal legislation?

    *(including Ag United, SD Farm Bureau, SD Farmer’s Union, SD Beef Industry Council, SD Cattlemen’s Association, SD Dairy Producers, SD Pork Producers, and SD Poultry Industries Association) to follow updates

  64. grudznick 2013.01.22

    Some pigs are pets.

  65. Charlie Johnson 2013.01.22

    Ag United, unless they control the discussion, assume that any group concerned about animal welfare is a fire breathing anti-meat, veggie eating, long haired, east coast-west coast fanantic. I have farmed my entire life, worked with cattle and hogs every day for 50 years--Ag United is one big sore spot on what should be common sense in agriculture.

  66. Shari Kosel 2013.01.22

    Grud, yes, some pigs are pets. We are asking DOGS, CATS AND HORSES and that you not be allowed to set them on fire or other malicious acts of cruelty. Nothing to do with Ag....and the Ag people I know treat their animals very humanely. I've not known a producer to hammer his horse/cow/pig to death.

  67. grudznick 2013.01.22

    I agree, Ms. Kosel. But you keep saying "companion animals" when what you really mean is DOGS, CATS and HORSES. Lots of animals are companions and I think that confuses people like me.

    I am against hammering dogs and horses to death, regardless of their companionship value. I read the articles about people hammering dogs to death and I think you are on the right track.

  68. larry kurtz 2013.01.22

    PP does whatever his empty wallet tells him to do.

  69. grudznick 2013.01.22

    Having the Human Society on your animal law is like having one of those young Latenslaugers lobbying for your gun law. Or like having Mr. Newland promoting your noxious weed laws. Or like having Mr. Gant promote your government privacy laws. Or like having Mr. Fleming on your pizza law.

    OK, strike that last one, but on the rest I'm just sayin...

  70. Shari Kosel 2013.01.22

    Look at our bill draft!!!! It states "cats, dogs and horses" in the first sentence.

    I am a wife that lives in Lead with her husband. My neighbors dog was tortured and murdered. This is how I began my plight over 5 years ago, not because I have ANY outside affiliation.

  71. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.22

    Grudz, tell me the last time PP added any value to a debate. He's reciting irrelevant industry cant. What part of Ms. Kosel's explanation of her South-Daktoa-ness and non-affiliation is Pat Powers going to call a lie?

  72. Les 2013.01.22

    Spurs, quirt, cannine shock collar, cinch, steel bit, horse shoes nailed on. Malicious appearance to the untrained eye while we throw a bronc for hoof work?

  73. grudznick 2013.01.22

    I have read that Mr. PP has a dog, and I know he's not against laws that prevent dogs from being hammered to death. I don't know his personal stance on this law.

    I think PP is all about the Humane Society being involved because that is a kiss of death in this state. Nobody, not even me or Kurtz wants cute puppies hurt in horrible and terrible ways. At least I don't.

    And I'm on board with Ms. Kosel's law. I don't like the cat part much and I'm not big on people saying "companion animals" when it doesn't include pigs and rats and lots of other creatures that some humans dote upon.

    But if the law just says "Bang your dog in the head with a ball peen and you go to jail" then hey, that's a good law. People should back it.

  74. Rorschach 2013.01.24

    There goes PP again on SD's #2 political blog (pun?). He faults Rep. Paula Hawks for signing onto this bill and also signing onto the Stace Nelson resolution against the animal rights agenda. Who else signed onto both bills that PP from the #2 blog didn't fault? His buddy Dan Lederman. PP doesn't even pretend to be consistent anymore.

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