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SB 46 Passes; Animal Cruelty Soon to Be Felony in South Dakota

Last updated on 2014.03.11

South Dakota is on its way to joining the rest of civilized America and punishing animal cruelty as a felony. Senate Bill 46 passed House Judiciary Monday and the full House Tuesday, though a bit more bumpily than it did in its unanimous cruise through the Senate.

Senate Bill 46 is tougher than the legislation brought last year by South Dakotans Fighting Animal Cruelty Together. But since SDFACT had a good talk with South Dakota's ag lobby and got everyone to realize we're all on the same page, the ag lobby and most of the Legislature got behind this bill.

Passing the bill required excluding the Humane Society of the United States from the summer negotiations over South Dakota's bill, said South Dakota pork and soybean lobbyist Lorin Pankratz in his testimony to House Judiciary Monday. The HSUS, as we all know, is plotting to take over the country, and even talking to seuch nefarious characters would make South Dakotans break out in hives and elect a poodle governor. Stockgrowers' lobbyist Jeremiah Murphy emphasized that "the people in this room"—the state veterinarian, the stockgrowers, the pork producers, all the big ag groups—wrote this bill, not just to color in the map and end South Dakota's status as the only state treating animal cruelty as a misdemeanor, but to make things better in South Dakota for animals and for agriculture.

Shari Kosel, the gal who spearheaded bringing animal cruelty to the Legislature's attention last year, testified concisely that SB 46 is collaboration and compromise in the best interest of South Dakota.

But some people just won't give up on HSUS hysteria. Rep. Elizabeth May (R-27/Kyle), who called herself the "Lone Ranger" in House Judiciary against the bill, said all of the preceding testimony on SB 46's South Dakota roots was "not factual." She said SB 46 was a problem caused by an organization that has vowed to eliminate animal agriculture. She said SB 46 arose from fear that HSUS would wage war on animal cruelty by ballot initiative. She said SB 46 is bad because HSUS shut down horse slaughter plants. I won't even try to explain the logic, because there is none.

Rep. May also asserted that all of the ag folks she talks to are against SB 46, even though all of the ag folks in the room had just gotten done testifying in favor of SB 46. She essentially dismissed the Farm Bureau, the Farmers Union, the Stockgrowers Association, and other major ag groups as elitist special interests who don't represent common folks. Boy, I'd like to hear Rep. May repeat that line on the campaign trail!

Rep. Charlie Hoffman (R-23/Eureka) rebutted Rep. May directly in committee discussion, saying SB 46 came entirely from South Dakotans, unlike a previous animal cruelty bill that was copied almost verbatim from an HSUS bill from Oregon. Rep. Anne Hajek (R-14/Sioux Falls) told people to look past the hype and read the bill. She slyly noted that SB 46 includes language that protects Rep. Olson's right to "shoot a mountain lion any time she wants to protect herself." Rep. Peggy Gibson (D-22/Huron) also corrected Rep. May's false fear that individuals convicted under SB 46 would lose their right to vote; she noted that once a convict has finished prison time and/or probation, that felon can regain the right to vote.

Committee Chairman Brian Gosch (R-32/Rapid City) complained that SB 46 costs too much. Evidently, $10,751 a year is too much to spend to more vigorously prosecute and punish the sociopaths who torture animals. Rep. Gosch also complained that "gross physical abuse," "prolonged pain," and "serious physical injury" are not clearly defined and cast one of only two votes against SB 46 in committee (the other came from his faithful lieutenant Rep. Justin Cronin, R-23/Gettysburg).

In the full House, you bet your boots that Rep. Betty Olson (R-29/Prairie City) voted against SB 46. Fourteen other legislators trembling before figments of their imagination joined her in the nay column Tuesday. SB 46 passed 54–15 and goes to Governor Dennis Daugaard for his signature.


  1. larry kurtz 2014.03.12

    May's district was beneficiary of Mike Rounds' under the table disbursement of Future Funds money: how conservative.

  2. Greg Barber 2014.03.12

    Liz May has way to much going for her to be spoken down to by some snipity reporter....she is a ranch wife plus she took a store in Kyle that was Junk and turned it around into a thriving business so I'm thinking her logic probably does in fact make sense if you know how to listen. Liz is a very hard working well liked woman with a great sense of humor who I'm sure can say whatever she wants in the campaign trail and still win handily.

  3. grudznick 2014.03.12

    Let this be a cautionary tale to libbies. No matter how good your idea may be, do not put the HSUS on your laws or they will be hauled to the river in a gunny sack.

    HSUS = libbie version of SDGO = gunny sack to the river

  4. Les 2014.03.12

    40-1-21. No person may intentionally kill any animal of any age or value, the property of another, nor intentionally injure or mistreat any such animal. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
    How to defend one's self against a terrorist dog?

  5. Chris S. 2014.03.12

    Am I wrong in imagining that the legislators in Pierre arguing hysterically against this bill were wearing tinfoil hats and receiving secret radio transmissions on their dental fillings?

    We're talking about people who are barely a step away from wild-eyed screeching about the evils of fluoridated water. And they make laws for us. Uff da.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.03.13

    Greg, I'm glad Rep. May works hard and has a sense of humor. But being a ranch lady does not entitle her to make stuff up. She looked at the state vet, a bunch of ag industry officials, and one South Dakota animal protection activist, and basically told them they were all lying. SB 46 is a South Dakota bill. It's a good bill (soon to be law). It does not fit in the HSUS-hysteria template. Why is that so hard to accept?

    Telling someone to acknowledge the truth is neither condescending nor "snipity".

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