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Steve Sulland, Grand Forks, Published August 22 2012

Letter: Animal cruelty measure best way to go to guarantee results

Robin Huebner did a very good job in depicting the divisiveness between the two main groups that have brought forth their plans to increase penalties for those who would mistreat animals in abhorrent ways (Forum, July 25). Unfortunately, unless residents support an initiated measure, I believe there will be no movement on the part of the Legislature to take a serious look at increasing penalties. They have proved in the past that they do not have the inclination to take into consideration the fact that an overwhelming majority of North Dakota residents want penalties increased.

This effort need not become synonymous with a political campaign, although it has all the markings of a hotly contested senatorial race. This should not be a “them or us” choice.

Over the years, residents have embraced initiated measures for many reasons. The initiated measure is truly government by the people and for the people.

If passed, the initiated measure will not hinder the Legislature from enhancing current laws that are in place to protect animals, nor will it prevent them from expanding the scope of the initiated measure. The very reason the wording of the initiated measure is narrow in scope is due to the backlash from previous attempts to increase penalties through the very legislative system that the Stockmen’s Association would have you believe is now ready and able to pass its agenda in the next session.

A more likely scenario is that the initiated measure is completely and thoroughly discredited with misleading information to the point that there is a seed of doubt planted in the minds of the voters. If the opponents are successful in their efforts to do that, you will likely see the tenor of their voices become a bit more subdued when the Legislature is called into session.

It would be a win-win for the opponents since they could claim to have saved North Dakota from the evil Humane Society of the United States, and when legislative efforts fail, they could simply say they did their best, but the “sausage factory” in Bismarck just couldn’t get the job done, again.

This time we have a choice. This time the people of North Dakota can implement their wishes with the initiated measure, or we can believe the scare tactics and watch proposed legislation wither on the vine while the perpetrators of animal cruelty breathe a sigh of relief, knowing the devastating effects of their crimes will have no detrimental effects to their lifestyles.