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Kitty Sexton, Minot, N.D., Published October 10 2012

Letter: We have a moral responsibility

North Dakota and South Dakota are the only states in the country with no felony penalties for those who inflict cruelty on animals. As of right now, cruelty to animals in North Dakota is only a Class A misdemeanor with up to $2,000 in fines and up to one-year imprisonment.

For years, the North Dakota Legislature has refused to consider imposing stricter penalties for animal cruelty. Thanks to some hardworking individuals, this important issue is finally on the November ballot as Measure 5 and the people of North Dakota will have the opportunity to voice their opinion. Measure 5 would make it a Class C felony to commit the worst acts of cruelty to a dog, cat or horse, some of which include burning, crushing or impaling a pet.

This measure was crafted very carefully and would not affect our North Dakota heritage of hunting, fishing and farming. The farmers and ranchers who work with livestock would not be affected. Measure 5 only covers dogs, cats and horses and includes specific exemptions for agriculture, hunting and other common and traditional practices.

This is a measure that targets those who would torture your family pet and would punish these individuals with more than just a misdemeanor slap on the wrist. Opponents are afraid of this measure for a variety of reasons. Is this a perfect measure? Maybe not, but it’s a start, and it is a step in the right direction for our state.

By virtue of our humanity, we not only have a responsibility but also a moral obligation to care for animals. Please vote “yes” on Measure 5.