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Anne Sterling, Published October 24 2012

Letter: Measure 5 foes try to mask merits

The opponents of Measure 5 can’t find any substantive reason to oppose felony penalties for malicious and intentional cruelty to dogs, cats, and horses. So instead of arguing on the merits, they just attack the Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal protection organization, which is a supporter of the measure.

Let’s set the record straight. The HSUS provided direct care for more than 76,000 animals in 2011, and 60,000 so far in 2012 – rescuing animals from puppy mills, dogfighting and cockfighting rings, cat hoarding and horse neglect cases and natural disasters, and providing spaying and neutering, veterinary treatment, and other hands-on services.

But we know we can’t rescue our way out of these problems. Our primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it happens, and before animals end up homeless and in distress. That’s why we need strong laws on the books to prevent the worst forms of cruelty to animals, like Measure 5.

Measure 5 treats the most extreme acts of cruelty to a dog, cat or horse – such as burning, crushing, suffocating, impaling, and dismembering animals – as more than just a slap on the wrist. And Measure 5 protects farmers, ranchers and hunters – it specifically would not apply to production agriculture, hunting, trapping, fishing, rodeos and other North Dakota traditions.

The HSUS proudly joins with local animal shelters, rescue groups, veterinarians, farmers and pet lovers across North Dakota urging a “yes” vote on Measure 5.

Sterling, Bloomington, Ind., is director of state affairs, Midwest Region, HSUS.