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Julie Ellingson, Bismarck, Published July 22 2013

Letter: New ND animal law good change

North Dakotans take animal welfare seriously. We have a proud heritage of animal stewardship in our state. Farmers and ranchers, veterinarians, pet shelter providers, zookeepers and others work every day to ensure that animals receive proper care and treatment. In fact, it’s how many of us make our living. No one condones animal mistreatment.

The North Dakota Legislature made animal welfare a priority in the recent legislative session, overwhelmingly passing a landmark bill that we helped craft and that will help protect animals and animal stewards. An inordinate amount of time was committed to ensuring that the language was right. The result: a comprehensive rewrite of existing animal treatment laws that defines neglect, abandonment, abuse and cruelty; distinguishes between legitimate acts and acts of mistreatment; provides an array of penalties to match the punishment to the severity of the crime; and clarifies the roles of those who respond to mistreatment cases.

The new law will go into effect Aug. 1. It is an important piece of legislation that reflects North Dakota’s values and addresses concerns. Give it a chance.

Ellingson wrote on behalf of Dakota Zoo, Humane Society Fargo Moorhead, North Dakota Board of Animal Health, North Dakota Department of Agriculture, North Dakota Farmers Union, North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and North Dakota Veterinary Medical Association.