Animal Cruelty Statute Amendments

Some of the amendments to the State Animal Cruelty Statute that THLN has been involved with include:

  • A bill that increased the penalty for a third animal cruelty offense from a Class A misdemeanor to a state jail felony (SB 143, passed 1997).


  • A bill that increased the penalty for aggravated acts of animal cruelty from a Class A misdemeanor to a state jail felony, and from a state jail felony to a third degree felony on the third conviction (HB 653/SB 1724, passed 2001)


  • HB 2328 (passed 2007) makes it a felony to kill, administer poison to, or cause serious bodily injury to homeless dogs and feral cats. It also closed numerous loopholes in the existing Cruelty Statute, and lowered the mental state for proof of animal cruelty from intentional or knowingly to reckless, which makes proof of animal abuse much easier.  It also added the requirement of water to the list of required care elements for an animal in someone's custody.


  • THLN was instrumental in the passage of HB 963 (2011) which provides one common set of rules and requirements for appeals from all civil courts hearing cases involving the seizure and disposition of cruelly treated animals.  It also provides adequate security for restitution of the costs incurred by the government agency or non-profit organization in taking care of the animals during the litigation process and expedites the appeal process so that the animals are not held in limbo for extended periods of time.