SB 247 is an Act to “Make Various Corrections To Title 5 Of The Arkansas Code of 1987 Concerning Criminal Offenses.”
In an attempt to make an already badly flawed law, even worse, we strongly recommend that you contact your Arkansas State Representative to tell them to watch SB 247 and delete Sections 12 & 13 from that bill.
Section 12 of SB 247, the simple change from the word “and” to “or” grossly broadens the definition of the word “torture” which is already clearly defined by Arkansas law. The original definition of “torture” mandated “knowing” as a prerequisite to any of the actions listed within the definition and included specific actions that adversely affected animals. By the simple change in this tiny word, a farmer can be charged with a felony if one of his cows accidentally drowns in a river, or if a cat or dog is accidentally poisoned or burned, without the knowledge of the owner. This is a GROSS expansion of the original intent of this law.
It cannot be stated strongly enough that NO ARKANSAS ANIMAL OWNER OR BREEDER CONDONES ANIMAL CRUELTY. Arkansas law reflects our concerns for the responsible treatment of animals. But Arkansas legislators cannot continue to allow the efforts of ALARM special interests to continually chip away at the constitutional rights of Arkansas citizens to own and care for their animals. The law is already clear and does not need to be further clarified by details that are obviously against the animals and citizens in our state.
Section 13 of SB 247, is another attempt to destroy individuals and businesses by causing increased financial burdens on them and destroying their reputations. Just because a person offers a “no contest” or “guilty” plea or is found guilty of animal cruelty, that does not mean they have psychiatric or psychological problems. It also does not mean they have actually committed acts of animal cruelty. It could be that they got bad legal council or are truly innocent of this crime. By forcing any person to pay for a court-imposed “psychiatric or psychological evaluation, counseling or treatment” is just wrong! It is wrong for any one person, including a judge or group of citizens, without psychological or psychiatric training, to order another person to have this invasive action done, evaluation included. And to order that person to also pay for those imposed expenses should be an outrage for any citizen looking at this bill. Yet it happens all the time, under the guise of “law”. It’s time to stop this kind of financial terror on Arkansas citizens. If there is concern about the costs to Arkansas tax payers for this kind of evaluation or treatment, then perhaps that should alert everyone that judges and courts should not be entering the “psychiatric or psychological” arenas in the first place.