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Gov. Reynolds signs bill to strengthen Iowa’s animal cruelty laws

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds arrives to update the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak at a news conference at the Statehouse, Thursday, June 18, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, Pool)
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds arrives to update the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak at a news conference at the Statehouse, Thursday, June 18, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, Pool)(Charlie Neibergall | AP)
Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 8:06 AM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - Gov. Reynolds signed the Community and Pet Protection Act into law on Monday, strengthening Iowa’s animal cruelty laws.

The Community and Pet Protection Act (HF737) passed the House unanimously (97-0) and passed the Senate (44-4) as well.

“HF737 is a significant step forward for Iowa, a state that has long been ranked as one of the worst in the nation for animal protection laws,” Iowa Pet Alliance executive director Haley Anderson said. “During such unprecedented and politically contentious times, HF737 has proven that protecting our pets is something the majority of Iowans and legislators can agree on, regardless of party.”

Notably, the bill strengthens Iowa Code Chapter 717B Injury to Animals Other Than Livestock. 

It increases criminal penalties for animal abuse and neglect, and removes a current owner exemption that bars a pet owner from being charged with animal abuse for abusing their own pet. It clarifies requirements for food, water, and shelter to allow law enforcement and prosecutors to more effectively address animal welfare concerns when they arise. 

The bill also adds requirements for sanitary conditions, grooming and veterinary care. And requires mental health evaluations for juveniles and offenses punishable as an aggravated misdemeanor or class “D” felony.

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