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This week was a big week, as I was honored to be the floor manager of a bill that has been an issue in the legislature for many years. Every year I receive many emails from people concerned about their pets and looking for legislation to help protect them from harm. There are news articles frequently describing an incident where a person tortured, beat, or starved an animal. Pets have a special place in our hearts. Many of us grow up with a dog or a cat and can’t imagine anyone ever harming our animals. But after seeing what was happening in our state and reading so many messages expressing concern, it was clear something needed to be done. I want to make very clear that this bill has nothing to do with agriculture or farm animals. There has been a lot of miscommunication about this bill, but it only applies to companion animals, our pets, although I do not condone any animal abuse. House File 737, as amended in the Senate, raises penalties for animal abuse, animal neglect, and animal torture. It makes animal torture an aggravated misdemeanor on the first offense and a Class “D” felony on the second offense. It also creates a special sentence that is required after a person completes their criminal sentence, putting them on parole or probation for an additional 1-3 years. Thank you to everyone who has sent me a message or a phone call about this issue and everyone who came together to make sure we could get a bill passed through the Senate.

You mostly read when Republicans and Democrats fight however, this is an example when we all come together for a cause. Special thanks to all of my senate colleagues, Haley Anderson of Iowa Pet Alliance, Colin Grace and Tom Colvin of the Greater Des Moines Animal Rescue League. I’m proud we were able to pass this bill and I hope to see it head to the governor’s desk soon!

Author: Brad Zaun