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Published February 06, 2012, 09:33 AM

Bill looks at animal abuse reports

LINCOLN, Neb. — Recently, I introduced LB915 in the Nebraska State Senate, which changes the statutes relating to reports of animal abuse. Current law requires certain employees to report criminal animal abuse, but LB915 expands this requirement to all persons.

By: Tyson Larson, Agweek

LINCOLN, Neb. — Recently, I introduced LB915 in the Nebraska State Senate, which changes the statutes relating to reports of animal abuse. Current law requires certain employees to report criminal animal abuse, but LB915 expands this requirement to all persons.

LB915 also requires that the report be made within 12 hours of the suspected abuse and that any documentation be turned over to authorities with the person’s report. The penalty for failing to report these incidents also is increased significantly. LB915 includes a new criminal offense, which criminalizes obtaining employment at an animal facility with the intent to disrupt the operations of the business. Animal facilities include any place an animal is maintained for agricultural production, exhibitions and education facilities and businesses that transport animals.

This bill is intended to protect agricultural businesses from attacks by animal activist groups, such as the Humane Society of the United States. By requiring reporting by all persons, a group such as HSUS cannot collect information about a potential animal abuse crime that has taken place and then keep it to use for its own propaganda, but rather would be required to submit this evidence to the appropriate authorities to investigate the abuse. This approach ensures that any perpetrators of animal abuse are properly investigated and that the welfare of the animals is the top priority, rather than fundraising or lobbying efforts by groups such as HSUS. Tactics such as infiltrating an agricultural business to disrupt its operations also cannot be allowed, and LB915 addresses that concern.

Editor’s Note: Larson represents District 40 in the Nebraska State Senate.

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