JUNEAU - The Alaska Legislature passed legislation Saturday that strengthens the penalties for animal cruelty by making the act of bestiality punishable by law.
This bi-partisan effort was spearheaded by Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, and Reps. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, and Carl Gatto, R-Palmer. Now only three states are without felony penalties for egregious acts of violence on animals.
"Thanks to the passage of this bill, prosecutors of violent crimes can now use both assaultive behavior and animal cruelty as aggravating factors at sentencing, helping to ensure these violent crimes are harder to plea down," Wielechowski said. "Finally, violent crimes against animals will receive the harsher penalties they deserve."
Added Lynn: "I'm pleased to see the results of our bi-partisan effort to protect the community and stop horrific crimes against animals. The passage of this legislation provides appropriate punishment for these sadistic people, stopping perpetrators before they go on to attack and sexually abuse small children and other vulnerable members of our community."
A current statute already provides exemptions for animals killed or injured through scientific research, veterinary practice, animal husbandry, fishing, hunting, trapping or other professionally accepted training and discipline standards such as those found in dog mushing.