Arizona House approves livestock cruelty bill that reduces charges from felonies to misdemeanors

PHOENIX - The Arizona House of Representatives has approved a bill that aims to protect livestock animals but which had angered animal-rights activists.

The bill would change cruelty charges related to livestock animals from felonies to misdemeanors.

It also originally would have forced anyone to notify law enforcement of animal cruelty within five days of obtaining evidence. Animal-rights activists said that would hamper undercover investigations.

But an amendment by bill sponsor Republican Rep. Brenda Barton of Payson removes that requirement.

A prior provision that was scrapped by the amendment also would have given the state Department of Agriculture full authority to investigate animal-abuse claims on farms and other livestock operations.  Law enforcement opposed this.

The House approved the amended bill 33-24 on Monday. It will now go to the Senate.

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