Animal torture bill moving through Statehouse

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- House Bill 111 is aimed at protecting pets, or companion animals, as they are called in the legislation.

The proposal, which does not include livestock, also defines animal torture but makes it a felony only on the third offense.

That's frustrating for Canyon County Deputy Prosecutor Monica Morrison who is involved in some high profile animal cruelty cases.

"Of course, we'd like to see a first offense be a felony," Morrison said, "but we also recognize it's sometimes difficult to affect change.

Morrison says stronger deterrents are needed because animal cruelty often has links to other crimes of abuse.

"Animal cruelty is so often connected to other ills in our society," she said. "Such as domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse."

Advocates of the animal torture bill believe they have the support to carry the day in the House, but they're unsure how it would be received by the Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee.

The vote in the House is expected soon, after some minor editing of the bill.