The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association supports Rep. Joe Don McGaugh’s, R-39, legislation (HB 564) that changes laws regarding crimes of animal neglect and animal abuse. Specifically, the legislation creates an animal trespass offense that would be used to differentiate between incidents that are accidental in nature and those with malicious intent. The current animal neglect law has resulted in many livestock owners facing neglect and abuse charges for animals that jump fences and so forth.
H.B. 564 was approved by the House Agri-Business Committee this morning with no opposition. The bill now moves to the House Rules Committee for approval before moving to the House floor for additional discussion.
“This bill will help correct current animal neglect laws, which have resulted in many livestock owners facing neglect and abuse charges,” said MCA President Chuck Massengill. “An accident like a tree falling on a fence and livestock getting out or being hurt can result in an abuse or neglect charge. This current legislation would change that charge to trespassing.”
The bill would create the crime of animal trespass for any person with ownership or custody of an animal who knowingly fails to provide adequate control. The first conviction for animal trespass is an infraction and punishable by a fine of up to $200. A second or subsequent conviction is a class C misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment, a fine of up to $500, or both. The court would have the option to waive all fines for the first conviction if the person found guilty of animal trespass shows that adequate, permanent remedies for trespass have been made.
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