SB 1303a, the animal cruelty bill sponsored by the state's cattle industry that creates the state's first felony penalty for animal cruelty - for a third aggravated offense - has been endorsed by the Senate with its House amendment. "They did make what I think is a good addition," said Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson. The House amendment adds felony penalties in certain cases for organized cockfighting. "We can't defend organized cockfighting, particularly where drugs and gaming is involved," Brackett said. The bill now moves to Gov. Butch Otter; Idaho currently is one of just three states with no felony penalties for animal cruelty.
The amended bill passed on a 24-11 vote, after several senators said they fear the livestock industry could face attacks in the future as a result. Earlier, the Senate had approved SB 1301 31-1; since then, the only change was the addition of the cockfighting clause, but seven former supporters opposed the bill today. The Senate has now recessed to 1:30.