Sen. Sue Madison and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel are both ready to try again on legislation to make first offense animal cruelty a felony, something 40 other states have managed to accomplish. But the Arkansas Farm Bureau and the likes of Rep. Chris Thyer continue as roadblocks to moving the state out of the medieval era. Thyer's straw man yesterday:
"If I'm riding my horse in my pasture and it breaks its leg, and I shoot it to put it out of its misery, will I have violated the law?" asked Rep. Chris Thyer, D-Jonesboro. "You say no, but this proposal says I could be guilty of a felony if I kill a horse that could have survived with veterinary treatment.
"I can get a broken leg treated. It may cost more than I can afford, take months and leave the horse where I can't ever ride him again, but I can get the leg treated."
UPDATE: Rep. Steve Harrelson, on Under the Dome, says the bill's fate depends on committee assignment in the House. In Agri, a wholly owned Farm Bureau subsidiary, it's still dead, he says.
This means, of course, that the fate of animal cruelty legislation could be in the hands of House Speaker Robbie Wills. He'll make the committee assignment under House rules.