We the Undersigned,
Respectfully urge you, the law makers of South Dakota, to take action on the very real problem of Animal Cruelty across the state. While many states have already adopted felony provisions for Animal Cruelty, South Dakota has not!
We urge you to make Animal Cruelty a Felony, with an appropriate maximum penalty; including jail time, fines and counseling for all offenders. Only in this way can there be real progress and change in the lives of animals in this state.
It is a known fact that many who abuse and murder animals move on to abuse and murder children as well as adults. "Murderers ... very often start out by killing and torturing animals as kids" according to Robert K. Ressler, who developed profiles of serial killers for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Acts of cruelty to animals deserve our attention; they can be the first sign of a violent pathology that includes human victims. These people who prey on the innocent must be held accountable for their actions, not let go with a simple slap on the wrist. Action must be taken to prevent this proven escalation of violence (according to a 1997 study done by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Northeastern University, animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people and four times more likely to commit property crimes than are individuals without a history of animal abuse). Making Animal Cruelty a felony that would be strictly enforced is the only solution.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and for listening to the concerns of the people, whom you represent.
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