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New bill would impose new penalties on animal abuse cases

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LINCOLN--A person who neglects or abandons an animal would face harsher consequences if lawmakers pass a bill in the Nebraska Legislature.

On Feb. 26, the Judiciary Committee heard LB 742, which aims to impose harsher sentences on individuals who cruelly neglect or abandon an animal.

The bill, introduced by Sen.Carol Blood of Bellevue, would amend three sections of two statutes.

“Anyone who knowingly or recklessly, or cruelly neglects or abandons an animal could be charged with a Class I demeanor,” Blood said.

When animals are killed because of abuse or neglect, the individual could be charged with a Class IV felony. The court also has the option to prohibit the individual from owning, possessing, or residing with any animals from five up to 15 years.

Finally, the bill would change the amount of time a county attorney has to file a motion involving these kinds of cases from seven to 10 days.

Nancy Hintz, president and CEO of the Nebraska Humane Society, testified in support of the bill.

In 2019, the Nebraska Humane Society received more than 34.000 animal-related calls and issued 126 citations for animal cruelty, Hintz said.