Local News

N.C. Senate votes to stiffen penalty for animal cruelty

Posted June 16, 2010 4:25 p.m. EDT
Updated June 16, 2010 6:38 p.m. EDT

— The state Senate on Wednesday gave final and unanimous approval to a bill that would increase the penalty – from a misdemeanor to a felony – for a person who intentionally starves an animal to death from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Torturing, mutilating or disfiguring an animal would also be a felony under the measure, called Susie's Law.

The bill was named after an 8-week-old puppy that was tortured and burned and left to die in Greensboro. The suspect in that case received probation, despite pleading guilty to felony animal cruelty.

"The bill before you today raises the bar," Sen. Don Vaughan, D-Guilford, said. "Susie has created an awareness that those who torture animals ought to receive jail time, and that's just what this bill does."

The bill, which must be ratified by the state House before Gov. Bev Perdue signs it into law, will become effective Dec. 1.

Susie is now a year old and living a happy, full life with her adoptive owner.