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Governor Signs Bi-Partisan Animal Cruelty Bill


Rep. Lynn, Sen. Wielechowski and Rep. Gatto worked together to expand current statute and strengthen penalties for animal cruelty

ANCHORAGE - This week, the Governor signed into law a bill that strengthens the penalties for animal cruelty. This bi-partisan legislation crafted by Representatives Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, Senator Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage and Rep. Carl Gatto, R-Palmer puts Alaska in line with 46 other states, leaving only 3 states without felony penalties for egregious acts of violence on animals.

The links between domestic violence and sexual assault and acts of animal cruelty are clear and well documented.

"This is a common-sense bill that protects both people and animals" said Representative Lynn, "and we worked together in a bipartisan effort to make a good bill better."

"Now that HB 6 has become law, prosecutors of violent crimes can use both assaultive behavior and animal cruelty as aggravating factors at sentencing, helping to ensure these violent crimes are harder to plea down," said Senator Wielechowski. "Finally violent crimes against animals will receive the harsher penalties they deserve, while better protecting victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes."

"Including animal cruelty as an aggravating factor at sentencing will help the many families who are afraid in their own home, yet also afraid to share the realities of the abuse they endure by giving prosecutors the tools they need to get abusers out of the house through more appropriate sentencing," said Representative Gatto.

Current statute already provides exemptions for animals killed or injured through scientific research, veterinary practice, animal husbandry, fishing, hunting, trapping, or other professionally accepted training and discipline standards such as those found in dog mushing.

For more information please contact Representative Bob Lynn or Patty Krueger at 907-269-0205; or Senator Wielechowski or Shelly Morgan at 907-269-0183.
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