The majority of mental health professionals would consider the recent theft, torture and mutilation of a Shetland pony in Rupert textbook behavior of a budding sociopath. Beginning in 2016, the FBI, in cooperation with the National Sheriffs Association, will classify animal abuse as a Class A felony previously reserved for assault, arson and murder. What law enforcement and physicians know is that animal torture may precede these violent crimes against society.
Under Section 25-3504 of Idaho Code, animal abuse only arises to a felony if the perpetrator has two prior convictions within the past 15 years, maximally punishable by a year in jail or a fine of $9,000. This is too little, too late. We must do better to protect our society by recognizing the serious, more immediate ramifications of animal abuse.
Legislators, are there any among you with the foresight to sponsor a bill making animal cruelty an unconditional felony in the state of Idaho? My time is at your disposal. I suspect the majority of your constituents will support that when they consider their own animals and the fate of that pony. I encourage them to contact you.
Leslie L. Nona, MD, Boise