Indiana gov poised to sign bill that would prevent animal abusers from owning pets

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) is likely to sign a bill that would stop convicted animal abusers from owning pets, The Indianapolis Star reported Saturday.

Both chambers of the Indiana legislature passed the bill to keep animal abusers from owning, keeping or training animals while they’re on parole or probation.

The Hill has reached out to Holcomb’s office for comment.

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Forty-five people were sentenced for animal cruelty between 2014 and 2017, according to state analysts. The majority — 80 percent — were placed on probation for an average of 326 days, the paper reported.

State Sen. Ron Alting (R), the bill's author, said the legislation aims to combat repeat offenders.

"It's common sense that, if a person is convicted of abusing an animal, then why in goodness sake should they be able to own an animal when they are on parole or probation? You know they will turn around and do the same thing,” Alting told the newspaper.

Sharon Dull, an employee and volunteer for animal organizations, echoed the sentiment during a Senate committee hearing earlier this year.

"Lack of empathy and compassion are common traits among animal abusers," Dull said. "They often view an animal as property and think it's their right to do whatever they please to the animal. They don't realize or they simply don't care that an animal feels pain just like humans do." 

State lawmakers have considering several similar bills in other states. 

A bill pending in South Carolina would ban animal abusers in the state from adopting new pets for half a decade. A second bill being considered would permanently ban abusers from owning pets.

Alting said he believes that the legal system only allows the legislature to ban convicted abusers from owning pets while they are still under court supervision, the newspaper noted.

"We wanted to do that," Alting said, "but we found out legally we could not."