Senate Bill 46, if passed, will make animal cruelty a class six felony in South Dakota, which is a maximum of two years in prison and a fine up to $4,000.
The bill is sponsored by the Senate Agricultural Committee.
Standard livestock-raising practices are not mistreatment under the proposal and will not be covered by the legislation. South Dakota is the only state that doesn't have felony laws for animal cruelty currently in place.
“South Dakota is one of the most permissive states related to animal cruelty. Current punishment does not fit the crime," Heidi Hunter with South Dakota FACT said.
Hunter also says this is a human rights issue, because there is a correlation between animal abuse and abuse of humans.