Vanderburgh County has seen several animal hoarding cases in the last year. From the Hillview Hoarder where more than 60 dogs were rescued from Martha Crosley’s so called animal sanctuary to more than 30 cats being taken out of a home on Lodge Avenue in Evansville.
Indiana House Bill 1094 would crack down on animal hoarders, increasing the crime of animal cruelty from a misdemeanor to a felony.
“That’s really to give an appropriate sentence to these folks that continue to hurt these animals,” said State Rep. Ryan Hatfield, bill author. “We see animal cases come across and it’s just simply a misdemeanor and we know that these cases deserve much more.”
Similar bills have been introduced in the Indiana Statehouse but have failed to become law. Hatfield believes HB1094 is a broad, comprehensive bill that can get support from both sides. But, Hatfield says he’s having trouble getting the criminal code committee to even hear it.
“So that will continue to be a problem for us but we will work with committee members to make sure we eventually get the bill heard,” said Hatfield.
Animal advocates are hopeful this bill will become law. They have seen the first-hand effects and bear the costs of helping these animals, especially the ones in hoarding situations.
“The majority of the dogs are heart worm positive or they’re not up to date on shots or they’re not spayed or neutered,” said Missy Mosby, city councilwoman and animal advocate. “So we have all those plus any other types of sickness that they do have so you’re talking tens of thousands of dollars.”
Mosby says while HB1094 is not a final soltion to animal cruelty, it’s a step in the right direction.
“You know it’s like anything else everything’s not going to change the world,” said Mosby. “But each little step we take will make a huge improvement.”
For more information on HB1094 click here.