|Updated: 2/18 9:29 pm
||Published: 2/18 3:09 pm
A proposed bill in the Oklahoma legislature would make it legal for people to shoot and kill their animals if they believe that they are sick.
The bill's author said this would be a humane way to put the animal out of its misery; animal rights activists disagree.
Rep. Steve Martin from Bartlesville wrote this bill and said there really are two parts to it. While animal rights groups say they like one part of it, they have serious issues with the other half.
As Oklahoma law reads now, an animal cruelty charge is a felony.
Martin said his proposed House Bill 2613 would allow police to charge people with misdemeanors for lesser offenses of animal cruelty.
"Which will allow law enforcement the ability to intervene earlier in animal cruelty cases,” said Martin.
It's an idea animal rights group’s embrace, "If you get someone prosecuted for a misdemeanor it would be easier to gradually get them up to a felony if they continue because it would be on the record," said Lori Hall with the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals.
But House Bill 2613 would also allow for owners to shoot their animals with a gun if they believe the animal is sick and they would not be charged with animal cruelty.
The bill also says that owners would not need to go to a vet.
"I don't want people who are acting in good faith and sense of responsibility to their animals to risk felony prosecution. It just needs to be straightened out,” said Martin.
The Oklahoma Animal Alliance said it is inhumane.
"What if they get the dog enough to injure it, but runs off and it dies. Is that humane? Is that a humane way to kill a dog? Is to let it suffer?" asked Hall.
The group believes a vet should make the determination of how sick an animal is before it is euthanized.
Martin said people shoot their sick animals now anyway and that he is just trying to decriminalize the act.
The bill is being discussed in the judiciary committee this week.