Laws on animal neglect could be changing

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Reported by: Phil Price
Updated: 8/06/2013 9:45 pm Published: 8/06/2013 9:33 pm

      The heat index in Tulsa has been high and temperatures have been breeching 100 degrees. It's days like these that Tulsa Animal Welfare Director Jean Leacher finds herself wishing there was more her office could do to protect neglected animals. She is hopeful, that day is right around the corner.
        Right now, in Oklahoma, animal abuse is an all or nothing case. Jean says, "In the state of Oklahoma animal cruelty is a felony.” She's saying nothing else can criminally be charged and this doesn't sit well with Jean and organizations like the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals. Jean says there is a need for change.
        This issue now has the attention of the Mayor’s office, who told me they are organizing a task force to review and provide input on current city ordinances. This is including and possibly adding a misdemeanor animal neglect charge. Lori Hall from Oklahoma Alliance for Animals said, "If we can charge a misdemeanor that will hopefully help prevent it from leading up to a full-fledged cruelty case,” Jean says, "gaw-lee it would be great to get the in-betweeners." 

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

jucylucy - 8/12/2013 3:25 PM
0 Votes
BTW...I live in OKC.

jucylucy - 8/12/2013 3:23 PM
0 Votes
I think that if the animal control center is called at 8 am about a sick dog that wondered into my yard, and still hasn't been picked up, even though i tied it up so it would be easier on them, by 3:30pm, should be considered animal neglect. I realize there are hundreds of cases every day. This animal is sick, and I have to keep my dog inside while I have her tied up. How long is a reasonable time to act?

ruth s - 8/7/2013 9:39 AM
0 Votes
There is already an Oklahoma law that allows agencies to address animal neglect or cruelty BEFORE a felony is committed. Oklahoma animal welfare laws include both felony and pre-felony actions that are designed to protect animals. They work when used. It is my hope that Tulsa will enforce existing laws, not simply make more complicated new ones. Oklahoma Title 21, Chapter 67 - Injuries to Animals, Section 1680.4 clearly spells out a process by which either a peace officer or animal control officer may address a deficit in the care for an animal that is not suffering from felony level neglect, but which requires upgrades in care. Under the above statute the officer may issue a written declaration called "Terms and Conditions" and give the owner a short period of time to comply with upgrades in shelter, feeding, hoof care, etc. This not only gives the owner or care giver an opportunity to correct the problem, but the officer gives a specified time in which the person must act, unlike the issuance of a ticket which may not be heard for weeks. Mandating immediate water may be better than writing a ticket that will be heard weeks later. After terms and conditions are issued, if the mandated changes are not made the statute spells out the process by which the animals are seized (the animals may be seized without terms and conditions if care is at a felony level when the officer enters the scene). Issuing terms and conditions upgrades the care of the animals, creates a history for the courts if the owner fails to act (making felony charges easier) and does not clog the courts as the care is changed. More complicated does not make it better. Tulsa City/County let's enforce an existing law that does precisely what this is supposed to do!
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