Myths vs Facts
MYTH: Measure 5 hurts hunters and farmers.
FACT: Measure 5 only includes dogs, cats, and horses, so it does not have any impact on hunting, farming, or other North Dakota traditions. It also includes specific exemptions for hunting, trapping, fishing, agriculture, animal research, and protecting personal property or safety. These exemptions, including the exemption for agricultural practices, have been in the state cruelty code for years. The measure only affects “any individual who maliciously and intentionally burns, poisons, crushes, suffocates, impales, drowns, blinds, skins, beats to death, drags to death, exsanguinates, disembowels, or dismembers any living dog, cat, or horse”—not hunters, farmers, or anyone else.
MYTH: Measure 5 could make you a criminal if you brand your horse.
FACT: Measure 5 has a specific exemption for “marking of an animal for identification” which includes branding. Like the current cruelty code, the measure also has a broad exemption for such agricultural practices.
MYTH: Measure 5 is unnecessary because there have been hardly any animal cruelty cases here in North Dakota.
FACT: Any one case of malicious and intentional cruelty to a pet is one too many, and we need to have laws on the books that reflect our values as a society. Forty-eight states have felony penalties for animal cruelty, and North Dakota should join them in order to prevent this abuse. Some of the cases of extreme cruelty to pets in North Dakota include:
· In Grand Forks, a Chihuahua was beaten to death during a home invasion.
· In Fargo, a woman allegedly took her Lhasa Apso, Buddy, to a bar and swung him in the air by his collar and leash, nearly choking the dog to death.
· In Cass County, a man killed his cat, Momma, by slitting her throat with a box cutter. He was ordered to serve 40 hours of community service and pay $300 in court costs.
· In Bismarck, a man slammed a puppy on a counter, stepped on its head, and killed it, apparently to threaten his cousin’s girlfriend, the puppy’s owner.
MYTH: Measure 5 is being pushed by outside groups.
FACT: More than 25,000 North Dakota voters signed petitions to put Measure 5 on the ballot. The measure is supported by the MonDak Humane Society (Williston), Pet Project Humane Society (Dickinson), Triple H. Miniature Horse Rescue (Mandan), 4 Luv of Dogs Rescue (Fargo), Circle of Friends Humane Society (Grand Forks), Souris Valley Animal Shelter (Minot), Oreo's Animal Rescue (Dickinson), Jillian's Haven Animal Rescue (Bismarck), James River Humane Society (Jamestown), Prairie Paws Rescue (Jamestown), Humane Society of Richland and Wilkin Counties/Glenn Ista Shelter (Wahpeton), Adopt a Pet (Fargo) and scores of other North Dakota animal welfare groups, veterinarians, and businesses. It is also supported by national groups like The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund, and ASPCA, which have thousands of North Dakota members who want animals to be protected from cruelty and abuse.
MYTH: A North Dakota coalition has a better plan in place for animal cruelty laws.
FACT: The legislature has failed for years to address our weak animal cruelty laws, and last year refused to even study the issue. There are no guarantees that the politicians in Bismarck will pass any bill, and the executive vice president of the North Dakota Farm Bureau recently admitted that the legislature would have a full plate next year and, once again, may not be able to address our notoriously weak animal cruelty laws. We can’t wait for the politicians to have a change of heart, and our pets need critical protections now. We applaud the coalition’s effort to improve our animal cruelty laws, which is complementary to this measure. Voters are NOT facing an either/or choice.
MYTH: Measure 5 makes it harder for the legislature to strengthen the cruelty law.
FACT: Measure 5 has no effect on future efforts to enact additional animal cruelty laws. Measure 5
will enact a new felony statute for extreme cruelty to dogs, cats, and horses, but the existing misdemeanor animal cruelty statute will not be affected, and therefore could be strengthened at any time in the future with a simple majority vote of the legislature. A North Dakota attorney who reviewed this exact situation wrote, “Because Measure 5 would create a new section of the North Dakota Century Code (NDCC) that would not impact existing law, the passage of Measure 5 would not hamper the North Dakota Legislative Assembly’s ability to enact new, or change current, laws protecting animals. Article III, Section 8 would limit the Legislative Assembly only with respect to repealing or amending the specific NDCC section enacted through Measure 5, and such limitation could be overridden by the approval of two-thirds of the members of each house. In addition, Measure 5 would in no way restrict North Dakotans’ ability to enact or amend animal welfare laws—including the statute enacted by Measure 5—through the initiative and referendum process.” Additionally, a statewide vote in favor of Measure 5 will send a strong message to legislators that North Dakota voters care about preventing animal cruelty and want lawmakers to take this issue seriously.
MYTH: Measure 5 would make you a felon if you shoot an injured horse to euthanize it.
FACT: Measure 5 does not prohibit euthanasia by gunshot, and does not affect the killing of an animal unless it includes malicious and intentional cruelty. Only specific acts of cruelty such as beating or dragging an animal to death are prohibited by Measure 5. Humanely putting a horse down with a gunshot to the head is considered an acceptable form of euthanasia by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners.