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Animal advocates want tougher penalties for abusers

Apr 13, 2021, 9:40 AM

Dixie the dog is pictured. She was the dog set on fire by Busico....

FILE: The family of a dog that police say was tortured says they had to put her down. Photo credit: Trista Dawn Heywood.

MAGNA, Utah — Salt Lake County Animal Services wants harsher criminal penalties for animal abusers, after what happened to a dog in Magna last month.

They are advocating for Dixie’s Law, named for the dog that had to be euthanized after reportedly being abused by the owner’s ex-boyfriend.

Animal abusers need tougher penalties, advocates say

Salt Lake County Animal Services director Talia Butler told the Deseret News this measure would allow for enhanced penalties for premeditated cases involving animal abusers.

“And ideally, where there is time served by that person for the crime they committed,” she said.

It would also allow all animals to be removed from a home, not just the abused animal, and require a mental health evaluation or anger management courses.

Currently, those convicted of third-degree felony animal cruelty could face up to five years in jail and $5,000 in fines. But animal advocates say often the suspects get neither of those things.

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Animal advocates want tougher penalties for abusers