In a welcome advancement for animal protection in Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed the Community and Pet Protection Act (HF737) into law, bolstering the state’s animal cruelty legislation.

This new law introduces stronger penalties for perpetrators who harm, mistreat, or neglect a companion animal.

The bill, unanimously approved by the House (97-0) and passed by the Senate (44-4), abolishes the exemption caretakers currently have from being charged with cruelty to their own companion animals and makes second-offense animal neglect and abuse a class D felony.

It also clarifies standards of care requirements for food, water, and shelter, and includes provisions for hygiene conditions, grooming, and veterinary care, while removing ambiguous language to ensure anyone who tortures a pet can be charged for their crime.

Finally, mental health assessments will now be required for juveniles with offenses punishable as an aggravated misdemeanor and class D felony.

“HF737 is a significant step forward for Iowa, a state that has long been ranked as one of the worst in the nation for animal protection laws,” commented Iowa Pet Alliance executive director Haley Anderson. “During such unprecedented and politically contentious times, HF737 has proven that protecting our pets is something the majority of Iowans and legislators can agree on, regardless of party.”

Lady Freethinker (LFT) applauds this step in the right direction for Iowa. Thank you to the nearly 32,000 people who signed LFT’s petition demanding stronger and more effective animal welfare legislation in in the state, and to all of the animal activists in Iowa fighting so hard for change.

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