Here are several key measures spelled out in the new law, which was collected under the umbrella of House Bill 1238.
Defining abuse: Animal abuse is defined by grades of severity, from neglect at the low end of the scale to aggravated cruelty, when someone tortures an animal or causes serious bodily injury or death to an animal through neglect or cruelty.
Raising penalties: Penalties for animal cruelty have been increased, ranging from 90 days in jail and a $300 fine to seven years in jail and a $15,000 fine.
Mandatory forfeiture: If someone is convicted of abusing an animal, the animals that were victims of the abuse must be forfeited to an animal shelter.
Horses, too: Laws protecting dogs and cats are extended to protect horses as well.
Tethering stipulations: Dogs tethered outside must be provided with basic needs, including water and shade.
Dogs may not spend more than nine hours tethered in a 24-hour period. The maximum time limit is reduced to 30 minutes when the temperature exceeds 90 degrees or is below freezing.
A dog may not be secured with a tow or log chain or a choke, pinch, prong, or chain collar, and there may not be “excessive waste” in the tethered area.
Civil immunity: Veterinarians, veterinary technicians and humane society police officers cannot be slapped with frivolous lawsuits for reporting suspected cases of animal cruelty.