A bipartisan bill, petitioned by 38 state legislators, seeks to prohibit anyone convicted of animal cruel from owning, working with, or being near animals.
House Bill H.1703 states that a person convicted of cruelty to animals,
shall not harbor, own, possess, exercise control over, reside with, adopt, or foster an animal or engage in an occupation, whether paid or unpaid, or participate in a volunteer position at any establishment where animals are present for any length of time that the court deems reasonable for the protection of all animals
The prohibition period would be at least 5 years for the first conviction and 15 years for any subsequent conviction.
Upon a defendant’s conviction for animal cruelty, both the probation department and the animal control officer for the defendant’s city or town would be notified of the restriction.
A defendant subjected to such a restriction would have the right to petition the court once per year seeking a reduction in the amount of time that he or she must avoid animals.
According to the bill,
The petitioner shall have the burden of establishing by a preponderance of evidence all of the following: (i) the petitioner does not present a danger to animals; (ii) the petitioner has the ability to properly care for any and all animals the petitioner may harbor, own, possess, exercise control over, reside with, adopt, or foster, or with whom the petitioner may engage in an occupation, whether paid or unpaid, or with whom the petitioner may participate in a volunteer position at any establishment; and (iii) the petitioner has successfully completed relevant classes and counseling deemed sufficient by the court.
Violation of the restriction would be punishable by a fine up to $1,000 “for each animal held in unlawful ownership or possession.”