North Dakota takes a major step in strengthen the punishment for those who hurt animals.
This morning, Secretary of State Al Jaeger received more than 25-thousand petition signatures supporting a ballot measure that would make it a felony crime to commit extreme cruelly against a dog, cat or horse.
North Dakota has laws against mistreating animals, but the stiffest punishment for breaking them is a misdemeanor, with a year in jail.
Campaign chairwoman Karen Thunshelle (THUN'-shell) says the proposed ballot measure would make cruelty against cats, dogs and horses a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
Karen Thunshelle / Campaign Chairwoman) "In North Dakota it is a felony to spray paint a building if you cause 2-thousand dollars in damage, but a mere misdemeanor to intentionally set a puppy on fire or crush a kitten or beat a horse to death."
A minimum of 13,500 signatures are needed to qualify for the November ballot.
Secretary of State Al Jaeger has a month to decide whether the petitions are sufficient.