The North Dakota Senate has approved a negotiated version of the animal cruelty bill.
The main change to the bill involves the process law enforcement uses in the seizure of abused, neglected or abandoned animals.
The bill says an officer needs a search warrant to take an animal that has been abused or neglected but not if the officer finds an abandoned animal.
The bill toughens the current law dealing with the mistreatment of animals.
It makes the most severe abuse cases class C Felonies.
The bill also separates livestock animals from pets, such as dogs and cats.
Senator Joan Heckaman of New Rockford says, "So I ask all of you to approve this bill, drafted by North Dakotan's, for North Dakotan's and our North Dakota animals."
Senator Joe Miller of Park River says, "farm groups and interested parties have some broad grievance on the need for this bill. The bill in the current form is reasonable. The whole policy shift here is we're toughening the law and that has to be understood by this body. We want to prosecute people who abuse animals."
The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 43-3.
It now goes to the House for its final consideration.