North Dakota–again–ranks near the bottom of the Humane Society’s rankings for states with the weakest animal protection laws.
The state ranks 48th.
Glen Ullin veterinarian Dr. Marie Henderson has seen her fair share of animal abuse.
“They are not fed, not provided proper veterinary care, and some animals die in their care,” she said.
And abuse doesn’t stop at dogs and cats, but also with cattle and horses.
“They need food and nutritional needs, vitamins, minerals and things of that nature,” Dr. Henderson said. “People just don’t provide it.”
A number of animals, Dr. Henderson cares for are brought to her by founder of Furry Friends Rockin Rescue in Bismarck Julie Schirado.
“The time, the energy, the money for food and vet bills sets us back big time as a rescue to take in these dogs,” Schirado said.
Schirado said people don’t realize the amount of work it takes to re-home these animals.
“That psychological abuse can last a lifetime,” she said. “We’re just trying to take that 12 months to get that going to the point where someone life yourself can pull the [dog] out and say okay I think its good enough to where I can at least teach it to go outside.”
There’s been a few high-profile animal abuse cases in North Dakota in the past five years.
In those cases, a little under 600 dogs were rescued in five different cities across the state.
Humane Society’s North Dakota’s state director, T.J Jerke.
“HSUS humane state ranking looks at 93 policy ideas that range across the board from companion animals, animal fighting, and animal cruelty to egregious wildlife abuses to fur and trapping those sorts of things.”
Jerke said he doesn’t think everyone in North Dakota abuses animals and says he thinks majority take good care of their pets.
He said, but for those who don’t, their should be laws in place to make sure these cases never happen again.
“Making sure that if we address this issue we do it effective and efficiently. “
North Dakota has been in the bottom three or four of the Humane Society’s ranking for states with the weakest animal protection laws for years. One legislator is saying the ranking isn’t fair.
“We’re not hear to pass laws just to pass laws to just make us look good in some national poll. We are here to take care of the people in the state. “
Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner said he doesn’t believe the issue is big enough to make laws to resolve a problem, he feels doesn’t need fixed.
He said he believes North Dakota took a step in the right direction when they made animal cruelty a felony a few years ago.
“I think in North Dakota, [not] I think, I know. I grew up here. I grew up on a farm, he said. “I lived in a smaller community people take good care of their animals as a whole. “
As for T.J Jerke, he believes the issue needs to be talked about more.
“Figuring out what the root cause is of the problem and whether or not we need a new city ordnance, or state policy or new state law. “
He said once people change the way they look at animal abuse, the sooner North Dakota can move up in the rankings.
There is a bill (HB 1301) that’s been introduced in the house called the ‘Cost of Animal Care Bill’, which will put the cost of care of an animal seized on the owner and not the tax payer.
It will have a hearing in the next few weeks before the House Politcal subdivision committee.