Animal activists push for tougher animal cruelty laws

By Sarah Batista - bio l email

CONCORD, NC (WBTV) - A recent case of animal abuse has some stepping forward for stricter penalties.

Last week, a Concord man was charged with a misdemeanor after he was accused of stabbing his dog with a kitchen knife.

Some say that charge is not enough. The General Assembly passed "Susie's law" in June making animal cruelty a felony offense in North Carolina.

The law is named after a puppy that was burned and beaten in Greensboro. The puppy survived, and the owner was given probation sparking concerns from pet activists who believe the sentence was too light.

Patsy Beeker, owner of the animal shelter Kitty City, wishes crimes against animals would be taken more seriously.

"I'm not saying everyone needs to be locked up, but they need more help like counseling," said Beeker.

Beeker says she upset over a recent case of animal cruelty involving a poodle. Police say Robert Rourke,51, stabbed the dog in hopes of euthanizing it. Susie's law would apply to cases like that one. But Beeker worries the law wouldn't be enforced.

"It does no good to make laws, it does no good to make tickets if you can go to court and beat the rap," said Beeker.

Still, she thinks Susie's law is a step in the right direction, but whether it will help deter animal cruelty remains to be seen.

Animal Cruelty is currently considered a misdemeanor in North Carolina. Under the new law, the maximum sentence would be up to 10 months. It will take effect Dec 1.