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Minnesota Legislature

Expanded service animal harm penalty

Published (5/13/2010)
By Mike Cook
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It is already a gross misdemeanor to intentionally cause bodily harm to a service animal.

Effective Aug. 1, 2010, a similar charge can be brought against someone who intentionally renders a service animal unable to perform its duties.

Sponsored by Rep. Mindy Greiling (DFL-Roseville) and Sen. D. Scott Dibble (DFL-Mpls), a new law requires a court to order mandatory restitution for the costs resulting from the criminal act, including the service animal user’s lack of income, veterinary expenses, transportation costs and service animal replacement or retraining. A victim can still seek civil damages.

The law, signed May 10 by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, also goes after people who train fighting animals by providing that “whoever possesses any device or substance with intent to use or permit the use of the device or substance to enhance an animal’s ability to fight is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.” The language comes from HF728/ SF800 sponsored by Rep. Joe Mullery (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Leo Foley (DFL-Coon Rapids).

HF3312/ SF2990*/CH292

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