Every state in the U.S. can now punish the worst cases of animal cruelty as a felony, thanks to a bill signed by South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Friday. The bill, which also sets felony penalties for cockfighting (now a felony in 41 states and a misdemeanor in the other nine), has been hailed by animal advocates.
"South Dakota now joins the rest of the nation in treating animal cruelty as the serious crime that it is," Darci Adams, South Dakota state director for The HSUS. "In addition to cracking down on the bloodsport of cockfighting, this new law imposes stricter punishment upon anyone who tortures an animal."