A bill to increase the maximum fines for animal cruelty under Wyoming law is scheduled to be considered during the upcoming legislative session.

House Bill 48 would raise the maximum fine for first-offense misdemeanor animal cruelty from the current $750 to $2,500. Under the bill, the fine for someone who has been convicted more than once of misdemeanor animal cruelty would increase from the current $5,000 to as much as $10,000.

The bill would not change the current potential jail sentences for misdemeanor animal cruelty, which would remain at six months for a first offense and up to a year for someone with more than one such conviction.

The proposal would also increase the highest possible fine for felony animal cruelty in Wyoming from the current $5,000 to as much as $10,000. Felony animal cruelty under Wyoming law includes such things as beating, torturing or mutilating an animal to death or so badly that euthanasia is needed to end the animal's suffering.

The bill would not change the current maximum jail sentence of up to two years for felony animal cruelty.

The legislation is being sponsored by Rep. Mike Gierau (D-Teton County).

House co-sponsors include Rep. Eric Barlow (R-Campbell/Converse counties), Rep. Stan Blake (D-Sweetwater County), Rep. Debbie Bovee (D-Natrona County), Rep. Landon Brown (R-Laramie County) and Rep. Cathy Connolly (D-Albany County).

Senate sponsors include Sen. Lisa Anselmi-Dalton (D-Sweetwater County) and Sen. Fred Baldwin (R-Lincoln/Sublette/Sweetwater/Uinta counties).

The legislature is scheduled to convene in a 20-day budget session on Feb. 12. Because it is a budget session, non-budget items will require a 2/3 majority vote to be introduced.

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