A bill to increase the maximum fines that could be imposed for cruelty to animals in Wyoming has been filed for the upcoming session of the Wyoming Legislature.

Senate File 33 is sponsored by Democratic State Sen. Mike Gierau of Jackson. It would increase the maximum fines for an animal cruelty conviction to $2,500 for a misdemeanor charge and up to $10,000 for a repeat or felony conviction. Current state law allows for a penalty of up to $750 for a misdemeanor and $5,000 for a repeat or felony conviction.

The bill would not change the current maximum prison sentences under state law, which range from six months to two years.

Gierau introduced a similar bill in 2018 when he was a member of the Wyoming House of Representatives., That bill failed to win introduction into the Wyoming House, even though a 32-27 majority of House members voted to consider it.

Because 2018 was a budget session of the legislature, non-budget items required a 2/3 majority vote for consideration. Because the upcoming 2019 is a general session, only a simple majority vote will be required for introduction of non-budget items, including the animal cruelty bill.

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