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Published April 24, 2013, 11:42 AM

Bill makes animal cruelty a felony in North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Legislature has made cruelty to animals a felony.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Legislature has made cruelty to animals a felony.

North Dakota's House endorsed the measure 80-12 on Wednesday. The Senate passed the bill earlier. It now heads to Gov. Jack Dalrymple for his signature.

In cases of abuse, neglect and abandonment, a first offense would be a misdemeanor and a third within 10 years a felony.

So-called usual and customary practices used in livestock production, animal racing, rodeos, hunting and fishing are exempt from North Dakota's animal mistreatment laws.

Animal rights groups have said South Dakota and North Dakota were the only states without felony penalties for animal mistreatment.

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