A state lawmaker in Utah is sponsoring a bill to change animal cruelty laws to make it legal for people to kill an animal they have “reasonable belief” is feral.
The bill being proposed by Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, would allow the killing of feral animals, pests and rodents without penalty by methods including shooting, clubbing or decapitation. Currently, there is a law in Utah that protects feral animals from being killed in an inhumane manner, and animal cruelty is a felony in the state.
Oda has said that the proposed bill is intended to protect the public from feral animals such as cats and pigeons that can pose threats of infection, or harm to humans and domesticated animals. Killing these animals quickly is the best way to control them, according to the lawmaker.
"I want to protect people from getting in trouble for doing the right thing," Oda said.
Oda has said he believes that no-kill methods, such as relocation or catch, neuter and release are too expensive and not efficient.
Many animal advocate groups in Utah, including the Humane Society of Utah, have expressed outrage over the bill, calling it cruel and archaic, and have pledged to try to stop its passage.
Reportedly, Rep. Oda has been inundated with e-mails criticizing the bill, and has also been threatened with bodily harm since proposing the legislation.