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Petitions in for animal cruelty measure

BISMARCK - Supporters of a ballot measure that would toughen animal cruelty laws have submitted petition signatures for approval to the North Dakota secretary of state's office.

BISMARCK - Supporters of a ballot measure that would toughen animal cruelty laws have submitted petition signatures for approval to the North Dakota secretary of state's office.

North Dakotans to Stop Animal Cruelty campaign manager Karen Thunshelle says 25,318 signatures were turned in Tuesday in Bismarck, one day ahead of the deadline. The measure needs 13,452 verified signatures to be placed on the November ballot.

"It feels great. It's been overwhelming. We had lots of support, and we're excited to enter the next phase of this campaign," Thunshelle said. She said that will involve continuing to "get the word out" about the measure.

The measure would make it a Class C felony in North Dakota to use 13 forms of cruelty against dogs, cats or horses. Currently, any acts of animal cruelty in the state are a misdemeanor.

It also would call for, at the court's discretion, psychological or psychiatric evaluation of a person found guilty of such crimes.

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Secretary of State Al Jaeger has about a month to certify the petitions.

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