By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– The Senate Committee on Public Safety voted 4-1 to approve Senate Bill 1024, the Animal Cruelty and Violence Intervention Act of 2018, introduced by Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, as a way to address the undeniable link between animal abuse and violence towards humans.
Wilk went on to cite studies showing that 71 percent of domestic violence offenders also abused animals at some point and that over 70 percent of the most violent prison inmates had serious animal abuse in their histories.
Senate Bill 1024 will require offenders convicted under animal abuse crimes to undergo mandatory mental health assessments and, if deemed beneficial upon evaluation, to attend ongoing counseling. The bill also requires offenders to enroll in an animal offender education course that will teach them proper techniques for interacting with animals in a positive way.
The bill is supported by legislative, animal rights and law enforcement leaders including the Animal Legal Defense Fund and former Los Angeles County prosecutor in charge of animal crimes, Deborah Knaan whom along with Wilk are spearheading efforts to enact the legislation. Additional support has come from the California Police Chiefs Association, the Humane Society of the United States and at least a dozen additional animal rights and law enforcement organizations.
Senate Bill 1024 will now head to the Senate Committee on Appropriations where it will be heard in May before going to the Senate Floor for a full vote of the house.