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State House OKs 'Susie's Law' to toughen cruelty penalty

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TWC News: State House OKs 'Susie's Law' to toughen cruelty penalty
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GREENSBORO – State lawmakers advanced a bill Tuesday that would give tougher penalties against animal abusers.

"Susie's law" is named for a Greensboro dog that was beaten and set on fire last summer. The dog recovered, but her abuser got only months in jail for the crime. This vote moves supporters one step closer to getting their bill turned into law.

“I am so excited and happy. This makes all of the hard work we've done worth it,” Susie's owner, Donna Lawrence said.

The state House judicial committee approved the bill almost unanimously.

“We love animals and we want to protect them, we have to be their voice because they can't speak for themselves,” Lawrence said.

The legislation would reclassify animal cruelty as a class F felony in North Carolina and allow stiffer penalties for people who abuse animals. Susie's abuser got sentenced to six to eight months in jail.

“I think it's a great day,” State Rep. Maggie Jeffus said. “We will have very shortly have a new law in North Carolina that will prevent the kind of abuse that this dog has gone through.”

Lawrence said the law is important to upholding justice.

“People who do something this horrific deserve jail time,” Lawrence said. "It's got nothing to do with emotions. It had to do with what's right and what wrong."

Supporters say they are happy with how quickly the bill has moved forward and expect it to become law shortly.

“It has a little ways to go, but I anticipate that before we end this session we will have a new law in North Carolina,” Jeffus said.

The House is expected to pass the bill on Thursday before sending it to the Senate for approval.

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