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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why are Ag entities for animal cruelty & when will they meet with SB 171 supporters?

“Monday, Ag United met with various industry groups to form a strategy for battling South Dakota Senate Bill 171, the animal cruelty legislation. The measure would up violations from a misdemeanor to a felony. 
Clear Lake area South Dakota pork producer and Ag United Board member Paul Brandt says they believe the present misdemeanor law is adequate.

Brandt says SB 171 backers are being influenced by HSUS and other activist groups whose goal is to eliminate animal agriculture.

He doesn’t think SB 171 supporters will be able to get their bill out of committee.  However, if they do, Ag United and others will join forces to defeat the bill in the full legislature.”

In reviewing this story, we were shocked by the constant misinformation presented.  SDFACT is an all-volunteer group of South Dakotans working to make South Dakota the 49th state in the country with felony-level penalties for the most malicious acts of cruelty against dogs, cats and horses. 

1)         Mr. Brandt is incorrect, current laws are not adequate unless you are for animal cruelty. He should read about recent South Dakota cases and explain how a slap on the wrist is appropriate for these violent acts.
2)         Ag United once claimed SDFACT was a front group for the HSUS and now they are claiming South Dakotans are “being influenced by HSUS and other activist groups whose goal is to eliminate animal agriculture”. We are smarter than that Mr. Brandt, we are South Dakotans who have been working to pass felony animal cruelty laws in SD for 5 years and we haven’t been influenced by any activist groups – we did our own research and know our pets and communities deserve this protection. This bill has nothing to do with animal agriculture, why do Ag entities care about SB 171?

3)         Ag United and Jim Krantz in the email string below claim they were not discussing SB 171 at their meeting on Monday, but Mr. Brandt via WNAX claims the meeting did happen.  Which is it and why won’t Ag entities come together with South Dakota animal advocates to pass a law that works for everyone?

From SDFACT volunteers:

Dear Mr. Dick:

Following up on the email we sent January 11, we are now asking for your organization’s support of SB 171.  We are volunteers with South Dakotans Fighting Animal Cruelty Together (SDFACT), a group of SD citizens working to make South Dakota the 49th state with felony level penalties for the most malicious acts of cruelty against dogs, cats and horses.

We assure you SDFACT is a grassroots movement to pass a 2013 felony companion animal cruelty law and nothing more. We have not received any financial assistance from the HSUS or any other national organization. We are not a front group for any animal rights group; we are South Dakotans looking to protect our pets and communities from violent offenders.

We wish to work with your organization to ensure SB 171 passes this session and does not threaten the livelihood of your members or animal agriculture in South Dakota. Can we speak at your meeting of agriculture groups on Monday in Pierre to discuss SB 171? Please help us pass a law that works for everyone in 2013.


Sara Parker                         Shari Kosel
Sioux Falls, SD                    Lead, SD

From Steve Dick Ag United:

Ms. Parker & Ms.  Kosel,

The agenda for the meeting was set by Jim Krantz with SDSU Extension Service.  Jim can be reached at

Steve Dick
Ag United for South Dakota

From Jim Krantz:

Steve, Sara, Shari,

Our meeting is at 2:00 this afternoon and we would not deny anyone the right to attend. However, our agenda does not include a discussion of the bills you referenced. Also, there will may not be sufficient time for everyone, including those who previously committed, to speak as we have some presentations and a conference call on the agenda. There will be time for comments from those attending on the material presented. Please call me on my cell if you have questions. 480-1056. Thanks.

From SDFACT volunteers:

WNAX's website says that Mike Held stated "South Dakota ag groups will be getting together in Pierre on Monday to talk about SB 171."

Is there another time that works for us to meet?

Unfortunately we have not received any response from South Dakota Ag United or any other Ag entities they represent who oppose SB 171, even though it does not affect animal agriculture in South Dakota.  We’ve reached out for their support on numerous occasions, as have many of you. We even asked to attend their meeting on Monday to discuss SB 171.  It appears South Dakota Ag groups intend to defeat this bill. We don’t have a paid lobbyist, we are volunteers with full time jobs and can’t stand in the lobbies of every Ag group in the state and force them to meet with us. 

If you are one of the South Dakotans who says this is a common sense bill that should pass this session, you aren’t alone. Let’s hope South Dakota Legislators will see the merits of SB 171 and not allow misinformation from Ag entities that represent 18% of the South Dakota population.  Please make sure your voice has been heard by members of the Senate Ag Committee and urge them to send SB 171 to the Senate floor. Watch for SB 171 to be added to the committee agenda and attend the public hearing in Pierre to let legislators know South Dakotans want felony level penalties for malicious acts of animal cruelty to protect our pets and communities from violent offenders.

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