Georgia lawmakers toughen animal cruelty law

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By AP

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Updated: Thu, 20 Mar 2014 04:15:25 EST

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia lawmakers want to stiffen the penalties for the harshest cases of animal abuse and make it easier for prosecutors to pursue charges.

In the final hours of their annual session, the House gave final approval for a bill that would subject a two-time felony abuser to a maximum 10 years in prison, instead of five, plus a fine of up to $100,000. The first conviction would still carry a maximum sentence of five years, with fines capped at $15,000.

The proposed changes also tweak the standards for misdemeanor and felony charges, allowing prosecutors to focus on proving malice without necessarily proving intent to cause harm or death.

The bill now goes to Gov. Nathan Deal for his consideration.

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