In 2010, an adopted dog named Cooney was brutally murdered by his owner. The man gutted Cooney with a box cutter. Under Nevada Law, the maximum penalty for first time animal abusers is only a misdemeanor – no matter how horrific the crime. The system does not allow judges to increase the penalty. A bill named in honor of Cooney is now working its way through the system. If passed, it will make it a category D felony to intentionally harm a companion animal. I wish it were for harm to any animal but at least it’s a start.
Cooney’s Bill also includes a provision that makes it illegal to separate puppies and kittens from their mothers before eight weeks of age. As a veterinarian, this provision thrills me. Puppies and kittens younger than eight weeks old require an enormous amount of care, more than the average person is equipped to provide. In addition, they learn a tremendous amount from their mother’s and littermates between six and eight weeks of age. I strongly believe puppies and kittens should not be taken from their mothers until after eight weeks.
If you live in Nevada, I urge you to contact your lawmakers and voice strong support for Cooney’s law. Animals depend on us, let’s not let them down. Thank you!
More information is available at Nevada Voters For Animals.