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SD Senate panel looks at animal cruelty measure

PIERRE (AP) -- South Dakota lawmakers are taking a look at a measure that would make aggravated cruelty to dogs, cats and horses a felony.

The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee plans to hold a hearing on the bill Tuesday.

Animal rights groups have said South Dakota and North Dakota are the only states without felony penalties for animal mistreatment.

The bill would make it a felony carrying a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of $4,000 to mistreat, torture or be cruel to a dog, cat or horse.

The measure specifies that it does not apply to hunting, fishing, trapping, branding and any activities that are customary in farming and ranching.