DENVER (CBS4) – State lawmakers took up a bill involving animal abuse, specifically to stop violence against both animals and people. Researchers have dictated how some of the most violent offenders have histories of animal abuse.

(credit: CBS)

The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Alex Valdez (D-Denver), told committee members 43 percent of school shooters have a history of animal cruelty.

The FBI also identified animal cruelty as a warning sign for terrorists, but many offenders aren’t flagged until it’s too late.

The bill would mandate mental health evaluations for those convicted of animal cruelty and encourage judges to order treatment as part of the sentence.

(credit: CBS)

Some committee members worried about the impact on ranchers with livestock.

“Say somebody is convicted animal abuse to a dog, to their pet… is it your intent because I think as written would prevent them owning livestock because that would fall under animal of any kind. Is that your intent? If it’s not, would you be open to amendment to make that clear,” said State Rep. Dylan Roberts, (D) Eagle County.

State Rep. Alex Valdez (D-Denver) (credit: CBS)

“There are a lot incidents where repetitive animal cruelty is against horses or livestock, and so at some point along the line, I made decision that they’re all living beings. They all have the same right to not be abused, and if we have repeat crimes against livestock, then we have potentially somebody who shouldn’t be in care of animals,” said Valdez.

It would also bar anyone convicted of animal cruelty from owning any kind of animal for up to five years for a misdemeanor conviction or up to 10 years for a felony.

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