JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A bill before the Missouri Legislature would allow judges to order people convicted of animal abuse to undergo treatments that could include psychiatric or psychological evaluations.
The bill proposed by Rep. Chrissy Sommer, a Republican from St. Charles, would require judges to order evaluations if the crime involves torture or mutilation of an animal, or if the person has previous animal abuse convictions.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports judges would have the option of ordering evaluations for first-time offenders, who would pay for the treatment.
Sommer told the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee on Monday that the bill addresses the mental health of people who abuse animals.
Bob Baker, executive director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, said the legislation could be useful in animal hoarding situations.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com