The Humane Society of the United States praises the North Dakota legislature for passing H.B. 1188 — a bill to increase penalties for illegally killing wildlife in the state — and applauds Gov. John Hoeven for signing the bill into law last week.
H.B. 1188 creates the crime of "exploitation of wildlife" for repeat poaching. The exploitation of wildlife offense is applicable when a person assists in or commits five or more misdemeanor poaching offenses within a three-year period, or commits a misdemeanor offense after previously being convicted of seven or more misdemeanors within a 10-year period. Additionally, it provides for felony penalties for exploitation of wildlife charges.
Under previous law, a person accused of illegally poaching five or more animals in a three-year period would have only faced Class B misdemeanor charges, the same charge as a person accused of disorderly conduct for making unreasonable noise.
"Poaching is not only callous and irresponsible, it's also a serious crime that all too often garners only a slap on the wrist," said Lou Guyton, Central States regional director for The HSUS. "The Humane Society of the United States thanks legislators for sending a strong message that this kind of repeated abuse of wildlife will not be tolerated in the state of North Dakota."
- Wildlife officials estimate that for every wild animal killed legally, another is killed illegally — tens of millions of animals annually.
- Poachers kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways.
- The HSUS works with state wildlife agencies to offer rewards of $2,500 for information leading to arrest and conviction of suspected poachers.