Iowa has the second worst animal protection laws of all 50 U.S. states, a point highlighted by a recent case where a groomer kicked a corgi at the Creature Comfort Veterinary Center in Iowa City, causing multiple rib fractures and bruising of the lungs.
The groomer, 22-year-old Lucas Van Orden V, told police he kicked the dog while grooming it, and he was initially charged with animal neglect, a simple misdemeanor. Since the initial charge, Johnson County Attorney's Office prosecutors added the charge of an aggravated misdemeanor.
Still, the incident left many advocates and dog owners wondering why the charge was not more severe.
On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer hosts a discussion examining what happened in the ongoing Iowa City case, as well as a more general discussion on why Iowa's laws regarding animal abuse are so weak.
Joining the conversation: Interim Iowa City Police Chief Troy Kelsay, Scott Wilson, animal welfare intervention coordinator at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, and Democratic state Senator Tony Bisignano, who proposed legislation that would have increased penalties for animal abuse, torture, cruelty, and neglect. The bill made it through the Senate, but died before the House could vote on it. Bisignano plans to bring the same proposal to the 2017 legislative session.
In the second half of the show, Kieffer hosts a conversation on a new proposal from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources that would limit the amount of turtles that could be trapped and harvested for commercial sale from Iowa's waterways. According to trappers, the proposal would threaten their business, while biologists are concerned that limitless trapping could deplete the state's turtle populations.