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Tougher penalties OK'd for NC animal cruelty law

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- Lawmakers have recommended raising penalties in North Carolina for people who maliciously abuse or kill animals.

A dog that had been beaten and burned in Greensboro was in the committee room as members approved the measure Tuesday.

The bill makes it a low-grade felony instead of a misdemeanor if a person intentionally starves an animal to death. A person would be guilty of the same felony if an animal is tortured, mutilated or disfigured.

The punishment would be up to eight months behind bars, but a judge could agree to community service or probation instead.

The bill was introduced after a man received probation for abusing a female pit-bull mix. The dog was later adopted and named Susie and was at the meeting with supporters.

The measure now goes to another committee.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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