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On Monday, an Iowa Senate subcommittee will consider a positive bill that clarifies that certain animal husbandry practices are not included in the definition of animal abuse.

Senate File 435 is a very short bill that addresses the current law, which defines animal abuse as any time “A…person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly acts to inflict injury, serious injury, or death on an animal by force, violence, or poisoning.”

When this law was being amended in 2020, concerns were raised that certain humane, accepted, and safe animal husbandry practices could be misconstrued as abuse.  To address these concerns, SF 435 exempts a “person who acts in a manner that is consistent with customary animal husbandry practices.”

These practices are not defined, but AKC appreciates the desire of the sponsor to differentiate between true animal abuse and cruelty, and practices (which could potentially include tail docking, dewclaw removal, etc.) that are perceived by some to be causing injury and pain, but are in fact protecting certain breeds from serious pain and injury later in life.

What You Can Do:

Those who wish to comment are encouraged to reach out to the subcommittee prior to the meeting on Monday, March 1:

Ken Rozenboom (Mahaska County)

Sen. Kevin Kinney (Johnson County)

Sen. Mark Costello (Mills County)

AKC Government Relations continues to monitor all dog-related measures in Iowa.  For more information, visit our Legislative Tracking Center at or contact AKC GR at