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DES MOINES, Iowa — With unanimous approval, improvements to Iowa’s animal cruelty laws are moving on to the state Senate.

The 96-0 vote in the Iowa House on HF737 Thursday, increases the maximum penalty for egregious acts of animal abuse. Those found guilty of previous animal abuse could be charged with felonies based on the changes.

The measure also clears up some confusing language in the law. The way it is currently written, the law does not apply to a person who abuses their own pet.

This bill changes the wording so that it is illegal to abuse any companion animal, regardless of who owns it.