INDIANAPOLIS—On Tuesday, the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee approved Senate Bill (SB) 251, a proposal authored by State Senator John Broden (D-South Bend) that would increase the penalty for individuals who intentionally mutilate an animal with the objective of harassing a family or household member.

The measure adds the category of mutilation to existing law which stipulates that killing an animal as a means of harassment is a Level 6 felony, with a potential penalty of imprisonment for six months to 2.5 years.

“Animals bring joy and happiness to the lives of their owners,”  Sen. Broden said. “They should never have to be treated as a pawn in a domestic dispute.”

The original measure included language that would have made it a Level 6 felony if an individual’s pet entered another person’s property and attacked someone, causing serious bodily injury. Current Indiana law stipulates that only animal attacks that result in death are Level 6 felonies. This portion of the bill was removed in an amendment during the committee hearing.

The measure passed unanimously and now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.

Sen. Broden represents Senate District 10, which includes the cities of South Bend and Mishawaka, and portions of Portage, Penn, Centre and Clay townships in St. Joseph County. For more information on Sen. Broden, visit or call (219) 234-8050.