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Legislators promote bills to protect wild animals from cruelty

At least three Wisconsin legislators are promoting bills to include wildlife under the state's animal cruelty laws.

Rep. Dean Kaufert of R-Neenah was the first to say he wanted to close a loophole. That was after two Waupaca County men escaped felony cruelty charges for allegedly running down deer with their snowmobiles.

Two judges said their activities could be considered hunting and hunters cannot be charged with animal cruelty.

Assembly Democrat Penny Bernard Schaber of Appleton is out with her own bill.

And Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Fort Atkinson, has also introduced a measure. He said ducks are killed by snowmobiles every other year on the Rock River in his home town, just like they were this past winter.

He said it's bad enough that the animals get killed but it's even worse that those responsible can get off the hook.

Jorgensen's bill would make killing wildlife a felony in certain cases and judges could order mental health treatments in cases with deeper concerns.