Utah Rep. Proposes Jail Time for ‘Harassing’ Livestock with UAS

A Republican congressman in Utah has proposed a bill to deter unmanned aircraft system (UAS) pilots from “harassing” livestock.

According to the text of the legislation, H.B.0217, “a person is guilty of harassment of livestock if the person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly chases or otherwise disturbs the peace of livestock” via drones. (The bill also covers motorized vehicles/ATVs and dogs.)

Surprisingly, according to an Associated Press report, the Humane Society of the United States called the bill “redundant,” considering the state already has regulations in place pertaining to injuring/killing livestock. However, in another downside, the group also said the bill could “discourage members of the public from getting close enough to livestock to expose farmers’ mistreatment of their animals.”

However, the AP coverage notes that the bill has the support of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

The text of the bill adds that the violation would be a class B misdemeanor if it were a first offense or if the animals were not “seriously injured or killed”; however, it would be a class A misdemeanor if it were not the first offense, if the animals were “seriously injured or killed,” if there were more than $1,000 in damage to the livestock or to the livestock owner’s property, or if the animals were “displaced onto property that is not owned by the livestock’s owner.”

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