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Although each state has authored its own law, these statutes do share some common provisions. For example, most statutes make it an act of cruelty to "overdrive, overwork, or work an animal when it is unfit for labor." Other common provisions prohibit abandonment, poisoning, and failure to supply animals with food, water and shelter.

Since cruelty to animals is a statutory offense, whether a person's behavior constitutes cruelty depends upon the language of the statute. If a statute includes terms such as "intentionally," or "knowingly," the prosecution must show that the person committed the cruelty with intent. This is often difficult to prove and can lead to acquittal. If a statute does not include a qualifier such as "knowingly," then the offender is strictly liable for the crime without regard to his or her mental state.

Definition of Animal

Although a few states do not define the term "animal" in their anti-cruelty statutes, most states define it as every living creature except a human being. Some states, however, may exempt certain classes of animals from coverage under the statute. For example, Alaska's definition of animal does not include fish. Likewise, Delaware's statute does not include crustacea or molluska, and New Mexico's definition does not include insects or reptiles.

Exemptions

In addition to the exemption of whole classes of animals, some statutes exempt certain practices upon animals. Forty-seven states provide one or more exemption. Only Minnesota, Mississippi and Oklahoma provide no exemptions. The most common exemptions include animal husbandry, scientific research, veterinary practices, and practices involving wildlife such as hunting or predator control. Less common exemptions include rodeos, zoos, and animal training.

Unique Features of Cruelty Statutes

Several states have included unique features in their statutes. For example, only California's statute specifically addresses the treatment of elephants. Whereas most statutes exempt poultry from protection, Maine includes a specific section prohibiting cruelty to birds. Massachusetts and Montana prohibit racing. Pennsylvania's statute prohibits cropping dogs' ears by anyone other than a licensed veterinarian.

Penalties

Forty-one states and the District of Columbia provide felony-level penalties for certain types of cruelty violations including animal fighting. This is due, in part, to the well established fact that cruelty to animals may be the precursor to violent forms of behavior against humans. New laws passed in 2003 continue a trend toward stricter penalties.

Additional Court-Ordered Penalties

Some states have provisions within their animal cruelty statutes that allow judges to order additional conditions such as reimbursement for cost of animal care, community service, counseling, restitution, and seizure of the animal(s) being cruelly treated or neglected. Furthermore, in 36 states, courts may enjoin animal ownership during probation or may order defendants to forfeit their right to possess animals in the future. For example, under Minnesota's anticruelty statute, a court may:

(1) impose a probation period during which the person may not have ownership, custody, or control of a pet or companion animal;

(2) require periodic visits by an animal control officer;

(3) require performance of community service in a humane facility; or

(4) require behavioral counseling. Edit Text

The National Police and Security Officers Association of America (NPSOAA) is based in New Jersey
and both Endorses and Supports the:
 
New Jersey State SPCA
Law Enforcement Division
Humane Police Edit Text

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No One
Wants to Hear About
Animal Abuse...
Except Us!
 
If You See An Animal Being Mistreated, Call Us!
 
We Want to Hear About It
Because We Can Do Something About It!
 
Feeling Sorry For An Animal In Trouble
Is Just A Waste of Time!
 
Calling the
New Jersey State S.P.C.A.
Law Enforcement Division
Humane Police
Isn't!
 
1-800-582-5979
 
To Make Contact the
National Police and Security Officers
Association of America...
 
Click and Email npsoaa@aol.com Edit Text

 

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Everyone knows there is a ever-present risk of bites and scratches when working with animals, but here are some facts associated with them that you may find interesting……
 
*Approximately 800,000 dog bites and 500,000 cat bites are reported annually!

The GAUNTLET
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Email npsoaa@aol.com and Ask For GAUNTLET Details!

*Over 130 disease-causing microbes have been isolated from dog and cat bite wounds. Bacteria in the saliva can cause infections such as Pasteurella, Streptoccal, Staphyloccal, and even Capnocyto-phaga which can lead to Septicemia, or blood poisoning which, in some people can be fatal!
 
Available For Law Enforcement Officers, Humane Police and Anyone who works with or around animals:
 
THE GAUNTLET
 
and Ask for Complete GAUNTLET Details
and Ordering Instructions.

 

Animal Cruelty Statutes USA

New Jersey

N.J. REV. STAT. ANN. 4:22.15 et seq. -- last amended 2001

Definition of Animal: Includes the whole brute creation.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person: overdrives, overloads, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, carries in a cruel manner, abandons a sick or disabled animal, cruelly beats or otherwise abuses, needlessly mutilates, or kills a living animal. A person commits the crime of "aggravated cruelty" if the person purposely, knowingly, or recklessly: torments, tortures, maims, hangs, unnecessarily or cruelly beats, needlessly mutilates, or cruelly kills a living animal or creature; or causes or procures any such act be done.

  • Cruelty to animals
    • Disorderly persons offense.
    • $250 to $1000 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months.
  • "Aggravated cruelty" to animals
    • Felony crime of the fourth degree.
    • Fine up to $1,000.
    • Up to 18 months imprisonment.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Community service, psychological counseling, cost of care.

Unique Provisions: Provides for civil remedies.

Exemptions: Farming, exhibitions, equestrian teams, pet shops.


Alabama

ALA. CODE 13A-11-14 -- last amended 2000

Definition of Animal: Dog or cat shall mean any domesticated member of the dog or cat family.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Overloads, overdrives, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter, unnecessarily or cruelly beats, injures, mutilates, or causes the same to be done; intentionally tortures any dog or cat or skins a domestic dog or cat or offers for sale or exchange or offers to buy or exchange the fur, hide, or pelt of a domestic dog or cat.

  • Cruelty to a dog or cat.
    • Class A Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $1000
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months
  • Intentionally tortures any dog or cat.
    • Class C Felony
    • Fine up to $5000
    • Imprisonment up to 10 years

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Exemptions: Research, protection of life or property, training; shoots dog or cat with a BB gun for defecating/urinating on property.


Alaska

ALASKA STAT. 11.61.140 et seq. -- last amended 1998

Definition of Animal: A vertebrate living creature not a human being, but does not include fish.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Knowingly inflicts severe physical pain or suffering; or with criminal negligence fails to care for an animal and causes its death or severe pain or prolonged suffering.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Class A Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Neither

Other Sentencing Provisions: Community service, restitution.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, research, training, or veterinary care.


Arizona

ARIZ. REV. STAT. 13-2910 et seq. -- last amended 1999

Definition of Animal: A mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly subjects an animal to neglect or abandonment, fails to provide medical attention to prevent suffering or inflicts unnecessary physical injury, mistreatment, or death.

  • Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly subjects an animal to cruel treatment.
    • Class 1 Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $2500.
    • Imprisonment for 6 months.
  • Intentionally subjects any animal to cruel neglect, cruel mistreatment, or kills or harms a working or service animal.
    • Class 6 Felony
    • Fine up to $150,000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1.5 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Seizure

Other Sentencing Provisions: Community service, no animal ownership for 3 years, restitution.

Exemptions: Hunting, poisoning rodents or dogs killing or wounding livestock.


Arkansas

ARK. CODE ANN. 5-62-101 et seq. -- last amended 2001

Definition of Animal: Every living creature.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Knowingly abandons any animal, subjects it to cruel mistreatment or cruel neglect, or kills or injures an animal without the owner's consent.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Class A Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Seizure

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care, counseling.

Exemptions: Hunting, livestock protection.


California

CAL. PENAL CODE 597 et seq. -- last amended 1998

Definition of Animal: Every dumb creature.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, wounds or kills an animal. Overdrives, overloads, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, cruelly beats, mutilates, or cruelly kills any animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor or Felony (may be charged either way)
    • Fine up to $20,000 (for either)
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year (for either).

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Unique Provisions: Elephant abuse.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, research.


Colorado

COLO. REV. STAT. 18-9-202 et seq. -- last amended 2002

Definition of Animal: Any living dumb creature.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Knowingly or with criminal negligence overdrives, overloads, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beats, needlessly mutilates or kills, carries or confines in a cruel or reckless manner, fails to provide proper food, drink, or shelter, or abandons any animal. A person commits the crime of aggravated cruelty to animals if the person: knowingly or intentionally tortures or torments an animal that needlessly injures, mutilates, or kills an animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Class 1 Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 18 months.
  • Aggravated cruelty to animals.
    • Class 6 Felony
    • Fine up to $100,000.
    • Imprisonment for up to 18 months.
  • Second or subsequent offense of cruelty to animals.
    • Class 5 Felony
    • Fine up to $100,000.
    • Imprisonment for up to 3 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Neither

Other Sentencing Provisions: Anger management, psychological counseling, community service, restitution.

Exemptions: Farming, rodeos, veterinary care.


Connecticut

CONN. GEN. STAT. 53-247 et seq. -- last amended 1996

Definition of Animal: All brute creatures and birds.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Overdrives, overloads, overworks, tortures, deprives of necessary sustenance, mutilates or cruelly beats or kills or unjustifiably injures any animal, or fails to provide any confined animal with proper care such as wholesome air, food and water, or administers a poisonous or noxious drug, or abandons or carries in a cruel manner, or fights, baits or harasses an animal for the purpose of making it perform.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor or felony in statute.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • Intentionally and maliciously tortures or injures an animal.
    • Misdemeanor or felony in statute.
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 5 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Unique Provisions: Humane poultry transport.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, research, veterinary care.


Delaware

DEL. CODE ANN. tit. 11, 1325 et seq. -- last amended 1999

Definition of Animal: Does not include fish, crustacea or molluska.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Subjects any animal to cruel mistreatment or neglect, or kills an animal without the owner's consent, or cruelly or unnecessarily kills or injures any animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Class A Misdemeanor
    • $1000 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 years.
  • Intentional cruelty.
    • Class F Felony
    • $5000 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 3 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care, no animal ownership for 5 - 15 years.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, protection of life or property, research, veterinary care.


District of Columbia

D.C. CODE ANN. 22-801 et seq. -- last amended 1994

Definition of Animal: All living and sentient creatures (human beings excepted).

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Overdrives, overloads, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, cruelly beats, mutilates, or cruelly kills, or fails to provide proper food, drink, or shelter. Cruelly drives or works when unfit for labor, or cruelly abandons, or carries in a cruel manner. Fails to provide proper food or shelter for any sick or disabled animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Classification of crime defined in statute.
    • Fine up to $250.
    • Imprisonment up to 180 days.
  • Cruelty to animals resulting in serious bodily injury or death.
    • Felony.
    • Fine up to $25,000.
    • Imprisonment up to 5 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Seizure

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Exemptions: Research.


Florida

FLA. STAT. 828.12 et seq. -- last amended 1999

Definition of Animal: No.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Overloads, overdrives, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter, or unnecessarily mutilates or kills any animal, or carries in a cruel manner; intentionally commits an act which results in a cruel death, or the repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering; fails to supply a confined animal with sufficient food, water, or exercise, or abandons any animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • 1st Degree Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • Intentional cruelty.
    • 3rd Degree Felony
    • Fine up to $10,000.
    • Imprisonment up to 5 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Exemptions: Veterinary care.


Georgia

GA. CODE ANN. 16-12-4 et seq. -- last amended 2000

Definition of Animal: Shall not include any fish nor shall such term include any pest that might be exterminated.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Commits an act, omission, or neglect which causes unjustifiable physical pain, suffering, or death to any living animal; knowingly and maliciously causes death or physical harm to an animal by rendering part of such animal's body useless or by seriously disfiguring such animal.

  • Cruelty to animals
    • Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • 2nd or subsequent offense
    • Classification of crime defined in statute.
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • 2nd or subsequent offense resulting in death
    • Classification of crime defined in statute.
    • Fine up to $10,000.
    • Imprisonment 3 months to 1 year.
  • Aggravated Cruelty
    • Classification of crime defined in statute.
    • Fine up to $15,000.
    • Imprisonment 1 to 5 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Neither

Other Sentencing Provisions: No.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, protection of person or property, zoological, exhibition, trapping, pest control, veterinary care, research.


Hawaii

HAW. REV. STAT. 711-1109 et seq. -- last amended 1998

Definition of Animal: Undefined.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly overdrives, overloads, tortures, torments, cruelly beats or starves any animal, or deprives of necessary sustenance, or mutilates, poisons, or kills without need, or carries in a cruel or inhumane manner.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $2000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: No.

Exemptions: Research, or veterinary care.


Idaho

IDAHO CODE 25-3502 et seq. -- last amended 1996

Definition of Animal: Any vertebrate member of the animal kingdom, except man.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Is cruel to any animal, or causes or procures any animal to be cruelly treated, or abandons, or carries any animal in a cruel manner; cruelty means the intentional and malicious infliction of pain, physical suffering, injury or death upon an animal, or to maliciously kill, maim, wound, overdrive, overload, overwork, torture, torment, deprive of necessary sustenance, drink or shelter, cruelly beat, mutilate or cruelly kill an animal, or needlessly inflict unnecessary cruelty on an unfit animal, or to abandon, or confine an animal in unsanitary conditions, or fail to provide sustenance, water, or shelter.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor
    • $100 to $5000 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Exemptions: Exhibitions, farming, research, veterinary care, protection of life or property, predatory animals, diseased or disabled animals.


Illinois

ILL. COMP. STAT. ch. 510, para. 70/1 et seq. -- last amended 1986

Definition of Animal: Every living creature, domestic or wild, but does not include man.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Beats, cruelly treats, torments, starves, overworks, abandons, or otherwise commits any act that causes an animal to suffer serious injury or death.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Class C Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $1500.
    • Imprisonment up to 30 days.
  • Aggravated cruelty
    • Class A Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $2500.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • Animal torture.
    • Class 4 Felony.
    • Fine up to $25,000.
    • Imprisonment 1 year to 3 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care, counseling.

Unique Provisions: Defines owner's duties.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting.


Indiana

IND. CODE 35-46-3-1 et seq. -- last amended 1998

Definition of Animal: Does not include a human being.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Knowingly or intentionally tortures, beats, or mutilates a vertebrate animal.

  • Abandons or neglects animals
    • Class B Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 180 days.
  • Tortures or mutilates animals.
    • Class A Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • Previous, unrelated conviction under 35-46-3-3.
    • Class D Felony *
    • Fine up to $10,000.
    • An additional 1-1/2 years imprisonment.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Exemptions: Discipline, protection of person or property, prolonged suffering.


Iowa

IOWA CODE 717B.1 et seq. -- last amended 2000

Definition of Animal: A nonhuman vertebrate, but does not include livestock, any game, fur-bearing animal, fish, reptile, or amphibian.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Intentionally injures, maims, disfigures, or destroys an animal owned by another, in any manner, including intentional poisoning; inflicts upon the animal severe physical pain with a depraved or sadistic intent to cause prolonged suffering or death.

  • Animal neglect (negligently)
    • Simple Misdemeanor.
    • $50 to $500 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 30 days.
  • Animal neglect (intentionally)
    • Serious Misdemeanor.
    • $250 to $1500 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • Animal abuse
    • Aggravated Misdemeanor.
    • $500 to $5000 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 2 years.
  • Animal torture
    • Aggravated Misdemeanor.
    • $500 to $5000 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 2 years
  • 2nd or subsequent offense of animal torture
    • Class D Felony*.
    • $500 to $7500 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 5 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care, restitution.

Exemptions: Consent of owner, veterinary care, order by court, hunting/trapping, protection of person or property, farming, research.


Kansas

KAN. STAT. ANN. 21-4310 et seq. -- last amended 1996

Definition of Animal: Every living vertebrate except a human being.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Intentionally kills, injures, maims, tortures, mutilates, abandons, or fails to provide food, water, or shelter.

  • Cruelty to animals
    • Class A Nonperson Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $2500.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Exemptions: Farming, protection of property, research, rodeos, veterinary practices, hunting/trapping, diseased disabled animals.


Kentucky

KY. REV. STAT. ANN. 525.125, .130, .135 -- last amended 03/31/03

Definition of Animal: Every warm-blooded living creature except a human being. ( 446.010(2))

Statute Summary:

525.125: The following persons are guilty of cruelty to animals in the first degree whenever a four-legged animal is caused to fight for pleasure or profit:

  • The owner of the animal,
  • The owner of the property on which the fight is conducted if the owner knows of the fight, and
  • Anyone who participates in the organization of the fight.
  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Class D felony.
    • Fine of $1,000 to $10,000.
    • Imprisonment from 1 to 5 years.

525.130: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Intentionally or wantonly causes cruel or injurious mistreatment through abandonment, mutilation, beating, torturing (any animal other than a dog or cat [see 525.135]), tormenting, failing to provide adequate food, drink, space, or health care, or subjects any animal to cruel neglect, or kills any animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Class A Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $500.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.

525.135: A person is guilty of torture of a dog or cat when he/she:

Intentionally inflicts (or subjects) a dog or cat to extreme physical pain or injury, motivated by an intent to increase or prolong the pain of the animal.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Seizure

Other Sentencing Provisions: No.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, humane purposes, veterinary, agricultural, spaying, neutering, cosmetic purposes, sporting activities, animal research, in defense of self or another, in defense of a domestic animal, and animal or pest control.


Louisiana

LA. REV. STAT. ANN. 14:102.1 et seq. -- last amended 1997

Definition of Animal: Fowl shall not be defined as animals except Orders Psittaciformes and Passeriformes.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Intentionally or with criminal negligence tortures, maims, mutilates, overdrives, overloads, overworks, torments, cruelly beats, unjustifiably injures, fails to provide property food, drink, shelter, and veterinary care, abandons, confines without proper care, carries in a cruel manner, poisons or drugs, mistreats, or injures without the owner's permission.

  • Simple Cruelty.
    • Classification of crime defined in statute.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months.
  • Aggravated Cruelty.
    • Classification of crime defined in statute.
    • $5000 to $25,000 fine.
    • 1 to 10 years imprisonment.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Community service, cost of care.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, research, veterinary practices.


Maine

ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 17 1031 et seq. -- last amended 2001

Definition of Animal: Every living, sentient creature not a human being.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly kills or attempts to kill an animal or causes extreme physical pain to an animal, maliciously kills an animal, or intentionally or knowingly tortures an animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Class D Crime.
    • $500 to $5,000 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • Subsequent violation of cruelty to animals:
    • Class C Crime.
    • $1,000 to $10,000 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 5 years.
  • Aggravated cruelty to animals:
    • Class C Crime.
    • $1,000 to $10,000 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 5 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care, housing, counseling, cost of veterinary medical treatment, limited future ownership.

Unique Provisions: Prohibits cruelty to birds. Provides for a civil violation for cruelty to animals (7 4011)

Exemptions: Pest control, research, veterinary care.


Maryland

MD. CODE ANN. art. 27, 59 et seq. -- last amended 2001

Definition of Animal: No.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Overdrives, overloads, deprives of necessary sustenance, tortures, torments, or cruelly beats, inflicts unnecessary suffering or pain upon the animal, or fails to provide necessary veterinary care, proper drink, air, space, shelter, or protection from the weather; intentionally mutilates or cruelly kills an animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 90 days.
  • Aggravated cruelty to animals.
    • Felony
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 3 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care, counseling.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, pest elimination, training, veterinary care.


Massachusetts

MASS. GEN. LAWS ch. 272 77 et seq. and MASS. GEN. LAWS ch. 266 112 -- last amended 1989

Definition of Animal: No.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Overdrives, overloads, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, cruelly beats, mutilates or kills, uses in a cruel race or game, unnecessarily fails to provide any animal with proper food, drink, shelter, sanitary environment, or protection from the weather, or willfully abandons it, or carries it in a cruel manner, or knowingly and willfully authorizes or permits it to be subjected to unnecessary torture, suffering or cruelty of any kind.

  • Cruelty to animals
    • Defined in statute.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • Malicious killing of animals.
    • Defined in statute.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 5 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Unique Provisions: Prohibits animal races.

Exemptions: Use of bait in fishing.


Michigan

MICH. COMP. LAWS 750.50 et seq. -- last amended 1998

Definition of Animal: Vertebrates other than a human being.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Fails to provide with adequate care, cruelly drives, works, or beats, or carries in a cruel manner, or abandons, or willfully or negligently allows any animal, including a disabled one, to suffer unnecessary neglect, torture, or pain; willfully, maliciously and without just cause or excuse kills, tortures, mutilates, maims, or disfigures an animal or exposes an animal to poison.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 93 days.
  • 2nd violation of cruelty to animals
    • Felony
    • Fine up to $2000.
    • Imprisonment up to 2 years.
  • 3rd or subsequent violation of cruelty to animals.
    • Felony
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 4 years.
  • Willfully or maliciously killing or injuring an animal.
    • Felony
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 4 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Community service, cost of care, counseling, no future animal ownership (if a felony).

Unique Provisions: Defines tether length.

Exemptions: Farming, fishing, horse racing, hunting, pest control, research, zoos.


Minnesota

MINN STAT. 343.20 et seq. -- last amended 2001

Definition of Animal: Includes any animal owned, possessed by, cared for, or controlled by a person for the present or future enjoyment of that person or another as a pet or companion, or any stray pet or stray companion animal.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Overdrives, overloads, tortures, cruelly beats, neglects, unjustifiably injures, maims, mutilates, or kills any animal , or cruelly works an animal unfit for labor, or abandons, or deprives an animal of necessary food, water, or shelter.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $700.
    • Imprisonment up to 90 days.
  • 2nd or subsequent violation of cruelty to animals.
    • Gross Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $3000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • Intentional cruelty to animals resulting in bodily harm.
    • Gross Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $3000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • 2nd or subsequent violation of intentional cruelty to animals resulting in bodily harm
    • Defined by statute.
    • Fine up to $5,000.
    • Imprisonment up to 2 years.
  • Intentional cruelty to animals resulting in death or great bodily harm.
    • Defined by statute.
    • Fine up to $5,000.
    • Imprisonment up to 2 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care, psychological behavioral or other counseling, limited animal ownership.

Exemptions: None


Mississippi

MISS. CODE ANN. 97-41-1 et seq. -- last amended 1997

Definition of Animal: Any feline, exotic animal, canine, horse, mule, jack or jennet.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Overrides, overdrives, overloads, tortures, torments, unjustifiably injures, deprives of necessary sustenance, food, or drink, carries in a cruel manner, poisons, abandons, cruelly beats, needlessly mutilates, or kills any living creature.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months.
  • Malicious injury to dogs.
    • Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care, limited future ownership.

Unique Provisions: Livestock protection.

Exemptions: None


Missouri

MO. REV. STAT. 578.005 et seq. -- last amended 1998

Definition of Animal: Every living vertebrate except a human being.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Intentionally or purposely kills an animal, causes injury or suffering, or fails to provide adequate care.

  • Animal neglect and abandonment.
    • Class C Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $500.
    • Imprisonment up to 15 days.
  • Animal abuse.
    • Class A Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • Animal torture or mutilation
    • Class D Felony.
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 5 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, pest control, protection of person or property or livestock, research, rodeos, training, veterinary care, zoos.


Montana

MONT. CODE ANN. 45-8-209 et seq. -- last amended 1993

Definition of Animal: No.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Knowingly or negligently subjects an animal to mistreatment or neglect by overworking, beating, tormenting, injuring, killing, carrying in a cruel manner, failing to provide an animal with proper food, drink, shelter, or medical care, or abandoning a helpless animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Classification of crime defined in statute.
    • Fine up to $500.
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months.
  • 2nd or subsequent offense of cruelty to animals.
    • Classification of crime defined in statute.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 2 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Forfeiture

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care, limited future ownership.

Unique Provisions: Prohibits animal races.

Exemptions: Farming, research, humane euthanization.


Nebraska

NEB. REV. STAT. 28-1008 et seq. -- last amended 2002

Definition of Animal: Any vertebrate member of the animal kingdom.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Abandons, cruelly mistreats, or cruelly neglects an animal.

  • Abandonment or cruel neglect.
    • Class II Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months.
  • 2nd or subsequent offense of abandonment or cruel neglect.
    • Class I Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Class I Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • 2nd or subsequent offense of cruelty to animals.
    • Class IV Felony
    • Fine up to $10,000.
    • Imprisonment up to 5 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Seizure

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, research, rodeos, training, veterinary care, humane euthanization, pest control.


Nevada

NEV. REV. STAT. 574.050 et seq. -- last amended 2001

Definition of Animal: Does not include the human race, but includes every other living creature.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Overdrives, overloads, tortures, cruelly beats, unjustifiably injures, maims, mutilates, kills, administers a poisonous or noxious drug, deprives of or neglects to provide necessary sustenance, food or drink, or abandons an animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor
    • $200 to $1000 fine.
    • 2 days to 6 months imprisonment.
  • 2nd offense of cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor
    • $500 to $1000 fine.
    • 10 days - 6 months imprisonment.
  • 3rd or subsequent offense of cruelty to animals.
    • Category C Felony
    • Fine up to $10,000.
    • 1 year to 5 years imprisonment.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Community service, cost of care, psychiatric evaluation and counseling.

Unique Provisions: Poisoning horses, mules, or cattle is a Category C felony.

Exemptions: Rodeos, livestock shows, ranching, hunting, dangerous animals, farming, research.


New Hampshire

N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. 644:8 et seq. -- last amended 1999

Definition of Animal: A domestic animal, a household pet or a wild animal in captivity

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Negligently deprives any animal in his possession or custody of necessary care, sustenance or shelter; negligently beats, cruelly whips, tortures, mutilates or in any manner mistreats; negligently overdrives, overworks, overloads or otherwise abuses any animal intended for labor; negligently permits or causes any animal to be subjected to cruelty, inhumane treatment or unnecessary suffering, etc.; purposely beats, cruelly whips, tortures, or mutilates any animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $2000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • 2nd or subsequent offense of cruelty to animals.
    • Class B Felony
    • Fine up to $4000.
    • Imprisonment up to 7 years.
  • Cruelly whips, mutilates, tortures or beats an animal.
    • Class B Felony
    • Fine up to $4000.
    • Imprisonment up to 7 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Community service, cost of care, limited ownership of animals.

Exemptions: Veterinary care.


New Jersey

N.J. REV. STAT. ANN. 4:22.15 et seq. -- last amended 2001

Definition of Animal: Includes the whole brute creation.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person: overdrives, overloads, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, carries in a cruel manner, abandons a sick or disabled animal, cruelly beats or otherwise abuses, needlessly mutilates, or kills a living animal. A person commits the crime of "aggravated cruelty" if the person purposely, knowingly, or recklessly: torments, tortures, maims, hangs, unnecessarily or cruelly beats, needlessly mutilates, or cruelly kills a living animal or creature; or causes or procures any such act be done.

  • Cruelty to animals
    • Disorderly persons offense.
    • $250 to $1000 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months.
  • "Aggravated cruelty" to animals
    • Felony crime of the fourth degree.
    • Fine up to $1,000.
    • Up to 18 months imprisonment.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Community service, psychological counseling, cost of care.

Unique Provisions: Provides for civil remedies.

Exemptions: Farming, exhibitions, equestrian teams, pet shops.


New Mexico

N.M. STAT. ANN. 30-18-1 et seq. -- last amended 2001

Definition of Animal: Does not include insects or reptiles.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Negligently mistreats, injures, kills without lawful justification or torments, fails to provide necessary sustenance to an animal. Intentionally or maliciously tortures, mutilates, injures, or poisons an animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • 4th or subsequent offense of cruelty to animals.
    • 4th Degree Felony.
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • 18 months imprisonment.
  • Extreme cruelty to animals.
    • 4th Degree Felony.
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • 18 months imprisonment.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Animal cruelty prevention program, cost of care, counseling.

Exemptions: Farming, cockfighting, hunting, pest control, rodeos, veterinary care.


New York

N.Y. AGRIC. & MKTS LAW 350 et seq. -- last amended 1985

Definition of Animal: Every living creature except a human being.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Overdrives, overloads, deprives of necessary sustenance, food, or drink, abandons, carries in a cruel manner, poisons, tortures, cruelly beats or unjustifiably injures, maims, mutilates or kills any animal. With no justifiable purpose, intentionally kills or intentionally causes serious physical injury to a companion animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • Aggravated cruelty to animals.
    • Felony.
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 2 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Exemptions: Hunting, research, protection of persons.


North Carolina

N.C. GEN STAT. 14-360 et seq. -- last amended 1999

Definition of Animal: Every living vertebrate in the classes Amphibia, Reptilia, Aves, and Mammalia except human being.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Intentionally overdrives, overloads, wounds, injures, torments, kills, or deprives of necessary sustenance any animal; maliciously tortures, mutilates, maims, cruelly beats, disfigures, poisons, or kills any animal.

  • Cruelty to animals; Instigating cruelty to animals; conveying animals in a cruel manner
    • Class 1 Misdemeanor.
    • Fines are at the discretion of the court.
    • Imprisonment at the discretion of the court.
  • Maliciously tortures, mutilates, or cruelly beats an animal.
    • Class I Felony.
    • Fines are at the discretion of the court.
    • Imprisonment at the discretion of the court.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Community service, cost of care.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, research, veterinary care, protection of persons and property.


North Dakota

N.D. CENT. CODE 36-21.1-01 et seq. -- last amended 1999

Definition of Animal: Every living animal except the human race.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Overdrives, overloads, tortures, cruelly beats, neglects, carries in a cruel manner, administers a poisonous substance or noxious drug, or unjustifiably injures, maims, mutilates, or kills any animal or cruelly works it when unfit for labor; deprives any animal of necessary food, water, or shelter; keeps any animal in an enclosure without exercise or wholesome change of air; abandons any animal; allows a sick or disabled animal to lie in a public place more than 3 hours after notice; cages an animal for public display unless the cage is of solid material on 3 sides and the horizontal dimension of the cage is 4 times the length of the caged animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Class A Misdemeanor
    • $2000 fine.
    • 1 year imprisonment.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Exemptions: Fairs, zoos.


Ohio

OHIO REV. CODE ANN. 959.01 et seq. -- last amended 2002

Definition of Companion Animal: Any animal that is kept inside a residential dwelling and any dog or cat regardless of where it is kept. Companion animal does not include livestock or any wild animal.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Tortures, deprives of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beats, needlessly mutilates or kills, or confines without a sufficient quantity of good wholesome food and water, and access to shelter from wind, rain, snow and direct sunlight, or carries in a cruel manner.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • 2nd Degree Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $750.
    • Imprisonment up to 90 days.
  • Abandons an animal.
    • Minor Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $100.

No person shall knowingly torture, torment, needlessly mutilate or maim, cruelly beat, poison, needlessly kill, or commit an act of cruelty against a companion animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • 1st Degree Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months.
  • 2nd or subsequent offense of cruelty to animals.
    • 5th Degree Felony.
    • Fine up to $2500.
    • Imprisonment up to 12 months.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Exemptions: Farming, veterinary care.


Oklahoma

OKLA. STAT. TIT. 21 1685 et seq. -- last amended 1999

Definition of Animal: No.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Willfully or maliciously overdrives, overloads, carries in a cruel manner, unjustifiably administers any poisonous or noxious drug, tortures, destroys or kills, or cruelly beats or injures, maims or mutilates, any animal in captivity, whether wild or tame, whether belonging to himself or another, or deprives any animal of necessary food, drink or shelter, or abandons or allows to lie in a public place a diseased or disabled animal 1 hour after notice.

  • Cruelty to animals
    • Felony.
    • Fine up to $500.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year in county jail or up to 5 years in state penitentiary.
  • Abandons an animal., Cruel treatment in transit
    • Misdemeanor
    • $100 - $500 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Seizure

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Unique Provisions: Prohibits bear wrestling.

Exemptions: None


Oregon

OR. REV. STAT. 167.310 et seq. -- last amended 1985

Definition of Animal: Any nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian or fish.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to an animal;
Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes serious physical injury to an animal; or cruelly causes the death of an animal; maliciously kills an animal; or intentionally or knowingly tortures an animal; intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence fails to provide minimum care for an animal in the person's custody; intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence fails to provide minimum care for an animal in the person's custody, and such failure results in serious physical injury or death to the animal; intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence leaves an animal without providing for its continued care.

  • Animal abuse in the second degree.
    • Class B Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $2000.
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months.
  • Animal abuse in the first degree.
    • Class A Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • Aggravated animal abuse in the first degree.
    • Class C Felony.
    • Fine up to $100,000.
    • Imprisonment up to 5 years.
  • Animal neglect in the second degree.
    • Class B Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $2000.
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months.
  • Animal neglect in the first degree.
    • Class A Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • Animal abandonment
    • Class C Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 30 days.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Animal cruelty prevention program, cost of care, counseling.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, research, rodeos, veterinary care, commercially grown poultry,.


Pennsylvania

18 PA. CONS. STAT. 5511 -- last amended 1995

Definition of Animal: Domestic Animal: Any dog, cat, equine animal, bovine animal, sheep, goat or porcine animal.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Willfully and maliciously kills, maims or disfigures any domestic animal or domestic fowl, administers poison, harasses, annoys, injures, attempts to injure, molests or interferes with a dog guide; willfully and maliciously kills, maims or disfigures, or administers any poisonous substance to any zoo animal in captivity; willfully and maliciously kills, maims, mutilates, tortures or disfigures any dog or cat, or administers any poisonous substance to any dog or cat.

  • Cruelty to animals
    • Summary Offense.
    • $50 to $750 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 90 days
  • Killing, maiming or poisoning domestic animal or domestic fowl of another.
    • Second Degree Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $500.
  • Killing, maiming or poisoning zoo animals.
    • Third Degree Felony.
    • Fine up to $15,000.
    • Imprisonment up to 7 years.
  • Killing, maiming or poisoning dog or cat.
    • Second Degree Misdemeanor.
    • At least $1000 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 2 years.
  • A subsequent offense of killing, maiming or poisoning dog or cat.
    • Third Degree Felony.
    • Fine up to $15,000.
    • Imprisonment up to 7 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Unique Provisions: Cropping dogs' ears by licensed veterinarian only.

Exemptions: To protect other domestic animals or fowl, game laws, pest control, farming.


Rhode Island

R.I. GEN. LAWS 4-1-1 et seq. -- last amended 1994

Definition of Animal: Every living creature except a human being.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Overdrives, overloads, overworks, works an animal when it is unfit for labor, carries cruelly, abandons, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, cruelly beats, mutilates or cruelly kills any animal; cuts out the tongue or otherwise dismembers any animal, or maliciously kills, wounds, or administers poison to any animal.

  • Abandonment of animals, overwork, mistreatment, or failure to feed animals; unnecessary cruelty.
    • Classification of crime defined in statute.
    • $50 to $500 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 11 months.
  • Malicious injury or killing animals.
    • Classification of crime defined in statute.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 2 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Community service, cost of care, restitution.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting.


South Carolina

S.C. CODE ANN. 47-1-10 et seq. -- last amended 2000

Definition of Animal: All living vertebrate creatures except homo sapiens.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Knowingly or intentionally overloads, overdrives, overworks, ill-treats any animal, deprives any animal of necessary sustenance or shelter, inflicts unnecessary pain or suffering upon any animal, or causes these things to be done; tortures, torments, needlessly mutilates, cruelly kills, or inflicts excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering upon any animal or causes the acts to be done.

  • Cruelty to and ill treatment of animals (fines and imprisonment increase for subsequent offenses).
    • Misdemeanor.
    • $100 to $500 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 60 days.
  • Tortures, torments, cruelly kills an animal.
    • Felony.
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • 180 days to 5 years imprisonment.
  • Abandonment of animals.
    • Misdemeanor
    • $200 to $500 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 30 days.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Seizure

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Exemptions: Farming, training of animals, veterinary care, forestry, and silvacultural practices, hunting.


South Dakota

S.D. CODIFIED LAWS 40-1-1 et seq. -- last amended 1991

Definition of Animal: Any mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian or fish, except humans.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Causes an animal unnecessary, unjustifiable or unreasonable physical pain or suffering, including mutilation; fails to provide food, water, protection from the elements, adequate sanitation and facilities accepted for the type of animal; keeps any animal which past recovery or suffering or abandons the animal to die; administer or expose poison to an animal which belongs to another; kills or injures any animal of another; impounds any animal without proper care for more than 12 hours; inhumanely treats an animal.

  • Poison, intentionally kill, and inhumanely treat an animal.
    • Class 1 Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, protection of life, limb or property, research, veterinary care.


Tennessee

TENN. CODE ANN. 39-14-201 et seq. -- last amended 2002

Definition of Animal: A domesticated living creature or a wild creature previously captured.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:
intentionally or knowingly tortures, maims, grossly overworks, fails to provide necessary food, water, care or shelter for an animal, abandons, transports in a cruel manner, inflicts burns, cuts, lacerations, or other injuries or pain to any animal by any method including blistering compounds to the legs or hooves of horses.
A person commits the crime of aggravated cruelty to animals if the person:
intentionally kills or intentionally causes serious physical injury to a companion animal.

  • Cruelty to animals/Aggravated cruelty.
    • Class A Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $2500.
    • 11 months, 29 days to 30 years imprisonment.
  • Subsequent offense of aggravated cruelty to animals.
    • Class E Felony.
    • Fine up to $3,000.
    • Up to 6 years imprisonment.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Psychological counseling, cost of care, limited future animal ownership.

Unique Provisions: Trier of fact can award up to $4,000 in non-economic damages to a person whose companion animal is killed or sustained injury.

Exemptions: Farming, research, veterinary care, protection of life and property.


Texas

TEX. PENAL CODE ANN. 42.09 et seq. -- last amended 2001

Definition of Animal: A domesticated living creature and wild living creature previously captured.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Intentionally or knowingly tortures or seriously overworks, or fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, care or shelter, or abandons, or transports in a cruel manner, or kills, injures or administers poison, or uses as bait in a race, or trips a horse.

  • Fails to provide food, care, shelter; abandons animal; transports or confines animal in cruel manner; injures an animal; or seriously overworks an animal.
    • Class A Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $4000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • 3rd offense of fails to provide food, care, shelter; abandons animal; transports or confines animal in cruel manner; injures an animal; or seriously overworks an animal.
    • State Jail Felony
    • Fine up to $10,000.
    • 180 days to 2 years imprisonment.
  • Tortures; kills, seriously injures, or administers poison; causes an animal to fight; uses animal to lure; or trips an animal.
    • State Jail Felony.
    • Fine up to $10,000.
    • 180 days to 2 years imprisonment.
  • 3rd offense of Tortures; kills, seriously injures, or administers poison; causes an animal to fight; uses animal to lure; or trips an animal.
    • Felony of the Third Degree.
    • Fine up to $10,000.
    • 2 years to 10 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Neither

Other Sentencing Provisions: Counseling.

Exemptions: Property protection, research, fishing, hunting, trapping, wildlife control, animal husbandry.


Utah

UTAH CODE ANN. 76-9-301 et seq. -- last amended 1996

Definition of Animal: A live, nonhuman vertebrate creature.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence fails to provide necessary food, care, or shelter for an animal, or abandons, transports in a cruel manner, or injures an animal; tortures, administers poison, or kills an animal without legal privilege to do so.

  • Cruelty to animals (committed intentional or knowingly).
    • Class B Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months
  • Cruelty to animals (committed recklessly or with criminal negligence).
    • Class C Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $750.
    • Imprisonment up to 90 days.
  • Aggravated cruelty (committed intentional or knowingly).
    • Class A Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $2500
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • Aggravated cruelty (committed recklessly).
    • Class B Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months.
  • Aggravated cruelty (committed with criminal negligence).
    • Class C Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $750.
    • Imprisonment up to 90 days.

Note: Prior convictions allow for increased penalties.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care, counseling, limited future animal ownership.

Exemptions: Protection of hoofed and companion animals, hunting, veterinary care, research, humanely destroys an animal found suffering, training of animals.


Vermont

VT. STAT. ANN. tit. 13, 351 et seq. -- last amended 1997

Definition of Animal: All living sentient creatures not human beings.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Intentionally kills, overworks, overloads, tortures, abandons, administers poison to, cruelly beats or mutilates, tethers in an inhumane manner, deprives of food, water, rest or medical attention, or uses a live animal as bait in a game; intentionally kills by means causing undue pain or suffering.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Classification of crime defined in statute.
    • Fine up to $2000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • 2nd and subsequent offense of cruelty to animals.
    • Classification of crime defined in statute.
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 2 years.
  • Aggravated cruelty to animals.
    • Classification of crime defined in statute.
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 3 years.
  • 2nd and subsequent offense of aggravated cruelty to animals.
    • Classification of crime defined in statute.
    • Fine up to $7500.
    • Imprisonment up to 5 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Animal cruelty prevention program, cost of care, counseling, limited future animal ownership & inspections by humane officer.

Unique Provisions: Prohibits inhumane tethering.

Exemptions: Hunting, protection of person and other domestic animals, rabid domestic animals, farming, research, veterinary care, pest control.


Virginia

VA. CODE ANN. 3.1-796.122 et seq. -- last amended 1999

Definition of Animal: The word animal shall be construed to include birds and fowl.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Overrides, overdrives, overloads, tortures, ill-treats, abandons, willfully inflicts inhumane injury or pain, or cruelly or unnecessarily beats, maims, mutilates, or kills any animal; deprives any animal of necessary food, drink, shelter or emergency veterinary treatment; or instigates or furthers an act of cruelty; or carries in an inhumane manner; tortures, willfully inflicts inhumane injury or pain, or cruelly and unnecessarily beats, maims, mutilates or kills any animal, or instigates or furthers an act of cruelty.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Class 1 Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $2500.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • 2nd and subsequent offense of cruelty to animals.
    • Class 6 Felony.
    • Fine up to $2500.
  • Abandonment of an animal.
    • Class 3 Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $500.
    • 1 year to 5 years imprisonment.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Anger management or counseling, community service, cost of care.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, research.


Washington

WASH. REV. CODE 16.52.011 et seq. -- last amended 1994

Definition of Animal: Nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Intentionally inflicts substantial pain on, or causes physical injury to, or kills an animal by a means causing undue suffering; knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence inflicts unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal, poisons, cuts off more than 1/2 of the ear or ears of any domestic animal, or transports any animal in an unsafe manner; knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence fails to provide the animal with necessary food, water, shelter, rest, sanitation, ventilation, space, or medical attention and the animal suffers unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain; or abandons the animal.

  • Animal cruelty in the first degree.
    • Class C Felony.
    • Fine up to $10,000.
    • Imprisonment up to 5 years.
  • Animal cruelty in the second degree.
    • Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $1000.
    • Imprisonment up to 90 days.
  • Poisoning animals.
    • Gross Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year (judge may defer in grant 2 years probation).

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Animal cruelty prevention program, cost of care, limited future animal ownership.

Unique Provisions: Cutting off more than 1/2 of the ear of any domestic animal is guilty of a misdemeanor (excluding customary husbandry practices).

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, rodeos, fairs, animal exhibitions, pest control.


West Virginia

W. VA. CODE 61-8-19 et seq. -- last amended 2003

Definition of Animal: No.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Mistreats, abandons or withholds proper sustenance, including food, water, shelter or medical treatment necessary to sustain normal health or to end suffering, administers a controlled substance to any animal participating in any contest (other than a licensed vet), or abandons an animal to die.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor.
    • $100 to $1000 fine.
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months.
  • 2nd or subsequent violation of cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor.
    • $500 to $1000 fine.
    • 90 days to 1 year imprisonment.

A person is guilty of a felony if he/she:

Intentionally tortures or maliciously kills an animal, or causes, procures or authorizes any other person to torture or maliciously kill an animal. (For purposes of this subsection "torture" means an action taken for the primary purpose of inflicting pain.)

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Felony.
    • 1 to 3 years imprisonment.
    • $1,000 to $5,000.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Community service, cost of care, no animal ownership during probation, complete psychiatric evaluation (including cost for evaluation), prohibition of animal ownership for 5 years if misdemeanor and 15 years if felony.

Unique Provisions: Prohibits administration of controlled substances to alter performance.

Exemptions: Farming, hunting, training.


Wisconsin

WIS. STAT. 951.02 et seq. -- last amended 1993

Definition of Animal: No.

Statute Summary: No person may treat any animal, whether belonging to the person or another, in a cruel manner.

  • Mistreating animals.
    • Class A Misdemeanor.
    • Fine up to $10,000.
    • Imprisonment up to 9 months.
  • Intentional mistreatment of animals resulting in mutilation, disfigurement, or death of an animal.
    • Class E Felony.
    • Fine up to $10,000.
    • Imprisonment up to 2 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care, limited contact with animals.

Exemptions: Research, veterinary care.


Wyoming

WYO. STAT. 6-3-203 et seq. -- last amended 2003

Definition of Animal: No.

Statute Summary: A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

Knowingly overworks, overdrives, overloads, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beats, injures, mutilates, kills, carries an animal in a cruel manner, fails to provide proper food, drink or protection from the weather, abandons, fails to provide the animal with appropriate care in the case of serious illness or injury, is knowingly present at any place when an exhibition of fighting of fowls or dogs is occurring.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $750.
    • Imprisonment up to 6 months.
  • Aggravated cruelty to animals or 2nd or subsequent offense of cruelty to animals. Aggravated cruelty to animals occurs if someone trains or owns animals with the intent to engage them in fighting or allows the animals to fight on property he/she controls.
    • High Misdemeanor
    • Fine up to $5000.
    • Imprisonment up to 1 year.

A person commits a felony if he:

Knowingly and with intent to cause death, injury or undue suffering, cruelly beats, tortures, torments, injures or mutilates an animal resulting in the death or required euthanasia of the animal.

  • Cruelty to animals.
    • Felony.
    • Fine up to $5,000.
    • Imprisonment up to 2 years.

Forfeiture of Animal/Seizure: Both

Other Sentencing Provisions: Cost of care, limited future ownership of animals.

Exemptions: Farming, rodeos, use of dogs or raptors in hunting, use of dogs in livestock management, person humanely destroying an animals, training of dogs and raptors.


*Note: Fine/Imprisonment is based on first offense unless otherwise specified. Generally, the state will impose a stiffer penalty for a second or subsequent offense of animal cruelty.


States which have felony cruelty provisions

Forty-one states and the District of Columbia provide felony-level penalties for certain types of cruelty violations. States that have a felony cruelty provision are:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arizona
  3. California
  4. Colorado
  5. Connecticut
  6. Delaware
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Florida
  9. Georgia
  10. Illinois
  11. Indiana
  12. Iowa
  13. Kentucky
  14. Louisiana
  15. Maine
  16. Maryland
  17. Massachusetts
  18. Michigan
  19. Minnesota
  20. Missouri
  21. Montana
  22. Nebraska
  23. Nevada
  24. New Hampshire
  25. New Jersey
  26. New Mexico
  27. New York
  28. North Carolina
  29. Ohio
  30. Oklahoma
  31. Oregon
  32. Pennsylvania
  33. Rhode Island
  34. South Carolina
  35. Tennessee
  36. Texas
  37. Vermont
  38. Virginia
  39. Washington
  40. West Virginia
  41. Wisconsin
  42. Wyoming
(Revised 10/06/04)

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