Animal cruelty can be classified into two classes – deliberate cruelty and neglect. Neglect means that you have failed to sufficiently provide for your animals, shelter, medication, food, water and other essential care. Starving and failing to vaccinate your pets are examples of neglect. Deliberate cruelty refers to intentional physical harm, for example, maiming an animal. In the United States, animal cruelty is a felony and can result in jail time and monetary fines. However conviction of animal cruelty may differ depending on the jurisdiction.
What Does the Animal Cruelty Law Prohibit?
The animal cruelty law is primarily designed to safeguard domesticated pets (i.e. cats and dogs), farm animals (i.e. pigs, horses, goats and sheep) and wild animals. Under the law, you are prohibited from:
– Maliciously mutilating, wounding or torturing an animal. Intentional killing of an animal is also forbidden under this act.
– Intentionally overworking, tormenting, overdriving or depriving your animal of food. The law also bars you from beating or subjecting your animal to unnecessary suffering.
– Threatening or endangering different animal species. For instance, invading the habitat of protected birds, fish or mammals is a criminal offense.
There are also particular activities, which have over the years have been included in the animal cruelty law. For example, it is illegal to:
– Poison an animal.
– Leave an animal unattended to.
– Engage in dog fighting.
– Participate in cockfighting.
– Take part in bullfighting.
– Declaw an exotic wild cat.
– Sell puppies that are less than eight weeks old.
– Shorten the tail of a horse.
If you own a pet store and fail to properly care for the animals, you can be arrested and charged with a criminal offense. Failure to take proper measures when transporting animals, for example, cattle can result in you being charged for animal cruelty.
Penalties for Animal Cruelty
The penalties for animal cruelty will differ from one state to the other. However, jail sentences and fines are standard in most states. For example:
– You can be jailed for up to 3 years in a state prison and fined up to $20,000.00 in California if you are convicted of animal cruelty.
– Under the Animal Welfare Act in San Antonio, you can be fined a maximum of $50,000.00 or jailed for up to four years if you are found guilty of animal cruelty.
In most states, animal cruelty is a grave offense. Understanding the state laws, which govern animal cruelty, will enable you to avoid jail time and hefty fines.