“The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but Can they suffer?” – Jeremy Bentham Awareness of animal cruelty and harsher sentences for those convicted has become increasingly important in the last few years. Many law schools now offer specific courses on the subject, all 50 states have animal cruelty felony provisions (most of felony provisions are for malicious, willful, or aggravated animal cruelty (language varies from state to state) when only four had such penalties in 1986, and the FBI just this year started collecting data on arrests for animal cruelty, which was previously lumped into the “other crimes” category.
The thing that we seem to not have an answer for, however, is the strong correlation between animal abuse and other crimes such as bullying, assault and murder. What is Animal Cruelty? Contrary to the first thought that would jump into many people’s heads, abuse is not just a violent act towards an animal; it is also about neglect and failing to provide for its general well-being. This covers an array of circumstances, including leaving an animal chained up outside during inclement weather or for long periods of time, hoarding, or failing to provide veterinary services as needed.
Dogs are the animals that suffer the most abuse. From fighting to the general neglect just mentioned, approximately 64 percent of reported cruelty involves dogs. They are the most common household pet, and unfortunately, household pets are the animals that suffer the most abuse. In correlation to other incidents of domestic violence, 71 percent of pet-owning women who were victims say that their attacker also targeted their pet.
is it always a crime to abuse an animal? While animal abuse is never O.K., it it isn’t always a crime and -even when it is – not all animals are protected (especially in laboratory testing). There is a lot of variance in animal abuse laws from state to state, particularly in terms of which animals are covered. For example, some states do not include fish or other sea creatures on their protected animals list, while others still, such as Nebraska, do not include livestock.
Animal Cruelty Laws by State State Animals Covered 1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense Psychological Testing State Animals Covered 1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense Psychological Testing Alabama Dog or cat that is domesticated member of family $1,000 fine and/or 6 months jail $3,000 fine and/or 1 year jail $15,000 fine and 10 years imprisonment No Alaska Vertebrate living creature, not including humans or fish $10,000 fine and/or 1 year prison $50,000 fine and/or 5 years prison N/A No Arizona Mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian $2,500 fine and/or 6 months prison $150,000 fine and/or 2 years prison N/A No Arkansas Vertebrate living creature, not including humans or fish $1,000-10,000 fine and/or 1-6 years prison $1,000-10,000 fine and/or 1-6 years prison $1,000-10,000 fine and/or 1-6 years prison Yes California Every dumb creature, endangered species $1,000-20,000 fine and/or 6 months-1 year jail $20,000 fine and/or 3 years jail N/A Yes Colorado Any living dumb creature, domesticated and livestock $1,000-5,000 fine and/or 18 months prison $1,000 fine and 3 years prison Escalating penalties Yes Connecticut All brute creatures and birds $1,000 fine and/or 1 year prison Up to 5 years prison N/A No Delaware Animals not including fish, crustacean or molluska $2,300 fine and/or 1 year prison Fine determined by court, 3 years prison N/A Yes Florida Every living dumb creature $500-5,000 fine and/or 60 days-1 year prison N/A N/A Yes if felony Georgia Animals not including fish or pests $1,000-15,000 fine and/or 1-10 years prison $5,000-100,000 fine and/or 1-10 years prison Escalating penalties Yes before sentencing Hawaii Animals except human $1-10,000 fine and/or 30 days-5 years prison N/A N/A No Idaho Any vertebrate member of animal kingdom except man $5,000 fine and/or 6 months-3 years prison $7,000 fine and/or 9 months jail $9,000 fine and/or 1 year jail No Illinois Animals except human $1,500-25,000 fine and 30 days-3 years prison $25,000 fine and 3-5 years prison N/A Yes Indiana Animals except human $5,000-10,000 fine and/or 1-3 years in prison N/A N/A Yes Iowa Vertebrates not including: humans, livestock, game, fur-bearing animals and fish unless owned by a person $625-6,250 fine and 30 days-2 years prison $7,500 fine and 5 years prison N/A Yes Kansas Living vertebrate except human $2,500 fine and/or 1 year jail $2,500 fine and/or 1 year prison N/A Yes Kentucky Warm blooded living creature except human $500 fine and/or 1 year prison $10,000 fine and 5 years prison N/A No Louisiana N/A $1,000 fine and 40 hrs.
community service and/or 1 year prison $25,000 fine and/or 10 years prison N/A Yes Maine Every living sentient creature not a human $2,000-10,000 fine and/or 1-5 years prison Escalating penalties N/A Yes Maryland Living creature except human $1,000 fine and/or 90 days prison $2,000-5,000 fine and/or 6 months-5 years prison N/A Yes Massachusetts N/A $5,000-10,000 fine and/or 7-10 years prison N/A N/A No Michigan Vertebrate other than human $1,000-2,000 fine and/or 93 days-1 year prison and/or 200-300 hrs.
community service $2,000 fine and/or 2 years prison and/or 300 hrs. community service $5,000 fine and/or 4 years prison and/or 500 hrs. community service Yes Minnesota Every living creature not a human $25-10,000 fine and/or 90 days-4 years prison N/A N/A Yes Mississippi Any feline, canine, horse, mule, jack, jennet or exotic animal $100-1,000 fine and/or 100 days-3 years prison/jail $5,000 fine and/or 5 years prison N/A Yes Missouri Every living vertebrate except human $500-1,000 fine and/or 15 days-1 year prison $1,000-5,000 fine and/or 6 months-4 years prison N/A Yes Montana N/A $1,000-2,500 fine and/or 1-2 years prison/jail $2,500 fine and/or 2 years prison N/A No Nebraska Any vertebrate member of animal kingdom except wild uncaptured creature or livestock $1,000 fine and/or 1 year prison $10,000 fine and/or 2-3 years prison and 12-18 months post-release supervision N/A No Nevada Every living creature not a human $1,000 fine and 6 months jail and 120 hrs.
community service $1,000 fine and 6 months jail and 200 hrs. community service $10,000 fine and 5 years prison Yes New Hampshire Domesticated animal, household pet or wild animal in captivity $2,000 fine and/or 1 year prison $4,000 fine and/or 7 years prison N/A No New Jersey The whole brute creation $2,000-10,000 fine and/or 6-18 months prison $10,000-15,000 fine and/or 18 months-5 years prison N/A Yes if juvenile New Mexico "Animal" does not include insects or reptiles $1,000 fine and/or 1 year jail $5,000 fine and/or 18 months prison N/A Yes New York Every living creature not a human $100-5,000 fine and/or 1-4 years prison N/A N/A No North Carolina "Animal" includes every living vertebrate in the classes Amphibia, Reptilia, Aves, and Mammalia except human beings $1,000 fine and/or 30 days-6 months prison N/A N/A No North Dakota N/A $3,000 fine and/or 1 year prison $3,000 fine and/or 1 year prison $10,000 fine and/or 5 years prison No Ohio Every living dumb creature $250-2,500 fine and/or 30 days-1 year jail or prison N/A N/A Yes Oklahoma Any mammal, bird, fish, reptile or invertebrate, including wild and domesticated species, other than a human being $250-5,000 fine and/or 1-5 years jail or prison N/A N/A No Oregon Any nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian or fish $1,250-125,000 fine and/or 30 days-5 years prison N/A N/A Yes Pennsylvania “Domestic animal” means any dog, cat, equine animal, bovine animal, sheep, goat or porcine animal.
“Domestic fowl” means any avis raised for food, hobby or sport $500-5,000 fine and/or 90 days-2 years prison $2,500-15,000 fine and/or 2-7 years prison N/A Yes Rhode Island Every living creature not a human $500-1,000 fine and/or 11 months-2 years prison N/A N/A Yes South Carolina living vertebrate creature except a homo sapien, "fowl" not covered $500-5,000 fine and/or 30 days-10 years prison N/A N/A No South Dakota Any mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian or fish, except humans $2,000-4,000 fine and/or 1-2 years jail or prison N/A N/A No Tennessee Domesticated living creature or a wild creature previously captured $50-3,000 fine and/or 30 days-6 years prison $3,000-25,000 fine and/or 6-30 years prison N/A Yes Texas “‘Animal’ means a domesticated living creature, including any stray or feral cat or dog, and a wild living creature previously captured,” not including “an uncaptured wild living creature or a livestock animal.
” $500-10,000 fine and 1-2 years jail $4,000-10,000 fine and 2-4 years jail $10,000 fine and 2 years jail Yes Utah Live, nonhuman vertebrate creature, not including those in captivity $750-5,000 fine and/or 90 days-5 years prison N/A N/A Yes Vermont All living sentient creatures not human $2,000-5,000 fine and/or 1-3 years prison $5,000-7,500 fine and/or 2-5 years prison N/A Yes Virginia Any nonhuman vertebrate species except fish $250-2,500 fine and/or 6 months-1 year jail $500-2,500 fine and/or 1-10 years prison N/A Yes Washington Every creature, either alive or dead, other than a human being $150-10,000 fine and/or 60 days-5 years jail or prison N/A N/A Yes West Virginia N/A $500-2,000 fine and/or 3-6 months jail $1,000-5,000 fine and/or 6 months-10 years prison N/A Yes Wisconsin Every living warm-blooded creature, except a human being, reptile, or amphibian $500-10,000 fine and/or 9-42 months prison N/A N/A No Wyoming Livestock, animal used for food, animal used for work $750-5,000 fine and/or 6 months-2 years prison $5,000 fine and/or 1 year prison N/A No *Notes regarding laws in table: In some states, penalties vary greatly.
Some states do not have escalating penalties based on prior convictions, but rather they base it on the stipulations listed here: which animal was subjected to cruelty, how harsh the cruelty was, whether there was intent to sell, whether classified as misdemeanor or felony, how valuable the court deems the animal, and whether it lives or dies. All punishments regard maximum penalties. On the flip side of this, there are states that have some interesting provisions that invoke harsh penalties.
For example, in Arizona, even just being present at a dogfight is a Class 6 Felony, which carries anywhere from a six month to a six year sentence, depending on priors. Penalties can also be more harsh if they happen in the presence of a child. In relation to this, 75 percent of animal abuse incidents occurred in the presence of women and/or children. When one considers that a child who witnesses this is three times more likely to be violent towards an animal compared to those in a peaceful household, these numbers become even more alarming.
Another area in which the states have vastly different laws is forfeiture; that is, what happens to the animal after it has been abused? What happens to the abuser, and above all, who gets to decide all of these things? In most cases, the court decides what will happen to the pets of abusers. More often than not, these pets are part of a family, and a lot of states allow for other family members, many times victims themselves, to claim exclusive custody of the pet.
At the same time, the abuser is not allowed to come within a certain distance of that pet. Restrictions for abusers can also include not owning an animal of any kind for a certain amount of time, and not coming within a certain distance of any place where pets are often found. Language is intentionally left vague in some states, as this allows judges to approach each case uniquely and make a recommendation that specifically applies to the case.
Not all states are as proactive towards preventing repeats of incidents. The authority of law enforcement to seize and otherwise protect animals they suspect are suffering abuse could be crucial to preventing further incidents. For example, Wyoming only has specific protections for livestock in this regard, not domestic pets. But laws change constantly, and they for the most part have been moving in the proper direction.
Recently, Nebraska imposed laws that allows for authorities to investigate, obtain search warrants and arrest those they suspect of animal cruelty. This is important because it helps prevent further crimes of violence from happening. It’s startling how often animal abuse coincides with domestic violence, but perhaps even more alarming is that cruelty towards animals serves as a prognosticator of such tragic events.
Research shows that those who abuse animals are five times more likely to commit a violent act against another person. Correlation Between Animal Cruelty and Domestic Abuse A lot of studies show that animal abuse is what’s known as an indicator crime. One survey says that a history of animal abuse was found in 30 percent of convicted child molesters and 36 percent of domestic violence offenders.
The propensity of animal abuse and domestic violence is particularly troubling, because 64 percent of homes with children under the age of six have a pet. Research has shown that 48 percent of convicted rapists admit to committing acts of cruelty against animals during their childhood. This is one reason why psychological testing could be so important. Currently, 3 of the 5 states ranked as the worst for animal protection by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) do not require psychological testing be done on those arrested or convicted of animal cruelty.
Overall, there are 19 states that fail to have this requirement. It is very noticeable how strong the connection is between the worst states and those without psychological testing. There are efforts being made to curb the frequency of these tragic circumstances. One of those efforts is that more than half the states now include protective order legislation for animals in domestic violence situations.
This means that a victim of such violence can be guaranteed that any domestic pets in the household will be given the exact same protections under law that the human gets. It’s extremely important that such a provision exist, because studies show that domestic violence victims will sometimes stay in the abusive relationship because they fear for the pet’s safety. While no one can argue the benefits of a program which allow ex-convicts, or sometimes even those currently behind bars, to use and own therapy dogs, these need to be examined closely from one person to the next.
Not allowing a convict with a violent past to own a pet is another thing that could help. Research shows that up to 70 percent of animal abusers have a criminal record, most with a violent act towards humans. One thing that could also help curtail, not just animal abuse but it’s happening alongside domestic violence, is all states requiring abuse be reported by veterinarians. Currently there are 15 states without specific provisions that call for said reporting, and allowing this could not only alleviate some of the burden from the victims themselves, but bring them peace of mind in knowing that there are many upon whom they can rely in a time of crisis.
See Also: Animal Jam Free Chat
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Out of a jungle of rain-washed pines and junipers spearing the recent blueness from the Florida sky, ran a small, tawny-haired boy. His bare feet, extending from his overalled legs, crackled in opposition to the fallen palmettos. He leaped in to the air, flinging his arms towards a flock of white doves circling above him.
Statute Text: Link to Humane Care for Equines Act Link to Georgia Animal Protection Act Title 16. Crimes and Offenses. Chapter 12. Offenses Against Public Health and Morals. Article 1. General Provisions. § 16-12-4 . Cruelty to animals Title 16. Crimes and Offenses. Chapter 6. Sexual Offenses. § 16-6-6 . Bestiality Title 16. Crimes and Offenses. Chapter 12. Offenses Against Public Health and Morals.
Article 1. General Provisions. § 16-12-4. Cruelty to animals (a) As used in this Code section, the term: (1) “Animal” shall not include any fish nor shall such term include any pest that might be exterminated or removed from a business, residence, or other structure. (2) “Malice” means: (A) An actual intent, which may be shown by the circumstances connected to the act, to cause the particular harm produced without justification or excuse; or (B) The wanton and willful doing of an act with an awareness of a plain and strong likelihood that a particular harm may result.
(b) A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals when he or she: (1) Causes physical pain, suffering, or death to an animal by any unjustifiable act or omission; or (2) Having intentionally exercised custody, control, possession, or ownership of an animal, fails to provide to such animal adequate food, water, sanitary conditions, or ventilation that is consistent with what a reasonable person of ordinary knowledge would believe is the normal requirement and feeding habit for such animal's size, species, breed, age, and physical condition.
(c) Any person convicted of the offense of cruelty to animals shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; provided, however, that any person who has had a prior adjudication of guilt for the offense of cruelty to animals or aggravated cruelty to animals, or an adjudication of guilt for the commission of an offense under the laws of any other state, territory, possession, or dominion of the United States, or of any foreign nation recognized by the United States, which would constitute the offense of cruelty to animals or aggravated cruelty to animals if committed in this state, including an adjudication of a juvenile for the commission of an act, whether committed in this state or in any other state, territory, possession, or dominion of the United States, or any foreign nation recognized by the United States, which if committed by an adult would constitute the offense of cruelty to animals or aggravated cruelty to animals, upon the second or subsequent conviction of cruelty to animals shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
(d) A person commits the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals when he or she: (1) Maliciously causes the death of an animal; (2) Maliciously causes physical harm to an animal by depriving it of a member of its body, by rendering a part of such animal's body useless, or by seriously disfiguring such animal's body or a member thereof; (3) Maliciously tortures an animal by the infliction of or subjection to severe or prolonged physical pain; (4) Maliciously administers poison to an animal, or exposes an animal to any poisonous substance, with the intent that the substance be taken or swallowed by the animal; or (5) Having intentionally exercised custody, control, possession, or ownership of an animal, maliciously fails to provide to such animal adequate food, water, sanitary conditions, or ventilation that is consistent with what a reasonable person of ordinary knowledge would believe is the normal requirement and feeding habit for such animal's size, species, breed, age, and physical condition to the extent that the death of such animal results or a member of its body is rendered useless or is seriously disfigured.
(e) Any person convicted of the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, a fine not to exceed $15,000.00, or both; provided, however, that any person who has had a prior adjudication of guilt for the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals, or an adjudication of guilt for the commission of an offense under the laws of any other state, territory, possession, or dominion of the United States, or of any foreign nation recognized by the United States, which would constitute the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals if committed in this state, including an adjudication of a juvenile for the commission of an act, whether committed in this state or in any other state, territory, possession, or dominion of the United States, or any foreign nation recognized by the United States, which if committed by an adult would constitute the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals, upon the second or subsequent conviction of aggravated cruelty to animals shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years, a fine not to exceed $100,000.
00, or both. (f) Before sentencing a defendant for any conviction under this Code section, the sentencing judge may require psychological evaluation of the offender and shall consider the entire criminal record of the offender. (g) The provisions of this Code section shall not be construed as prohibiting conduct which is otherwise permitted under the laws of this state or of the United States, including, but not limited to, agricultural, animal husbandry, butchering, food processing, marketing, scientific research, training, medical, zoological, exhibition, competitive, hunting, trapping, fishing, wildlife management, or pest control practices or the authorized practice of veterinary medicine nor to limit in any way the authority or duty of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, any county board of health, any law enforcement officer, dog, animal, or rabies control officer, humane society, veterinarian, or private landowner protecting his or her property.
(h)(1) In addition to justification and excuse as provided in Article 2 of Chapter 3 of this title, a person shall be justified in injuring or killing an animal when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that such act is necessary to defend against an imminent threat of injury or damage to any person, other animal, or property. (2) A person shall not be justified in injuring or killing an animal under the circumstances set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection when: (A) The person being threatened is attempting to commit, committing, or fleeing after the commission or attempted commission of a crime; (B) The person or other animal being threatened is attempting to commit or committing a trespass or other tortious interference with property; or (C) The animal being threatened is not lawfully on the property where the threat is occurring.
(3) The method used to injure or kill an animal under the circumstances set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be designed to be as humane as is possible under the circumstances. A person who humanely injures or kills an animal under the circumstances indicated in this subsection shall incur no civil liability or criminal responsibility for such injury or death. Credits Laws 1968, p. 1249, § 1; Laws 1992, p.
1654, § 1; Laws 2000, p. 754, § 12; Laws 2014, Act 588, § 1, eff. July 1, 2014. Title 16. Crimes and Offenses. Chapter 6. Sexual Offenses. § 16-6-6. Bestiality (a) A person commits the offense of bestiality when he performs or submits to any sexual act with an animal involving the sex organs of the one and the mouth, anus, penis, or vagina of the other. (b) A person convicted of the offense of bestiality shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.
CREDIT(S) Laws 1833, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 787; Laws 1880-81, p. 74, § 1; Laws 1968, p. 1249, § 1.