~ Animal Abuse ~

The generic crime of animal abuse can be committed in a number of different ways, including acts that are intentionally done and others that occur because of a mistake or inattention. In fact, in California there are a number of different laws that have been enacted to protect the rights of animals. These are known as the “Animal Welfare Provisions” and can be found beginning at Penal Code §§ 597, et seq. These statutes regulate the treatment, transportation, sale and confinement of animals in California.

While some of the laws are decidedly obscure, like those that specifically deal with endangered species, there are others that are commonly alleged by the District Attorney, which include:

Penal Code § 597 – Cruelty to Animals

This Penal Code section makes it a crime to maliciously and intentionally maim, mutilate, torture or wound a living animal, or maliciously and intentionally kill an animal. It also makes it a crime to overdrive, overload, drive when overloaded, overwork, torture, torment, deprive of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, cruelly beat, mutilate, or cruelly kill any animal. Each violation can be charged as a separate and distinct offence.

A violation of this section is a wobbler that may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony conviction can involve a state prison sentence, a fine of up to $20,000 or both. A misdemeanor conviction can include a sentence of up to one year in the County jail, a fine of up to $20,000 or both. In addition to any jail sentence or fines, all animals impounded as a result of the arrest can be forfeited and the accused can be held liable for the costs of the care of the animals.

Penal Code § 597a – Transporting Animals in a Cruel Manner

Currently being drafted. Check back later.

Penal Code § 597l – Pet Shop Laws

Currently being drafted. Check back later.

Penal Code § 597t – Confined Animals

Currently being drafted. Check back later.

To view the list of crimes by code section (Statute), please click here.

To return to the list of California crimes in alphabetical order, please click here.

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