The state of California has among the strictest laws on animal abuse, cruelty and neglect of animals. The laws are designed to protect pets, strays, wild animals and farm animals.

The law defines animal abuse or cruelty as the intentional infliction of abuse upon animals. Intentional neglect is the deprivation of food, water, shelter or medical services upon animals.

The primary law is Sec 597 of the California Penal Code. The law prohibits the malicious, intentional or cruel maiming, mutilation, torture or wounding of a live animal. The law also penalizes malicious, intentional or cruel killing of animals. It also covers the deprivation of an animal of necessary food, drink or shelter and also riding, driving, overworking or use of an animal unfit for work.

There are many ways the law is violated, examples of which are as follows:
• Leaving a pet or animal caged up or tied up without access to food or water or inhospitable conditions;
• Intentionally leaving animals astray or leaving them to be run over in a highway;
• Cockfighting. This is an organized fight between roosters who are placed in a pen. The cocks are fitted with gaffs to maim and kill one another. The organizers are liable for the malicious and intentional maiming, wounding and/or death.
• Dogfighting. This is similar to cockfighting but dogs are used instead. The crime involves owning, possessing, keeping, training any dog with the intent to dogfight. It also penalizes the owner of a dog that injures another dog in a preplanned dogfight for amusement or financial or attendance in such dogfights.
• Leaving an Animal in an Unattended Vehicle. This provision penalizes pet owners that leave their animals in a vehicle in hot or cold weather lacking in ventilation, food or water or circumstances that can result in injury, suffering or death;
• Sexual Abuse of Animals. The law also penalizes the sexual assault for the purpose of arousal or sexual gratification. This is a misdemeanor offense and can mete out a six month penalty in county jail and payment of a fine of up to $1,000;
• Poisoning Animals. Sec 596 of the California Penal Code penalizes the unlawful killing of animals through the use of poison;
• Cruel Transport. Sec 597(a) of the California Penal Code penalizes the transport of an animal in a cruel or inhumane manner, such as tied up or in trucks without ventilation;
• Pet Store Regulation. Sec 597(l) regulates the living conditions of pets sold in a store. These include the standards for feeding and ventilation including cage space;

The commission of the crime of animal abuse and cruelty is a serious matter in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.