While laws differ from state to state, animal cruelty is against the law in every state, prohibiting things like torture, mistreatment, or even not providing proper shelter and food. In the past, things were more lenient, with penalties being virtually a slap on the wrist, but as a result of news stories coming out about abused dogs and the public outcry that ensued as a result, penalties are being harsher nowadays. In addition to them being more severe, laws also get more specific. This is why it is important for you to have an experienced animal cruelty criminal defense attorney that can represent you if you are accused of animal cruelty.
Animal Cruelty Laws In General
The severity depends on the location. Certain states have separate laws that apply specifically to dogs or cats, while in other states repeated or serious abuse could lead to felony charges – in some cases, local laws are even more strict than state laws. Despite the differences from state to state, laws regarding the subject generally include forms of abuse that are most recognized – such as mutilation and torture, as well as abandonment and neglect.
- Torture – In general, laws prohibit torture, overworking, mutilation, and also killing an animal cruelly or unnecessarily. Depending on the state, it might be required to show that abuse was intentional or malicious, while other states increase the penalties in case the abuse was reckless and malicious. Poisoning an animal or placing the poison where another person’s animal could likely eat it is also illegal.
- Abandonment – Abandoning an animal is illegal in most states, regardless if it gets dumped in a public place or if it’s left anywhere without the owner providing for its needs. One thing worth noting is that enforcing the laws against abandonment is difficult, due to the fact that tracking down the owner is not easy to do. One way the owner can be reached is if witnesses are able to report the license plate numbers.
- Neglect – In some states, ‘neglect’ is described as simply not providing the necessary water, food, and shelter for an animal, while other states take things a step further, requiring that owners give their animals the proper veterinary care, sanitary conditions, protection (from the weather), as well as exercise. While some conditions within the law might sound severe, it is actually difficult to convict someone of animal neglect based on them, due to the fact that it has to be shown that the animal has suffered unjustified or unnecessary pain as a result and that owners acted recklessly or intentionally.
- Other forms – Dogfighting is illegal in most states, as is owning or training fighting dogs. Leaving a dog unattended in a vehicle (if the conditions are harmful – too hot or too cold) is also illegal. “Cosmetic cruelty” – the cutting off of ears or tails – on the other hand is legal in most of the states.
Laws In Texas
Texas has civil laws and criminal laws regarding cruelty to animals – the later kind referring to domesticated animals. Texas laws regarding livestock and non-livestock animals prohibits a person from knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally treat an animal with cruelty. Cruel punishment is described as torturing an animal, not providing it with food, care or shelter, abandoning it, killing it, seriously injuring it, poisoning it, or transporting it or confining it in a cruel manner. In addition, cruel punishment also includes causing an animal to fight with another, using it as a lure in a dog race, overworking it, injuring the animal that belongs to someone else, or tripping a horse.
How To React To Cruelty
In case someone witnesses or suspecting a person of mistreating animals, the local humane society should be contacted. They have authority (in most states) to investigate those complaints and in some cases to seize animals if they are being abused. An alternative to this would be filing a complaint with the county sheriff or with the city police.
What To Do If You Are Accused
When it comes to charges of animal cruelty, defending yourself is not an easy task. The first thing to do is contact a criminal defense attorney who has the necessary experience on the subject. They will be able to explain the laws and how they apply in your case, and in case your pet was taken away, what course of action is necessary. Having a skilled lawyer on your side means that they will help you when it comes to proving your case and getting the case dismissed. There are also cases of false accusation, where someone innocent is being accused (wrongfully) of animal abuse, which means proper defense is necessary in order to set the record straight.
Contact the Starr Law Firm Today
If you are currently facing animal cruelty charges or have been accused of animal cruelty you will need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. Because if you are convicted your entire life will be changed up-side-down. When you are facing a conviction, you need a lawyer who is willing to fight for you in a way that he or she would fight for themselves. The only law firm willing to give that level of dedication to their clients is Starr Law, P.C. Contact us today for your free consultation where we can learn more about you and your case, and you can learn more about us and our services. For more information, please contact us at 214.982.1408 or visit our visit our website here.