CA “Animal Abuse & Cruelty” Laws

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Dog sitting on curbCalifornia has a “no nonsense” attitude about animal abuse and cruelty. You can’t intentionally cause physical harm to a dog, and you also can’t leave the animal in a park, for example. That’s abandonment and that’s punishable in California.

According to the state laws, animal cruelty takes place whenever and wherever an animal is abused or neglected. Abuse is charged if an animal is physically harmed; neglect is charged if an animal does not receive food, water, shelter, or health services, such as the vet.  If someone is charged with this, they will need to call a bondsman.

Penal Code 597 PC

Some 50 laws deal with animal cruelty in California, but the main law is Penal Code 597 PC. It protects animals against such actions as:

* malicious or intentional harm
* mutilation or maiming
* torture or wounding
* cruel and intentional killing

These are some examples of actions that are prohibited by Penal Code 597 PC:

* An animal is run over and killed when it is intentionally thrown into traffic.
* An animal is left alone in a residence or cage without enough food or water
for long periods.
* Too many animals are left together in a too small space without sufficient
food or water.
* A rooster is being trained for a cockfight, which is covered in the law
but also covered by separate laws.

All 50 states now have laws that can bring felony charges for animal cruelty, but that wasn’t true until March 2014 when South Dakota joined the group. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was founded in New York City by Henry Bergh on April 10, 1866 and became the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere. In 1867, the organization wrote its first annual report after a man was given 10 days in jail for beating a cat to death. The first hospitals for animals were created in 1912.

Neglect and Cruelty

Neglect. According to state law, it is illegal to deny “life necessities” to any animal in California. It does not matter if a person did not intend to be cruel in treating the animals. If food, water, and protection from weather are not supplied, the charge can be neglect. California, for instance, has a law against leaving an animal alone and tied up for more than three hours a day.

Cruelty. Proven cruelty is against the law, and California also makes cruelty illegal in pet shops. These shops must make sure that animals have food and water, enough space, sanitary conditions, and humane care.

Of the 50 states, California is the leader in enacting the strictest laws governing the neglect and cruelty of animals. The laws protect house pets as well as farm animals, wild animals, and strays.