Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog
     


Animal Cruelty, a California Felony

Posted on: July 3, 2008 at 2:17 p.m.

Los Angeles Criminal Lawyers are sometimes hired to defend cases of animal cruelty. While rare, the charges often bring public outrage. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office even created a Special Unit to prosecute such cases.

A homeless man in Los Angeles was arrested and charged with multiple felony counts of animal abuse for allegedly soaking cats in gasoline and lighting them on fire. In 2008 there have been multiple cases of animal abuse reported and prosecuted by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office, including illegal cock-fights, animal poisoning, shooting of animals, dog fighting and more.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 2003 increased penalties for people found guilty of animal abuse. Aggravated cruelty can lead to $11,000 in fines, two years in jail or both if convicted. While some states prosecute this crime as a misdemeanor, California considers it a felony.

Michael Vick's conviction for dog-fighting has brought a great deal of attention to the area of animal abuse, and sentences and penalties have increased as a result. There are a number of people who want animal abuse to be more than just a felony, but to bring with it intense jail time.

Here are some animal abuse crimes that can/will carry with them serious penalties:

- Killing an animal that belongs to someone will often net a more harsh penalty, in part because of the emotional attachment and in part because of the destruction of property.

- Killing an endangered animal, or an animal protected by a state agency, can lead to serious jail time and fines.

- Involvement in illegal animal fights, such as dog fights or cock fights, can lead to a number of felony charges, in part because gambling is usually involved.

Tagged as: federal law and defense, jury trial defense







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