The California Law on Animal Abuse
California has specific laws on animal care. These laws specifically protect pets, strays, wild and farm animals from animal abuse, cruelty, and neglect of their owners. By definition, animal abuse or cruelty is the commission of intentional abuse upon animals. On the other hand, neglect is committed through the deprivation of food, water, shelter, or medical services on animals.
Sec 597 of the California Penal Code prohibits the intentional, cruel and intentional maiming, mutilation, wounding, torture or killing of a live animal. This law also covers overworking or using an unfit animal for work purposes or the intentional deprivation to an animal of food, drink or shelter. The following are examples of the commission of this offense:
- Leaving an animal caged or tied without food or water or inhospitable living conditions;
- Intentionally leading animals astray or leaving them in areas where they may be maimed or hurt, such as highways;
- Using animals for gambling purposes, such as cockfighting, dogfighting where these animals are trained and given means to maim and hurt one another.
- Cockfighting is an organized match between roosters placed in a pen with gaffs as attachments to be able to hurt one another;
- Dogfighting is an organized match between dogs. The crime has been expanded to include ownership of a dog that has been trained for such purposes or attendance in such preplanned dogfights.
- Leaving an Animal in an Unattended Vehicle. This law criminalizes the act of leaving their pets in a vehicle without ventilation, access to food or water or in surroundings that may cause injury, suffering or even death;
- Sexual Abuse of Animals. This law also criminalizes the act of use of animals for the purpose of sexual gratification. This offense carries a misdemeanor penalty of six months in county jail and payment of fines amounting to $1,000;
- Administration of Poison to Animals. Sec 596 of the California Penal Code criminalizes the use of poison in the killing of animals. This is considered inhumane and cruel actions upon the animal;
- Transportation of Animals in Inhospitable Conditions. This is penalized under Sec 597(a) of the California Penal Code. This involves the transport of animals in a cruel manner, such as being tied up and placed in vans without ventilation;
- Regulation of Conditions in Pet Stores. This business activity is regulated under Sec 597(l) of the California Penal Code. This governs the proper living conditions of pets sold from a pet store, such as proper feeding and adequate ventilation for the cage space in the store;