California Penal Code § 597 PC prohibits animal abuse or cruelty, which the code defines as maliciously killing, harming, maiming, or torturing a living animal. The offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony and carries a sentence of up to 3 years in jail or prison.
The language of the code section states that:
597. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (c) of this section or Section 599c, every person who maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a living animal, or maliciously and intentionally kills an animal, is guilty of a crime punishable pursuant to subdivision (d).
The law protects all of the following:
- domesticated pets,
- companion animals,
- stray animals,
- wild animals, and
- farm animals.
- a pet owner leaving a pet alone in a house for many days without any food or water.
- intentionally throwing a dog into oncoming lanes of traffic.
- forcing a dog or cat to stay outdoors in extremely hot or cold conditions.
You can challenge an animal abuse charge with a legal defense. Common defenses include that
- you acted in self-defense,
- you were not responsible for the abused animal’s care, and/or
- you lacked the means to properly care for the animal.
A violation of this statute is a wobbler. A prosecutor can charge a wobbler as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Misdemeanor animal abuse is punishable by custody in county jail for up to one year.
Felony animal abuse is punishable by custody in state prison for up to three years.
Our California criminal defense attorneys will answer the following faqs in this article:
- 1. When is animal abuse a crime in California?
- 2. How can an attorney defend me against these charges?
- 3. What is the sentencing for Penal Code 597 PC?
- 4. What are the implications for non-citizens?
- 5. Can a conviction get cleared from my record?
- 6. Does a conviction affect gun rights?
- 7. Are there other California laws on animal abuse?
- 7.1. Cockfighting – PC 597b
- 7.2. Dogfighting – PC 597.5
- 7.3. Leaving an animal in an unattended vehicle – PC 597.7
- 7.4. Sexual abuse of animals – PC 286.5
- 7.5. Poisoning animals – PC 596
- 7.6. Transporting an animal in a cruel or inhumane manner – PC 597a
- 7.7. Regulating the conditions of animals sold in a pet store – PC 597l
- 7.8. Confined animals – PC 597t
- 7.9. Unlawful tethering of a dog – HS 122335
- 8. Are there federal animal abuse laws?
- 9. How can I report animal abuse?
1. When is animal abuse a crime in California?
A prosecutor must prove the following to convict you under Penal Code 597:
- you maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed a living animal, and
- you acted maliciously.1
“Torture” means an act, failure to act, or neglect that causes unnecessary:
- physical pain, or
“Maiming” means disabling or disﬁguring an animal permanently or depriving it of a:
- organ, or
- other body part.3
You act “maliciously” when you intentionally do a wrongful act.4
2. How can an attorney defend me against these charges?
Defense lawyers use different legal strategies to oppose charges under Penal Code 597. These include showing that:
- you acted in self-defense.
- you were not responsible for the animal’s care.
- you lacked the means to properly care for the animal.
California’s self-defense laws allow you to defend yourself if there is the danger of an imminent attack.5 These laws let you stand up to dangers posed by both:
- other people, and
- animals (for example, an aggressive pitbull).
A valid defense, therefore, is that you wounded or killed an animal in defense of:
- another person, or
- another animal.
The defense works if you take no more action than was reasonably necessary to ward off the attack.6
2.2. Not responsible for the animal
You assert the following when using this defense:
- while an animal may have died or was hurt,
- you were not responsible for the animal’s care.
Example: Mark moves into an apartment with Kelly. Kelly has a pet cat named Whiskers. When he moves in, Kelly tells Mark not to worry about the cat and that she is in charge of feeding it. Whiskers eventually dies after Kelly fails to feed it for days. Acting on a tip, law enforcement agency officers arrive at the scene. Both Kelly and Mark are charged under PC 597.
In this scenario, Mark has a valid defense in that he was not responsible for Whiskers’ care. Although he was Kelly’s roommate, Kelly owned the cat and told Mark that she was responsible for feeding it.
2.3. Lack of means
You are not guilty of animal abuse if the animal is neglected only because you did not have the financial means to care for it. This defense reflects the real situation where a party may suffer financial hardship because of:
- an injury,
- a medical condition, or
- the loss of a job.
3. What is the sentencing for Penal Code 597 PC?
A violation of this statute is a wobbler. A wobbler is an offense that the prosecutor can charge as either:
- a misdemeanor, or
- a felony.
Misdemeanor animal abuse is punishable by:
- custody in the county jail for up to one year, and/or
- a maximum fine of $20,000.7
Felony animal abuse is punishable by:
- custody in state prison for up to three years, and/or
- a maximum fine of $20,000.8
In certain cases where you are granted probation, the judge may require you to undergo a mental health evaluation and complete counseling. (AB 829)
4. What are the implications for non-citizens?
A conviction of animal abuse may have negative immigration consequences.
A California court has ruled that “serious” cases of animal abuse can result in deportation.9 The facts of a case will dictate whether it is serious.
Also note that felony convictions that rise to the level of aggravated felonies can cause:
5. Can a conviction get cleared from my record?
You can get an animal abuse conviction expunged if:
- the conviction was for misdemeanor abuse, and
- you successfully completed either a jail term or probation.
You, though, cannot get a felony abuse conviction expunged. This is because expungements are not allowed for crimes that lead to prison terms.
6. Does a conviction affect gun rights?
A misdemeanor conviction will not affect your gun rights.
Felony convictions, though, will cause you to lose your rights to:
- own a gun, and
- possess a gun.
It is a general rule under California law that convicted felons must give up these rights.
7. Are there other California laws on animal abuse?
California has several other laws that prohibit or regulate certain acts with animals. The State has laws on the following:
- Cockfighting – PC 597b
- Dogfighting – PC 597.5
- Leaving an animal in an unattended vehicle – PC 597.7
- Sexual abuse of animals – PC 286.5
- Poisoning animals – PC 596
- Transporting an animal in a cruel or inhumane manner – PC 597a
- Regulating the conditions of animals sold in a pet store – PC 597l
- Confined animals – PC 597t
- Unlawful tethering of a dog – HS 122335
7.1. Cockfighting – PC 597b
Penal Code 597b PC is the California statute that makes cockfighting a crime.
Cockfighting is the fighting or injuring of roosters.
The law makes it a misdemeanor to cause or allow a cockfight for either:
- amusement, or
- financial gain.
The law also prohibits permitting cockfighting on your premises or “aiding or abetting” cockfighting. (“Aiding or abetting” does not include being just a spectator.)
Penalties include up to one year in jail and/or $10,000 in fines.10
7.2. Dogfighting – PC 597.5
Penal Code 597.5 PC is the State’s dogfighting law. You violate this law if you:
- own or train a dog with the intent to enter it into a dogfight,
- cause a dog to injure or kill another dog for amusement or gain,
- permit dogfighting on your property or premises you control (or aid or abet this), and/or
- watch a dogfight as a spectator.
Dogfighting is a felony that can carry as much as three years in prison and/or $50,000. Being a spectator is a misdemeanor carrying up to one year in jail and/or $5,000.11
7.3. Leaving an animal in an unattended vehicle – PC 597.7
Penal Code 597.7 PC makes it a misdemeanor crime for you to:
- leave a dog or pet unattended in a vehicle, and
- do so if the conditions would endanger the health or wellbeing of the animal.
Relevant considerations include the:
- temperature inside the vehicle,
- amount of ventilation,
- lack of food or water, and
- length of time the animal was unattended.
The penalties include up to six months in jail and/or $500.12
7.4. Sexual abuse of animals – PC 286.5
Penal Code 286.5 PC is California’s statute on the sexual abuse of animals.
The law prohibits sexually assaulting an animal for the purpose of arousing sexual desires.
The sexual assault of an animal is also referred to as “bestiality” or “zoophilia.”
7.5. Poisoning animals – PC 596
Penal Code 596 PC is the California statute that makes it a misdemeanor for you to:
- poison someone else’s animal, and
- do so intentionally.
Note, though, that it is not a crime to use poison to control predatory animals.
This offense is a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines plus restitution and the costs of caring for the animal.14
7.6. Transporting an animal in a cruel or inhumane manner – PC 597a
Penal Code 597a is the State’s law on the transportation of animals.
This statute makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to carry a domestic animal in a vehicle:
- in a cruel manner, or
- while knowingly allowing it to be subjected to unnecessary cruelty of any kind.
Penalties include up to six months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines plus restitution and the costs of caring for the animal.15
7.7. Regulating the conditions of animals sold in a pet store – PC 597l
Penal Code 597l regulates how pet shop owners must store their animals. The law says requires operators to provide these animals:
- sanitary conditions,
- proper heating and ventilation,
- adequate nutrition, and
- proper space.
Failure to maintain proper pet store conditions is a misdemeanor carrying up to 90 days in jail and/or $1,000. Though the court will dismiss a first-time charge if you comply with the statute.16
7.8. Confined animals – PC 597t
Penal Code 597t is the California statute on confined animals.
It says that confined animals restricted by a leash, chains or rope must have adequate:
- water, and
Furthermore, the restraints themselves must not cause the animals injury or allow them to get stuck or entangled.
Violating PC 597t is a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and/or $1,000.
Note that this statute does not apply to animals in a vehicle or currently in a person’s immediate control.17
7.9. Unlawful tethering of a dog – HS 122335
Health and Safety Code 122335 prohibits tethering a dog to a stationary object. An example is chaining the animal to a tree.
This offense is a wobblette, meaning it can be a misdemeanor or an infraction. As an infraction, unlawful tethering carries up to $250 per dog. As a misdemeanor, it carries up to six months in jail and/or $1,000 per dog.18
8. Are there federal animal abuse laws?
There are four main federal statutes that pertain to animal abuse. These are:
- The Animal Welfare Act (AWA),
- The “28-Hour Law,”
- The Humane Slaughter Act, and
- The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT)
8.1. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA)
The AWA applies to animals:
- kept in zoos,
- used in laboratories, and
- used in commercial breeding.19
The Act directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set minimum standards for the:
- treatment, and
- transportation of these animals.20
The AWA also prohibits dogfighting and cockfighting operations that cross state lines.21
8.2. The “28-Hour Law”
The 28-Hour Law says that vehicles transporting certain animals for slaughter must:
- stop every 28 hours, and
- during the stop, provide the animals with exercise, food, and water.22
Note that birds like chickens and turkeys are exempt from this law.23
8.3. The Humane Slaughter Act
This Act requires that animals be stunned into unconsciousness before slaughter. The aim of the statute is to minimize pain for the animals.24
Many birds, including chickens and turkeys, are not protected by this law.25
8.4. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT)
PACT became law in 2019 and applies to living non-human:
- reptiles, and
With respect to these animals, the law bans the intentional:
- impalement, or
- serious harming of them.26
The law also prohibits “animal crush videos.” These videos include any:
- motion picture films,
- digital recordings, or
- electronic images that depict animal cruelty.27
9. How can I report animal abuse?
To report animal abuse, you should:
- dial 9-1-1, or
- call the police department, or
- contact their local animal control agency.
An animal protection agency is obligated to investigate any report of suspected animal cruelty.
Note that, in California, cases of misdemeanor animal cruelty must get reported within one year of the cruel act. If reported after this time, the D.A. cannot file charges of a crime.28
Cases of felony animal cruelty must get reported within three years of the cruel act. If reported after this time, the D.A. cannot file charges of a crime.29
To learn local regulations regarding animal vaccinations, veterinary care, and requirements to neuter or spay an animal, contact a local animal services agency.
For additional help…
For additional guidance or to discuss your animal fighting/animal neglect/animal cruelty case with a criminal defense attorney, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.
- California Penal Code 597.
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (c) of this section or Section 599c, every person who maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a living animal, or maliciously and intentionally kills an animal, is guilty of a crime punishable pursuant to subdivision (d).
(b) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (a) or (c), every person who overdrives, overloads, drives when overloaded, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, cruelly beats, mutilates, or cruelly kills any animal, or causes or procures any animal to be so overdriven, overloaded, driven when overloaded, overworked, tortured, tormented, deprived of necessary sustenance, drink, shelter, or to be cruelly beaten, mutilated, or cruelly killed; and whoever, having the charge or custody of any animal, either as owner or otherwise, subjects any animal to needless suffering, or inflicts unnecessary cruelty upon the animal, or in any manner abuses any animal, or fails to provide the animal with proper food, drink, or shelter or protection from the weather, or who drives, rides, or otherwise uses the animal when unfit for labor, is, for each offense, guilty of a crime punishable pursuant to subdivision (d).
(c) Every person who maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, or tortures any mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, or fish, as described in subdivision (e), is guilty of a crime punishable pursuant to subdivision (d).
(d) A violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c) is punishable as a felony by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, or alternatively, as a misdemeanor by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.
(e) (1) Subdivision (c) applies to any mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, or fish which is a creature described as follows: (A) Endangered species or threatened species as described in Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 2050) of Division 3 of the Fish and Game Code. (B) Fully protected birds described in Section 3511 of the Fish and Game Code. (C) Fully protected mammals described in Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 4700) of Part 3 of Division 4 of the Fish and Game Code. (D) Fully protected reptiles and amphibians described in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 5050) of Division 5 of the Fish and Game Code. (E) Fully protected fish as described in Section 5515 of the Fish and Game Code. (2) This subdivision does not supersede or affect any provisions of law relating to taking of the described species, including, but not limited to, Section 12008 of the Fish and Game Code.
(f) For the purposes of subdivision (c), each act of malicious and intentional maiming, mutilating, or torturing a separate specimen of a creature described in subdivision (e) is a separate offense. If any person is charged with a violation of subdivision (c), the proceedings shall be subject to Section 12157 of the Fish and Game Code.
(g) (1) Upon the conviction of a person charged with a violation of this section by causing or permitting an act of cruelty, as defined in Section 599b, all animals lawfully seized and impounded with respect to the violation by a peace officer, officer of a humane society, or officer of an animal shelter or animal regulation department of a public agency shall be adjudged by the court to be forfeited and shall thereupon be awarded to the impounding officer for proper disposition. A person convicted of a violation of this section by causing or permitting an act of cruelty, as defined in Section 599b, shall be liable to the impounding officer for all costs of impoundment from the time of seizure to the time of proper disposition. (2) Mandatory seizure or impoundment shall not apply to animals in properly conducted scientific experiments or investigations performed under the authority of the faculty of a regularly incorporated medical college or university of this state.
(h) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if a defendant is granted probation for a conviction under this section, the court shall order the defendant to pay for, and successfully complete, counseling, as determined by the court, designed to evaluate and treat behavior or conduct disorders. If the court finds that the defendant is financially unable to pay for that counseling, the court may develop a sliding fee schedule based upon the defendant’s ability to pay. An indigent defendant may negotiate a deferred payment schedule, but shall pay a nominal fee if the defendant has the ability to pay the nominal fee. County mental health departments or Medi-Cal shall be responsible for the costs of counseling required by this section only for those persons who meet the medical necessity criteria for mental health managed care pursuant to Section 1830.205 of Title 9 of the California Code of Regulations or the target population criteria specified in Section 5600.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. The counseling specified in this subdivision shall be in addition to any other terms and conditions of probation, including any term of imprisonment and any fine. This provision specifies a mandatory additional term of probation and is not to be used as an alternative to imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 or county jail when that sentence is otherwise appropriate. If the court does not order custody as a condition of probation for a conviction under this section, the court shall specify on the court record the reason or reasons for not ordering custody. This subdivision shall not apply to cases involving police dogs or horses as described in Section 600.
CALCRIM No. 2953 – Cruelty to Animals. Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2017 edition). See also People v. Alvarado (2005) 125 Cal.App.4th 1179.,
- CALCRIM No. 2953 – Cruelty to Animals.
- See same.
- See same. See also People v. Burnett (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 868 and People v. Thomason (2000) 84 Cal.App.4th 1064.
- Judicial Council Of California Criminal Jury Instruction 3470 — Right to Self-Defense or Defense of Another.
- California Penal Code 26 PC.
- California Penal Code 597d PC. See also California Penal Code 19 PC; California Penal Code 1170 PC.
- See same.
- Madrid v. Holder (9th Cir., 2013) 541 F. App’x 789.
- California Penal Code 597b PC. (a) Except as provided in subdivisions (b) and (c), any person who, for amusement or gain, causes any bull, bear, or other animal, not including any dog, to fight with like kind of animal or creature, or causes any animal, including any dog, to fight with a different kind of animal or creature, or with any human being, or who, for amusement or gain, worries or injures any bull, bear, dog, or other animal, or causes any bull, bear, or other animal, not including any dog, to worry or injure each other, or any person who permits the same to be done on any premises under his or her charge or control, or any person who aids or abets the fighting or worrying of an animal or creature, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year, by a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. (b) Any person who, for amusement or gain, causes any cock to fight with another cock or with a different kind of animal or creature or with any human being; or who, for amusement or gain, worries or injures any cock, or causes any cock to worry or injure another animal; and any person who permits the same to be done on any premises under his or her charge or control, and any person who aids or abets the fighting or worrying of any cock is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year, or by a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. (c) A second or subsequent conviction of this section is a misdemeanor or a felony punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year or the state prison for 16 months, two, or three years, by a fine not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine, except in unusual circumstances in which the interests of justice would be better served by the imposition of a lesser sentence. (d) For the purposes of this section, aiding and abetting a violation of this section shall consist of something more than merely being present or a spectator at a place where a violation is occurring.
- California Penal Code 597.5 PC. (a) Any person who does any of the following is guilty of a felony and is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for 16 months, or two or three years, or by a fine not to exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment:
(1) Owns, possesses, keeps, or trains any dog, with the intent that the dog shall be engaged in an exhibition of fighting with another dog.
(2) For amusement or gain, causes any dog to fight with another dog, or causes any dogs to injure each other.
(3) Permits any act in violation of paragraph (1) or (2) to be done on any premises under his or her charge or control, or aids or abets that act.
(b) Any person who is knowingly present, as a spectator, at any place, building, or tenement where preparations are being made for an exhibition of the fighting of dogs, with the intent to be present at those preparations, or is knowingly present at that exhibition or at any other fighting or injuring as described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), with the intent to be present at that exhibition, fighting, or injuring, is guilty of an offense punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
(c) Nothing in this section shall prohibit any of the following:
(1) The use of dogs in the management of livestock, as defined by Section 14205 of the Food and Agricultural Code, by the owner of the livestock or his or her employees or agents or other persons in lawful custody thereof.
(2) The use of dogs in hunting as permitted by the Fish and Game Code, including, but not limited to, Sections 4002 and 4756, and by the rules and regulations of the Fish and Game Commission.
(3) The training of dogs or the use of equipment in the training of dogs for any purpose not prohibited by law.
- California Penal Code 597.7 PC. (a) A person shall not leave or confine an animal in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal. (b) (1) This section does not prevent a person from taking reasonable steps that are necessary to remove an animal from a motor vehicle if the person holds a reasonable belief that the animal’s safety is in immediate danger from heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal.
(2) A person who removes an animal from a vehicle in accordance with paragraph (1) is not criminally liable for actions taken reasonably and in good faith if the person does all of the following:
(A) Determines the vehicle is locked or there is otherwise no reasonable manner for the animal to be removed from the vehicle.
(B) Has a good faith belief that forcible entry into the vehicle is necessary because the animal is in imminent danger of suffering harm if it is not immediately removed from the vehicle, and, based upon the circumstances known to the person at the time, the belief is a reasonable one.
(C) Has contacted a local law enforcement agency, the fire department, animal control, or the “911” emergency service prior to forcibly entering the vehicle.
(D) Remains with the animal in a safe location, out of the elements but reasonably close to the vehicle, until a peace officer, humane officer, animal control officer, or another emergency responder arrives.
(E) Used no more force to enter the vehicle and remove the animal from the vehicle than was necessary under the circumstances.
(F) Immediately turns the animal over to a representative from law enforcement, animal control, or another emergency responder who responds to the scene.
(c) Unless the animal suffers great bodily injury, a first conviction for violation of this section is punishable by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) per animal. If the animal suffers great bodily injury, a violation of this section is punishable by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both a fine and imprisonment. Any subsequent violation of this section, regardless of injury to the animal, is also punishable by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both a fine and imprisonment.
(d) (1) This section does not prevent a peace officer, firefighter, humane officer, animal control officer, or other emergency responder from removing an animal from a motor vehicle if the animal’s safety appears to be in immediate danger from heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal.
(2) A peace officer, firefighter, humane officer, animal control officer, or other emergency responder who removes an animal from a motor vehicle, or who takes possession of an animal that has been removed from a motor vehicle, shall take it to an animal shelter or other place of safekeeping or, if the officer deems necessary, to a veterinary hospital for treatment. The owner of the animal removed from the vehicle may be required to pay for charges that have accrued for the maintenance, care, medical treatment, or impoundment of the animal.
(3) A peace officer, firefighter, humane officer, animal control officer, or other emergency responder is authorized to take all steps that are reasonably necessary for the removal of an animal from a motor vehicle, including, but not limited to, breaking into the motor vehicle, after a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person responsible.
(4) A peace officer, firefighter, humane officer, animal control officer, or other emergency responder who removes an animal from a motor vehicle or who receives an animal rescued from a vehicle from another person shall, in a secure and conspicuous location on or within the motor vehicle, leave written notice bearing his or her name and office, and the address of the location where the animal can be claimed. The animal may be claimed by the owner only after payment of all charges that have accrued for the maintenance, care, medical treatment, or impoundment of the animal.
(5) Except as provided in subdivision (b), this section does not affect in any way existing liabilities or immunities in current law, or create any new immunities or liabilities.
(e) Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under both this section and Section 597 or any other provision of law, including city or county ordinances.
(f) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prohibit the transportation of horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, poultry, or other agricultural animals in motor vehicles designed to transport such animals for agricultural purposes.
- California Penal Code 286.5 PC. (a) Every person who has sexual contact with an animal is guilty of a misdemeanor. (b) This section does not apply to any lawful and accepted practice related to veterinary medicine performed by a licensed veterinarian or a certified veterinary technician under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian, any artificial insemination of animals for reproductive purposes, any accepted animal husbandry practices such as raising, breeding, or assisting with the birthing process of animals or any other practice that provides care for an animal, or to any generally accepted practices related to the judging of breed conformation. (c) As used in this section, the following terms have the following meanings: (1) “Animal” means any nonhuman creature, whether alive or dead. (2) “Sexual contact” means any act, committed for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, abuse, or financial gain, between a person and an animal involving contact between the sex organs or anus of one and the mouth, sex organs, or anus of the other, or, without a bona fide veterinary or animal husbandry purpose, the insertion, however slight, of any part of the body of a person or any object into the vaginal or anal opening of an animal, or the insertion of any part of the body of an animal into the vaginal or anal opening of a person. (d) (1) Any authorized officer investigating a violation of this section may seize an animal that has been used in the commission of an offense to protect the health or safety of the animal or the health or safety of others, and to obtain evidence of the offense. (2) Any animal seized pursuant to this subdivision shall be promptly taken to a shelter facility or veterinary clinic to be examined by a veterinarian for evidence of sexual contact. (3) Upon the conviction of a person charged with a violation of this section, all animals lawfully seized and impounded with respect to the violation shall be adjudged by the court to be forfeited and shall thereupon be transferred to the impounding officer or appropriate public entity for proper adoption or other disposition. A person convicted of a violation of this section shall be personally liable to the seizing agency for all costs of impoundment from the time of seizure to the time of proper disposition. Upon conviction, the court shall order the convicted person to make payment to the appropriate public entity for the costs incurred in the housing, care, feeding, and treatment of the seized or impounded animals. Each person convicted in connection with a particular animal may be held jointly and severally liable for restitution for that particular animal. The payment shall be in addition to any other fine or sentence ordered by the court. (4) Except as otherwise specified in this section, if an animal is seized pursuant to paragraph (1), the disposition, care, or the responsibility for the financial cost of animals seized shall be in accordance with the provisions of Section 597.1.
- California Penal Code 596 PC. Every person who, without the consent of the owner, wilfully administers poison to any animal, the property of another, or exposes any poisonous substance, with the intent that the same shall be taken or swallowed by any such animal, is guilty of a misdemeanor. However, the provisions of this section shall not apply in the case of a person who exposes poisonous substances upon premises or property owned or controlled by him for the purpose of controlling or destroying predatory animals or livestock-killing dogs and if, prior to or during the placing out of such poisonous substances, he shall have posted upon the property conspicuous signs located at intervals of distance not greater than one-third of a mile apart, and in any case not less than three such signs having words with letters at least one inch high reading “Warning—Poisoned bait placed out on these premises,” which signs shall be kept in place until the poisonous substances have been removed. Whenever such signs have been conspicuously located upon the property or premises owned or controlled by him as hereinabove provided, such person shall not be charged with any civil liability to another party in the event that any domestic animal belonging to such party becomes injured or killed by trespassing or partaking of the poisonous substance or substances so placed.
- California Penal Code 597a PC. Whoever carries or causes to be carried in or upon any vehicle or otherwise any domestic animal in a cruel or inhuman manner, or knowingly and willfully authorizes or permits it to be subjected to unnecessary torture, suffering, or cruelty of any kind, is guilty of a misdemeanor; and whenever any such person is taken into custody therefor by any officer, such officer must take charge of such vehicle and its contents, together with the horse or team attached to such vehicle, and deposit the same in some place of custody; and any necessary expense incurred for taking care of and keeping the same, is a lien thereon, to be paid before the same can be lawfully recovered; and if such expense, or any part thereof, remains unpaid, it may be recovered, by the person incurring the same, of the owner of such domestic animal, in an action therefor.
- California Penal Code 597l PC. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person who operates a pet shop to fail to do all of the following:
(1) Maintain the facilities used for the keeping of pet animals in a sanitary condition.
(2) Provide proper heating and ventilation for the facilities used for the keeping of pet animals.
(3) Provide adequate nutrition for, and humane care and treatment of, all pet animals under his or her care and control.
(4) Take reasonable care to release for sale, trade, or adoption only those pet animals that are free of disease or injuries.
(5) Provide adequate space appropriate to the size, weight, and specie of pet animals.
(b) (1) Sellers of pet animals shall provide buyers of a pet animal with general written recommendations for the generally accepted care of the class of pet animal sold, including recommendations as to the housing, equipment, cleaning, environment, and feeding of the animal. This written information shall be in a form determined by the sellers of pet animals and may include references to Web sites, books, pamphlets, videos, and compact discs.
(2) If a seller of pet animals distributes material prepared by a third party, the seller shall not be liable for damages caused by any erroneous information in that material unless a reasonable person exercising ordinary care should have known of the error causing the damage.
(3) This subdivision shall apply to any private or public retail business that sells pet animals to the public and is required to possess a permit pursuant to Section 6066 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.
(4) Charges brought against a seller of pet animals for a first violation of the provisions of this subdivision shall be dismissed if the person charged produces in court satisfactory proof of compliance. A second or subsequent violation is an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250).
(c) As used in this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Pet animals” means dogs, cats, monkeys and other primates, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, snakes, iguanas, turtles, and any other species of animal sold or retained for the purpose of being kept as a household pet.
(2) “Pet shop” means every place or premises where pet animals are kept for the purpose of either wholesale or retail sale. “Pet shop” does not include any place or premises where pet animals are occasionally sold.
(d) Any person who violates any provision of subdivision (a) is guilty of a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding 90 days, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
- California Penal Code 597t PC. Every person who keeps an animal confined in an enclosed area shall provide it with an adequate exercise area. If the animal is restricted by a leash, rope, or chain, the leash, rope, or chain shall be affixed in such a manner that it will prevent the animal from becoming entangled or injured and permit the animal’s access to adequate shelter, food, and water. Violation of this section constitutes a misdemeanor. This section shall not apply to an animal which is in transit, in a vehicle, or in the immediate control of a person.
- California Health and Safety Code 122335 HS. (a) For purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the following definitions:
(1) “Animal control” means the municipal or county animal control agency or any other entity responsible for enforcing animal-related laws.
(2) “Agricultural operation” means an activity that is necessary for the commercial growing and harvesting of crops or the raising of livestock or poultry.
(3) “Person” means any individual, partnership, corporation, organization, trade or professional association, firm, limited liability company, joint venture, association, trust, estate, or any other legal entity, and any officer, member, shareholder, director, employee, agent, or representative thereof.
(4) “Reasonable period” means a period of time not to exceed three hours in a 24-hour period, or a time that is otherwise approved by animal control.
(b) No person shall tether, fasten, chain, tie, or restrain a dog, or cause a dog to be tethered, fastened, chained, tied, or restrained, to a dog house, tree, fence, or any other stationary object.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), a person may do any of the following in accordance with Section 597t of the Penal Code:
(1) Attach a dog to a running line, pulley, or trolley system. A dog shall not be tethered to the running line, pulley, or trolley system by means of a choke collar or pinch collar.
(2) Tether, fasten, chain, tie, or otherwise restrain a dog pursuant to the requirements of a camping or recreational area.
(3) Tether, fasten, chain, or tie a dog no longer than is necessary for the person to complete a temporary task that requires the dog to be restrained for a reasonable period.
(4) Tether, fasten, chain, or tie a dog while engaged in, or actively training for, an activity that is conducted pursuant to a valid license issued by the State of California if the activity for which the license is issued is associated with the use or presence of a dog. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to prohibit a person from restraining a dog while participating in activities or using accommodations that are reasonably associated with the licensed activity.
(5) Tether, fasten, chain, or tie a dog while actively engaged in any of the following:
(A) Conduct that is directly related to the business of shepherding or herding cattle or livestock.
(B) Conduct that is directly related to the business of cultivating agricultural products, if the restraint is reasonably necessary for the safety of the dog.
(d) A person who violates this chapter is guilty of an infraction or a misdemeanor.
(1) An infraction under this chapter is punishable upon conviction by a fine of up to two hundred fifty dollars ($250) as to each dog with respect to which a violation occurs.
(2) A misdemeanor under this chapter is punishable upon conviction by a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) as to each dog with respect to which a violation occurs, or imprisonment in a county jail for not more than six months, or both.
(3) Notwithstanding subdivision (d), animal control may issue a correction warning to a person who violates this chapter, requiring the owner to correct the violation, in lieu of an infraction or misdemeanor, unless the violation endangers the health or safety of the animal, the animal has been wounded as a result of the violation, or a correction warning has previously been issued to the individual.
(e) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit a person from walking a dog with a hand-held leash.
- See the Animal Welfare Act.
- See same.
- See same.
- See the 28 Hour Law.
- See same.
- See the Humane Slaughter Act.
- See same.
- See the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act.
- See same.
- California Penal Code 802 PC.
- California Penal Code 801 PC.