Statutes

Statute by category Citationsort ascending Summary
PA - Cruelty - § 5536. Tethering of unattended dog 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5536 This statute describes specific circumstances under which the tethering of an unattended dog outdoors may create a rebuttable presumption that the dog has been neglected. A dog tethered for less than nine hours in a 24-hour period with potable water, an area of shade, a tether at least three times the length of the dog with a swivel anchor and a well-fitted collar is not presumed to be neglect, unless tethered for more than a half hour in temperatures above 90 degrees or below 32 degrees. The statute is effective as of August 2017.
PA - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5531 - 5561; 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3129; 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8340.3 This document contains Pennsylvania's anti-cruelty laws that were amended in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, the state added a rescue and immunity provision for dogs and cats in "hot cars." Section 5532 covers neglect of animal and states that a person who has care of animal must provide: (1) necessary sustenance and potable water; (2) access to clean and sanitary shelter and protection from the weather; and (3) necessary veterinary care. Violation is a summary offense unless the violation causes bodily injury or puts the animal in imminent danger of bodily injury (then, it is a misdemeanor of third degree). A person commits cruelty to animals (Sec. 5533) if he or she intentionally, knowingly or recklessly illtreats, overloads, beats, abandons or abuses an animal. Aggravated cruelty is provided by Sec. 5534 and is defined as torture, or neglect or cruelty that causes serious bodily injury or death of an animal. Such conduct is a felony of the third degree. Another section creates legal presumptions with regard to tethering of a dog that relate to the length of time tethered, the type of collar/tether, and even the outside temperature (both low and high temperatures). Section 5539 makes it unlawful to transport an equine animal in or upon a vehicle with two or more levels stacked on top of one another. The state also prohibits the cropping of dogs' ears, debarking of dogs, docking of dogs' tails, performance of surgical births of dogs, and declawing of cats by persons other than veterinary doctors while the animals are anesthetized. Animal fighting is prohibited in the chapter as a felony of the third degree. Other provisions concern selling of dog and cat pelts, live animals as prizes, and harassment of service and police animals. Exemptions under the act include state game/hunting laws, the killing of a dog or cat in accordance with the Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law, the killing of an animal found pursuing domestic animals/fowl, destruction of public nuisance dogs, pest control, "[s]hooting activities not otherwise prohibited under this subchapter," and the authorized use of research animals.
PA - Ecoterrorism - § 3311. Ecoterrorism 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3309 - 3311; 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8319

This collective set of laws comprises Pennsylvania's ecoterrorim and agroterrorism provisions. The state has an agricultural vandalism law (misdemeanor or felony, depending on pecuniary loss)  and law prohibiting the destruction of agricultural crops (felony). A person is guilty of ecoterrorism if the person commits a specified offense against property by: intimidating or coercing a person participating in an activity involving animals, plants, or natural resources; or preventing or obstructing a person involved in such an activity. The law has a provision that states a person who is on public property, or on private property with permission, and is peaceable exercising his or her constitutional rights is immune from prosecution and from civil liability under Pa.C.S. § 8319.

ME - Food Service - § 3966. Animals in food stores. 17 M.R.S.A. § 3966 In Maine, it is unlawful for any persons to bring an animal into a store where food is sold for human consumption or into a restaurant where food is prepared and served. This statute does not apply to a person who requires a service animal.
ME - Assistance Animal - Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws 17 M. R. S. A. § 1311 - 1316; 26 M. R. S. A. § 1420-A - 1420C; 7 M. R. S. A. § 3961-A; 5 M. R. S. A. § 4551 - 4555, 4582-A, 4592; 14 M. R. S. A. § 6030-G; 14 M. R. S. A. § 164-B

The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.

VT - Education - § 912. Student's right of refusal; animal dissection 16 V.S.A. § 912 This Vermont law gives a student in a public elementary or secondary school (or approved independent school) a right to be excused from lessons requiring a student to dissect, vivisect, or otherwise destroy an animal, or observe any of these activities. Each school district must establish procedures for a student to exercise this right and alternatives methods of learning the material covered. School districts must also adopt a statement that no student shall be discriminated against based on his or her decision to exercise the right to be excused afforded by this section.
US - Invasive - Chapter 67. Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control 16 USCS 4701 - 4751

The Act focuses on all aquatics, including aquatic plants. The Act created the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, which  is an intergovernmental organization, administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service, committed to preventing and controlling aquatic nuisance species and implementing the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act. The Task Force coordinates Federal governmental efforts dealing with aquatic nuisance species with those of state and local governments, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and the private sector.

US - Hunting - Airborne Hunting Act 16 USC 742j-1

This Act approved November 18, 1971 added to the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 a new section 13 (16 U.S.C. 742j-l), which is commonly referred to as the Airborne Hunting Act or Shooting from Aircraft Act, prohibits shooting or attempting to shoot or harassing any bird, fish, or other animal from aircraft except for certain specified reasons, including protection of wildlife, livestock, and human life as authorized by a Federal or State issued license or permit. States authorized to issue permits are required to file reports with the Secretary of the Interior containing information on any permits issued.

US - Conservation - Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 16 USC 742a - 742j

The Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. 742a-742j, not including 742 d-l; 70 Stat. 1119), establishes a comprehensive national fish, shellfish, and wildlife resources policy with emphasis on the commercial fishing industry but also with a direction to administer the Act with regard to the inherent right of every citizen and resident to fish for pleasure, enjoyment, and betterment and to maintain and increase public opportunities for recreational use of fish and wildlife resources.  Among other things, it directs a program of continuing research, extension, and information services on fish and wildlife matters, both domestically and internationally.

US - Migratory - Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act 16 USC 718 - 718k

The Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act, or the "Duck Stamp Act," as this March 16, 1934, authority is commonly called, requires each waterfowl hunter 16 years of age or older to possess a valid Federal hunting stamp.  Receipts from the sale of the stamp are deposited in a special Treasury account known as the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund and are not subject to appropriations.  A contest is held each year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to select the design of the stamp.

US - Migratory Bird - Migratory Bird Treaty Act 16 USC 703 - 712

This law implements the treaties that the US has signed with a number of countries protecting birds that migrate across our national borders.  It makes illegal the taking, possessing or selling of protected species. For more, see the Topical Introduction to the MBTA.

US - Funding State - Pittman-Roberson Act (Chapter 5B. Wildlife Restoration) 16 USC 669 - 669k

The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to cooperate with the States, through their respective State fish and game departments, in wildlife-restoration projects.  However, no money shall be expended until the state in question assents to the provisions of this chapter and has passed laws for the conservation of wildlife, which includes a prohibition against the diversion of license fees paid by hunters for any other purpose than the administration of the fish and game department. 

US - Conservation - Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act 16 USC 661 - 667e

The Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 661-667e) of 1934 authorizes the Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce to provide assistance to and cooperate with Federal and State agencies to protect, rear, stock, and increase the supply of game and fur-bearing animals, as well as to study the effects of domestic sewage, trade wastes, and other polluting substances on wildlife.  In addition, this Act authorizes the preparation of plans to protect wildlife resources, the completion of wildlife surveys on public lands, and the acceptance by the Federal agencies of funds or lands for related purposes provided that land donations received the consent of the State in which they are located.

US - Apes - Great Apes Conservation Act of 2000 16 USC 6301 - 6305 The law assists in the conservation of great apes by supporting and providing financial resources for the conservation programs of countries within the range of great apes. Under the law, Great apes include the chimpanzee, gorilla, bonobo, orangutan, and gibbon. The law authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, through the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, to award grants to entities that will promote the conservation of great apes in the wild. The authorization for appropriations is $5 million per year through 2005 with 3% or $80,000, whichever is greater, expended to administer the grants program.
US - Rhinoceros - Chapter 73. Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation. 16 USC 5301 - 5306

The purpose of the Act is to assist in the conservation of rhinoceros and tigers by supporting the conservation programs of nations whose activities affect rhinoceros and tiger populations, as well as those of the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The Act also provides financial resources for those programs.

US - Exotic Birds - Wild Exotic Bird Conservation Act 16 USC 4901 - 4916

The Wild Exotic Bird Conservation Act addresses the population threat to non-indigenous wild birds due to the demand the from U.S. as the number one importer of exotic birds (e.g., the "pet" bird trade).  Exceptions under the statute include qualified breeding facilities, scientific or zoological study, and people returning the U.S. who have been out of the country for more than a year (limited to two birds).

US - Elephant - Asian Elephant Conservation Act 16 USC 4261 - 4266

A U.S. federal law that reaffirms the endangered status of Asian elephants and allocates money toward conservation efforts.

US - Elephant - African Elephant Conservation Act 16 USC 4201 - 4246

A U.S. federal law that reaffirms the endangered status of African elephants and allocates money toward conservation efforts.

US - Lacey Act - Chapter 53. Control of Illegally Taken Fish and Wildlife. 16 USC 3371 - 3378

The Lacey Act provides that it is unlawful for any person to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase any fish or wildlife or plant taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of the United States or in violation of any Indian tribal law whether in interstate or foreign commerce.  All plants or animals taken in violation of the Act are subject to forfeiture as well as all vessels, vehicles, aircraft, and other equipment used in the process. For more, see the Topical Introduction to the Lacey Act.

US - Conservation - Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act 16 USC 2901 - 2912

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, approved September 29, 1980, authorizes financial and technical assistance to the States for the development, revision, and implementation of conservation plans and programs for nongame fish and wildlife. The original Act authorized $5 million for each of Fiscal Years 1982 through 1985, for grants for development and implementation of comprehensive State nongame fish and wildlife plans and for administration of the Act. It also required the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to study potential mechanisms for funding these activities and report to Congress by March 1984.

US - Fisheries - Packwood-Magnuson Amendment 16 USC 1801 - 1803

Aim of statute is the development of United States' controlled fishing conservation and management program designed to prevent overfishing and to rebuild depleted stock.

US - Endangered Species - Chapter 35. Endangered Species. 16 USC 1531 - 1544

This is key law at the national level for the listing and protecting of endangered species and their critical habitat. It also implements the US obligations under the treaty CITES. For more, see the Topical Introduction to the ESA.

US - Marine Mammal Protection Act - Table of Contents 16 USC 1361 - 1421h

The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) is the main regulatory vehicle that protects marine mammal species and their habitats in an effort to main sustainable populations. In doing so, the statute outlines prohibitions, required permits, criminal and civil penalties, and international aspects in addressing marine mammals.  This document provides a table of contents for the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) with links to the specific statutory sections.

US - Marine Mammals- Marine Mammal Protection Act 16 USC 1361 - 1421h The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) is the main regulatory vehicle that protects marine mammal species and their habitats in an effort to main sustainable populations. In doing so, the statute outlines prohibitions, required permits, criminal and civil penalties, and international aspects in addressing marine mammals. Included in the MMPA are provisions to protect dolphins from ocean vessels that harvest tuna with purse seine nets; provisions to protect polar bear; provisions that establish the Marine Mammal Commission and that agency's duties; and provisions for the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, including funding for standing response and unusual mortality events. The Act's 1972 Legislative History is also included.
US - Horse - Wild Horses and Burros Act 16 USC 1331 - 1340

The Wild Horses and Burros Act approved December 15, 1971, provides for protection of wild, free-roaming horses and burros. It directs the Bureau of Land Management of the Department of the Interior and Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture to manage such animals on public lands under their jurisdiction.

US - Seal - Chapter 24. Conservation and Protection of North Pacific Fur Seals. 16 USC 1151 - 1187

The Fur Seal Act of 1966 prohibited, except under specified conditions, the taking, including transportation, importing or possession, of fur seals and sea otters. Exceptions are authorized for Indians, Aleuts, and Eskimos who dwell on the coasts of the North Pacific Ocean, who are permitted to take fur seals and dispose of their skins. The statute also authorized the Secretary of Interior to conduct scientific research on the fur seal resources of the North Pacific Ocean.

US - Whales - Chapter 14A. Whale Conservation and Protection. 16 U.S.C.A. § 917 - 917d

These statutes extended federal authority and responsibility over the conservation and protection of all mammals including certain species of whales. The statutes also granted the Secretary of Commerce with authority to complete a comprehensive study of all whales in an effort to conserve and protect them effectively.

US - Whales - Whaling Convention Act 16 U.S.C.A. § 916 - 916l

These federal statutes describe the Whaling Convention Act which granted authority to the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Commerce for regulation. The Act makes it unlawful for any person in the United States to engage in whaling, transporting, or selling any whale or whale products, that are taken or processed in violation of the Act. The Act also prohibits other unlawful conduct such as whaling without a license and failing to keep required returns, records, and reports.  Finally, the Act provide penalties for violations including a fine of not more than $10,000, imprisonment of not more than one year, or both. In addition the court may prohibit such person from whaling for a period of time.

US - Sharks - Chapter 38. Fishery Conservation and Management 16 U.S.C.A. § 1857

The Shark Conservation Act of 2010 amended § 1857 of the Magnuson–Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The amendment effectively closed a loophole that allowed vessels to transport illegally obtained shark fins so long as no sharks were finned aboard the vessel. The act makes it illegal to remove any of the fins of a shark (including the tail) at sea; to have custody, control, or possession of any such fin aboard a fishing vessel unless it is naturally attached to the corresponding carcass; to transfer any such fin from one vessel to another vessel at sea, or to receive any such fin in such transfer, without the fin naturally attached to the corresponding carcass; or to land any such fin that is not naturally attached to the corresponding carcass, or to land any shark carcass without such fins naturally attached. Essentially, all sharks must be brought aboard with their fins attached. There is a rebuttable presumption under the Act that if any shark fin (including the tail) is found aboard a vessel, other than a fishing vessel, without being naturally attached to the corresponding carcass, such fin was transferred in violation of the Act.

US - Wildlife - Chapter 23. National Wilderness Preservation System. 16 U.S.C.A. §§ 1131 - 1136 Under this Act, Congress established a National Wilderness Preservation System to be composed of federally owned areas designated by Congress as "wilderness areas", and these shall be administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness, and so as to provide for the protection of these areas, the preservation of their wilderness character, and for the gathering and dissemination of information regarding their use and enjoyment as wilderness; and no Federal lands shall be designated as "wilderness areas" except as provided for in this chapter or by a subsequent Act.
US - Conservation - Fish & Wildlife Improvement Act of 1978 16 U.S.C. 742l

The Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act of 1978 authorizes the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce to establish, conduct, and assist with national training programs for State fish and wildlife law enforcement personnel. It also authorized funding for research and development of new or improved methods to support fish and wildlife law enforcement.  The law provides authority to the Secretaries to enter into law enforcement cooperative agreements with State or other Federal agencies, and authorizes the disposal of abandoned or forfeited items under the fish, wildlife, and plant jurisdictions of these Secretaries.

US - Eagle - Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act 16 U.S.C. 668a - d The BGEPA prohibits any form of possession or taking of both bald and golden eagles through criminal and civil sanctions as well as an enhanced penalty provision for subsequent offenses.  Further, the BGEPA provides for the forfeiture of anything used to acquire eagles in violation of the statute.  The statute excepts from its prohibitions on possession the use of eagles or eagle parts for exhibition, scientific, and Indian religious uses. For more, see the Topical Introduction to the BGEPA.
DE - Dangerous - Delaware Dangerous Dog Laws 16 Del.C. §§ 3071F to 3081F

These Delaware statutes comprise the state's dangerous dog laws.  Among the provisions includes the mandatory seizure of dogs who have chased or pursued persons on bicycles twice in a twelve-month period or those that have killed or inflicted serious injury on people or other domestic animals.  However, no dog shall be considered dangerous or potentially dangerous if a person was, at the time the injury was sustained, committing criminal trespass or other tort upon premises occupied by the owner of the dog, or was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog, or was committing or attempting to commit a crime.  An owner who violates the provisions regarding ownership of dangerous dogs faces graduated fines based on the conduct at issue.

DE - Research - Subchapter VI. Research Animal Retirement Act 16 Del.C. § 3090F - 3092F The purpose of this subchapter is to ensure that healthy cats and dogs that are no longer needed for research, education, testing, or other scientific purposes are made available for adoption instead of euthanized and to create a process for adoption through agreements with local shelters or rescue groups. When a research facility no longer needs a cat or dog that does not pose a health or safety risk to the public, the research facility shall either offer the animal to a rescue organization or shelter for adoption or offer it for adoption through private placement.
DE - Property - § 3050F. Dogs deemed personal property; theft; penalty 16 Del.C. § 3050F

Dogs are considered personal property in Delaware.

DE - Tether, dog - Chapter 9. Dogs. 16 Del.C. § 3044F

This Delaware statute addresses the requirements for indoor and outdoor facilities housing dogs. It includes storage, drainage, waste disposal, ventilation, lighting, shelter, height, and surface requirements. Food, water, and use of tethers are also addressed. The tether shall be of a type commonly used for the size dog involved, made of material not normally susceptible to being severed by the dog through chewing or otherwise, and shall be attached to the dog by means of a well-fitted collar that will not cause trauma or injury to the dog. The tether shall be a minimum of 10 feet in length and allow the dog convenient access to the dog house and to food and water containers.

DE - Dogs - Consolidated Dog Laws 16 Del.C. § 3041F - 3059F; 16 Del.C. § 3071F - 3081F; 3 Del.C. § 8201 - 8213; 16 Del.C. §§ 3010F - 3021F; 6 Del.C. § 4001 - 4011; 7 Del.C. § 570; 7 Del.C. § 1701 - 1740; 22 Del.C. § 116

These statutes comprise Delaware's dog laws.  Among the provisions include licensing requirements, laws concerning hunting field trials, and the dangerous dog subchapter.

DE - Spay, Neuter and Feral Cat - Subchapter II. Animal Population Control Program and Spay/Neuter Fund 16 Del.C. § 3010F - 3021F

This chapter represents Delaware's Animal Population Control Program. The section beings with findings from a 2002 study of how many dogs and cats were reclaimed, adopted out, or euthanized. It also has a definitional section that includes a definition for "feral cat." The chapter also describes its funding base and what parties are qualified to receive assistance under the Spay/Neuter Fund. Effective on June 29, 2006, it became mandatory for all cats and/or dogs of reproductive age to be spayed or neutered and inoculated for rabies prior to adoption from any private animal rescue groups and animal shelters.

VT - Domestic Violence - § 1103. Requests for relief. 15 V.S.A. § 1103 Any family or household member may seek relief from abuse by another family or household member on behalf of him- or herself or his or her children by filing a complaint under this chapter. Included among the relief that the court can grant is an order concerning the possession, care, and control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held as a pet by either party or a minor child residing in the household in section (c)(2)(G).
US - Fur - Subchapter IV. Labeling of Fur Products 15 USCA § 69 et seq.

The Fur Products Labeling Act, 15 U.S.C. § 69, declares that fur products will be considered “misbranded” if “falsely or deceptively labeled” or identified, and/or if the product does not contain a label that legibly shows the name(s) of the animals from which the fur was taken, the name or other identification of the person(s) who manufactured the fur, and the country of origin of the fur.  The label must also state, if true, that the fur product contains used or artificially colored fur, and/or if it is “composed in whole or in substantial part of paws, tails, bellies, or waste fur.”  However, the law defines “fur product” as an article of clothing that is made in whole or in part by fur, but states that the Commission can exempt articles because of the small quantity of fur they contain.  The Federal Trade Commission has deemed “relatively small quantity or value” to equal $150, which means “multiple animal pelts [can exist] on a garment without a label.”

US - Horse - Chapter 44. Protection of Horses. 15 U.S.C.A. § 1821 - 1831

The Federal Horse Protection Act of December 2, 1970, states that causing horses to be "sore" or to suffer physical pain and distress for the purpose of improving the horse's performance is cruel and inhumane. This set of statutes describes both lawful and unlawful conduct against horses as well as the civil and criminal penalties that are in place for violating this Act.

OK - Lost Property - Chapter 11. Bailments. Finders of Lost Goods. 15 Okl. St. Ann. § 511 - 518

These statutes comprise Oklahoma's lost property provisions.

VT - Trusts - § 408. Trust for care of animal 14A V.S.A. § 408

This Vermont law enacted in 2009 allows the creation of a trust to provide care of an animal alive during the settlor's lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal or, if the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one animal alive during the settlor's lifetime, upon the death of the last surviving animal.

Pennsylvania Statute Law 1920: Article 14: Criminal Law 14 Pa. Stat. §§ 7700-7783 (1920)

Pennsylvania laws concerning the criminal punishment for cruelty to animals from 1921.  The laws cover such topics as transportation of an animal to the powers of an agent from any Anti-Cruelty society. 

Pennsylvania Statute Laws 1920: Article 16: Agriculture Laws 14 Pa. Stat. §§ 394-402 (1920)

Pennsylvania laws concerning the treatment of animals in agriculture.  The laws cover such topics as maiming and disfiguring animals to the transportation of an animal.

VT - Assistance animal - Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws 13 V.S.A. § 355; 9 V.S.A. § 4502 - 4507; 23 V.S.A. § 1057

The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.

VT - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes 13 V.S.A. § 351 - 400; 20 V.S.A. § 2365b; 24 V.S.A. § 1943

This Vermont statutory section contains the amended anti-cruelty and animal fighting laws.  Animal cruelty, as defined by § 352, occurs when a person overworks, overloads, tortures, torments, abandons, administers poison to, cruelly beats or mutilates an animal, or deprives an animal which a person owns or possesses of adequate food, water, shelter, rest , sanitation, or necessary medical attention.  It is also animal cruelty  if one owns, possesses, keeps or trains an animal engaged in an exhibition of fighting.  The section excludes scientific research activities, hunting, farming, and veterinary activities among others.

Decreto 531, 1967 125338 This Decreto ratifies The Convention for the Protection of Flora, Fauna, and Natural Scenic Beauty of the Americas, signed in Washington on October 12, 1940.
VT - Cruelty - § 5784. Forcible entry of motor vehicle to remove unattended child or animal 12 V.S.A. § 5784 This Vermont law, enacted in 2016, provides that any person who forcibly enter a motor vehicle for the purpose of removing a child or animal from the motor vehicle shall not be subject to civil liability for damages arising from the forcible entry if certain steps are followed.
VT - Equine - § 1039. Equine activities; acceptance of inherent risks 12 V.S.A. § 1039

This statute represents Vermont's equine activity liability law. Under the Act, no person shall be liable for an injury to, or the death of, a participant resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities, insofar as those risks are necessary to the equine activity and obvious to the person injured. An equine activity sponsor may (it does not say "shall") post and maintain signs which contain the warning notice specified in this subsection.

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