Animal Fighting: Related Statutes

Statute by categorysort descending Citation Summary
NY - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes McKinney's Agriculture and Markets Law § 331 - 379; McKinney's Penal Law § 130.20

These New York statutes comprise the state's anti-cruelty provisions.  "Animal" includes every living creature except a human being.  A person who overdrives, overloads, tortures or cruelly beats or unjustifiably injures, maims, mutilates or kills any animal, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, food or drink, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by both.  Exclusions include properly conducted scientific tests, experiments or investigations, involving the use of living animals approved by the state commissioner of health.

OH - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes R.C. § 959.01 - 959.99

These statutes comprise Ohio's anti-animal cruelty and animal fighting provisions.  Included in the prohibited acts are abandoning domestic animals, willfully injuring or poisoning domestic or agricultural animals, drugging animals in competition, and "cruel" acts to both wild and domestic animals as defined by statute.  The section also prohibits dogfighting and cockfighting.

OK - Cruelty - Animal Facilities Protection Act/Consolidated Cruelty Laws 21 Okl. St. Ann. 1680 - 1700

These Oklahoma statutes comprise the Animal Protection Act.  The main thrust of the act is the prohibition of animal cruelty and animal fighting.  Included in the provisions are the definitions (including the statutory definition of "animal") and the prohibited acts related to animal facilities.  The statute further provides that no one shall intentionally damage the enterprise conducted at an animal facility (including releasing animals there with the intent to deprive the owner of such facility).  Violation incurs a felony with a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment up to seven years or both.

OK - Initiative - State Question 687/Initiative Petition 365 (Ban Cockfighting) State Question 687/Initiative Petition 365 (Ban Cockfighting) This petition makes it a felony to instigate or encourage cockfighting, possess or train birds for cockfighting, or maintain a facility for cockfighting in the state of Oklahoma. The ballot proposal also makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly be a spectator at a cockfight. It passed in 2002 with 56% of the vote.
OR - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes O. R. S. § 167.305- 390

These Oregon statutes comprise the state's anti-cruelty laws.  "Animal" means any nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian or fish.  The term "assault," which is generally associated with human crimes, is used to define certain crimes against animals.  Animal abuse may be elevated to a felony offense if the act was committed directly in front of a minor child or if the perpetrator was previously convicted of domestic violence.

PA - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5511 - 5511.3; 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3129

This section constitutes the Pennsylvania anti-cruelty provisions.  The section distinguishes between misdemeanor and felony cruelty and the type of animal involved.  Misdemeanor cruelty (a fine of $500) occurs when a person kills, maims or disfigures any domestic animal of another person, administers or exposes a domestic animal to poison, or interferes with a guide or service animal.  A person commits a felony of the third degree if he or she willfully and maliciously kills, maims or disfigures any zoo animal in captivity or intentionally administers poison to such. Any person convicted of violating the provisions of this paragraph shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $1,000 or to imprisonment for not more than two years, or both, and the court may also order a presentence mental evaluation.  A subsequent conviction under this paragraph shall be a felony of the third degree. Also included in these provisions is the Horse Transport Law , which prohibits the transporting of horses stacked on top of each other. Exclusions under the act include the killing of animals found to be destroying domestic animals, the hunting of game animals, the killing of dogs declared nuisances, and pest control.

RI - Cruelty - Chapter 1. Cruelty to Animals Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-1-1 - 42; Gen.Laws 1956, § 11-10-1

These Rhode Island statutes comprise the state's anti-cruelty and animal fighting provisions.  The cruelty law provides that whoever overdrives, overloads, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, or cruelly beats, mutilates or kills any animal , is subject to imprisonment up to 11 months, or a fine of $50.00 - $500, or both.  The intentional cruelty provision expands the penalty to 2 years possible imprisonment or a fine of $1,000, or both.

SC - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes Code 1976 § 47-1-10 - 210; Code 1976 § 16-15-120

This South Carolina subsection comprises the state's anti-cruelty laws.  The term "animal" under this subchapter includes all living vertebrate creatures except homo sapiens (but see the exclusion section where fowl are specifically excluded).  Animal cruelty occurs when a person knowingly or intentionally overloads, overdrives, overworks, ill-treats any animal, deprives any animal of necessary sustenance or shelter, inflicts unnecessary pain or suffering upon any animal, or by omission or commission knowingly or intentionally causes these things to be done.  The statute also has a felony provision for the torture, tormenting, needless mutilation, cruel killing, or infliction of excessive or repeated unnecessary pain.

SC - Dogfighting - Chapter 27. Animal Fighting and Baiting Act. Code 1976 § 16-27-10 to 80

This South Carolina section comprises the state's Animal Fighting and Baiting Act.  Under the Act, any person who owns an animal for the purpose of fighting or baiting, is a party to any fighting or baiting of any animal, or obtains the use of any structure for the purpose of fighting or baiting any animal is guilty of a felony and upon conviction must be punished by a fine of $5000 or 5 years imprisonment or both.  The section also provides for seizure and forfeiture of animals used in fighting operations.

SD - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes S D C L § 9-29-11; S D C L § 40-1-1 - 41; S D C L § 40-2-1 - 9; S D C L § 43-39-12, 12.1; SDCL § 22-22-42

These South Dakota statutes comprise the state's anti-cruelty and animal fighting provisions.  "Animal," any mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, or fish, except humans.  "Cruelty” means to intentionally, willfully, and maliciously inflict gross physical abuse on an animal that causes prolonged pain, that causes serious physical injury, or that results in the death of the animal. Any person who subjects an animal to cruelty is guilty of a Class 6 felony. “Neglect,” means to fail to provide food, water, protection from the elements, adequate sanitation, adequate facilities, or care generally considered to be standard and accepted for an animal's health and well-being consistent with the species, breed, physical condition, and type of animal. Any person who neglects an animal is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Exemptions include regulated scientific experiments using live animals and the destruction of dangerous animals.

TN - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes T. C. A. § 39-14-201 to 217

These Tennessee anti-cruelty provisions define "animal" as a domesticated living creature or a wild creature previously captured.  A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals (a Class A misdemeanor)  if he or she intentionally or knowingly tortures, maims or grossly overworks an animal; fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, water, care or shelter for an animal in the person's custody; abandons unreasonably an animal in the person's custody; transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner; or inflicts burns, cuts, lacerations, or other injuries or pain.  Animal fighting is also prohibited under this section, with dog fighting incurring a felony penalty and cockfighting resulting in a misdemeanor in most cases.  A person commits aggravated cruelty (a Class E felony) to animals when, with aggravated cruelty and with no justifiable purpose, he or she intentionally kills or intentionally causes serious physical injury to a companion animal.  Exclusions include animal farming, research, veterinary practices, hunting, trapping, "dispatching" rabid animals or wild animals on one's property, among other things.

TX - Cruelty - Chapter 821. Treatment and Disposition of Animals. V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code § 821.001 - 026; § 821.051 - 057; § 821.076 - 081

This Texas section addresses the treatment of animals and disposition of cruelly treated animals. 

TX - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes TX PENAL § 42.09; § 42.091; § 42.092; § 42.10; § 42.105

These comprise Texas' anti-cruelty laws.  Texas has laws that prohibit cruelty to both livestock (§ 42.09) and non-livestock animals (§ 42.092).  Both laws requires a scienter of intentionally or knowingly, and enumerate limited defenses.  "Animal" means a domesticated living creature and wild living creature previously captured but does not include an uncaptured wild creature.  Also included is Texas animal fighting provision, which criminalizes being a spectator at an animal fighting exhibition among other things. In 2011, Texas enacted a law prohibiting cockfighting.

TX - Fighting - § 42.10. Dog Fighting. V. T. C. A., Penal Code § 42.10

Texas criminal statute that prohibits dog fighting. Actions ranging from causing a dog to fight with another to attending a dog fight as a spectator are prohibited. To constitute an offense, one must demonstrate the requisite intent of intentionally or knowingly.

US - AWA - 2007 Public Law110-22 2007 PL 110-22 The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007 was signed into law on May 3, 2007. The law upgrades current penalties by creating felony-level jail time (up to 3 years) for violations of the federal animal fighting law, and it also prohibits interstate and foreign commerce of cockfighting weapons (e.g., knife, gaff, etc.).
UT - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes U.C.A. 1953 § 76-9-301 - 307

These Utah statutes comprise the state's anti-cruelty provisions.  "Animal" is defined as a live, nonhuman vertebrate creature, but animals raised for agricultural purposes and wildlife are excluded from the definition.  A person is guilty of cruelty to animals if the person intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence fails to provide necessary food, care, or shelter for an animal in his custody, abandons an animal in the person's custody, transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner, injures an animal, or causes any animal to fight with another animal for amusement or gain.  Aggravated cruelty (i.e., torturing, poisoning, or intentionally killing an animal) and dogfighting incur stiffer penalties.

VA - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes Va. Code Ann. §§ 3.2-6500 - 6590; Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-361

These Virginia statutes set forth Title 3.2, the Comprehensive Animal Care laws, which include the state's anti-cruelty and animal fighting provisions. For the purposes of § 3.2-6570, the operative animal cruelty law, animal means any nonhuman vertebrate species including fish except those fish captured and killed or disposed of in a reasonable and customary manner. The section has a misdemeanor animal cruelty law as well as a felony provision related to torture or willful infliction of cruelty. The section requires companion animal owners to provide adequate care.

VA - Fighting - § 3.2-6571. Animal fighting; penalty Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6571

This section makes it unlawful to knowingly promote, prepare, engage in or attend an exhibition of the fighting of animals. The violation becomes a Class 6 felony if: 1) one of the animals is a dog; 2) a device or substance is used to enhance the dog's ability to fight; 3) money or something else of value is wagered; 4) admission is paid; 5) an animal is owned or possessed with the intent to engage in an animal fight; or 6) a person causes a minor to attend or undertake in the activities. An animal used in fighting may be confiscated by law enforcement. Additionally, any person convicted of violating any listed provision shall be prohibited by the court from possession or ownership of companion animals or cocks.

VT - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes 13 V.S.A. § 351 - 400

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.

WA - Cruelty - Chapter 16.52. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. West's RCWA 16.52.010 - 320

This section of statutes contains Washington's anti-cruelty provisions.  Under the section, "animal" means any nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian.  WA ST 16.52.205 and WA ST 16.52.207 are the primary anti-cruelty provisions that categorize cruelty in either the first or second degree.  A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the first degree (a class C felony) when he or she intentionally inflicts substantial pain on, causes physical injury to, or kills an animal by a means causing undue suffering, or forces a minor to inflict unnecessary pain, injury, or death on an animal.  A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree (a misdemeanor) if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the person knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence inflicts unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal.  An owner of an animal is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree the owner knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence fails to provide the animal with necessary food, water, shelter, rest, sanitation, ventilation, space, or medical attention and the animal suffers unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain as a result of the failure, or if he or she abandons the animal.

WI - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes W. S. A. 951.01 - 18; W.S.A. 944.17

This section comprises the Wisconsin anti-cruelty section.  Under the section, "animal" includes every living warm-blooded creature (except a human being), reptile, or amphibian.  The section prohibits "mistreating animals," which is defined as treating any animal, whether belonging to the person or another, in a cruel manner.  This section does not prohibit bona fide experiments carried on for scientific research or normal and accepted veterinary practices.  This section also prohibits the instigation of dogfights, and has a unique provisions that prohibits the shooting of caged or staked animals.

WV - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes W. Va. Code, § 7-10-1 to 5; W. Va. Code, § 61-8-19 to 23

These West Virginia statutes comprise the state's anti-cruelty and animal fighting provisions.  If any person cruelly mistreats, abandons or withholds proper sustenance, including food, water, shelter or medical treatment, necessary to sustain normal health and fitness or to end suffering or abandons any animal to die, or uses, trains or possesses any domesticated animal for the purpose of seizing, detaining or maltreating any other domesticated animal, he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor.  If any person intentionally tortures or maliciously kills an animal, or causes, procures or authorizes any other person to torture or maliciously kill an animal, he or she is guilty of a felony.  The provisions of this section do not apply to lawful acts of hunting, fishing, trapping or animal training or farm livestock, poultry, gaming fowl or wildlife kept in private or licensed game farms if kept and maintained according to usual and accepted standards of livestock, poultry, gaming fowl or wildlife or game farm production and management.  The section also prohibits animal fighting as a misdemeanor unless the animals involved were wild game or fur-bearing animals, in which case it becomes a felony.

WY - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes W. S. 1977 § 6-3-203

Wyoming amended its cruelty law in early 2011 to include the new offense of "household pet animal cruelty." Under the general anti-cruelty part of the law, a person commits cruelty to animals if he or she  knowingly and with intent to cause death, injury or undue suffering overrides an animal or drives an animal when overloaded, unnecessarily or cruelly beats, tortures, torments, injures, mutilates or attempts to kill an animal, or carries an animal in a manner that poses undue risk of injury or death.  The neglect component provides that person who has charge and custody of any animal and unnecessarily fails to provide it with the proper food, drink or protection from the weather, or cruelly abandons the animal, or fails to provide the animal with appropriate medical care is also guilty of cruelty.