Animal Fighting: Related Statutes

Statute by categorysort descending Citation Summary
NJ - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes NJSA 4:22-10 to 4:22-60

These New Jersey statutes comprise the state's anti-cruelty provisions.  According to the definitional section, "animal" or "creature" includes the whole brute creation.  Exclusions under the act include state regulated scientific experiments, state sanctioned killing of animals, hunting of game, training of dogs, normal livestock operations, and the killing of rats and mice.  With regard to livestock practices, no person may be cited or arrested for a first offense involving a minor or incidental violation of any provision of this title involving alleged cruelty to domestic livestock unless that person has first been issued a written warning. 

NM - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes NMSA 1978, § 30-18-1 to 30-18-15

This section comprises the New Mexico anti-animal cruelty provisions.  As used in this section, "animal" does not include insects or reptiles.  Cruelty to animals occurs when person negligently mistreats, injures, kills without lawful justification or torments an animal or abandons or fails to provide necessary sustenance to an animal under that person's custody or control.  Extreme cruelty to animals, a fourth-degree felony, consists of a person intentionally or maliciously torturing, mutilating, injuring or poisoning an animal or maliciously killing an animal.  Upon conviction, the court may order a person to participate in an animal cruelty prevention program or an animal cruelty education program, or to obtain psychological counseling for treatment of a mental health disorder.

NV - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes N. R. S. 574.010 to 574.550

This comprehensive section comprises the Nevada anti-cruelty statutes.  The section first empowers private prevention of cruelty to animals societies and outlines their powers and responsibilities, including the power to arrest.  Under this section, "animal" does not include the human race, but includes every other living creature.  Animal cruelty, as described in Section 574.100, prohibits the overdriving, overloading, torture, cruel beating or unjustifiable injuring, maiming, mutilation or killing of an animal, as well as the deprivation of necessary sustenance, food or drink.  The first offense under this section is a misdemeanor with enhancement to a felony for a third or subsequent convictions.  Animals fighting is also prohibited under the section, with enhanced sentences for subsequent convictions.  Other specific crimes include mistreatment of dogs, abandonment of animals, poisoning (although the section does not prohibit the destruction of "noxious animals"), and basic requirements for the care of dogs and cats kept in kennels or sold by pounds or pet shops.

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; 21 Okl. St. Ann. § 886

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. § 5531 - 5561; 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3129 This document contains Pennsylvania's anti-cruelty laws that were amended in 2017. 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.
RI - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Laws (Chapter 1. Cruelty to Animals) Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-1-1 - 43; 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 - 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, 43

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 218

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 V.T.C.A., Penal Code § 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; 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.

WA - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Laws (Chapter 16.52) West's RCWA 16.52.010 - 350

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; W. Va. Code, § 19-33-1 - 5

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, making it a felony if the animal is a dog or other fur-bearing animal ("canine, feline, porcine, bovine, or equine species whether wild or domesticated"), and a misdemeanor if not (i.e., cockfighting).

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.

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