California Statutes

Statute by category Citationsort descending Summary
CA - Historical - Statutes of 1900: Sections 597-599c 1900 Cal. Stat. §§ 597 - 599c

The General Laws of California from 1900 covers such sections concerning: Cruelty to Animals, Poisoning of Cattle, killing of birds in cemeteries and killing of gulls or cranes.  The Cruelty to Animal section describes laws concerning horses, abandoned animal, torture and maiming of animals, use of animals in fights, and arrest without warrants.  In addition, the section covers evidence, stallions, and impounding without food and water.  The section about the killing of birds in the cemetery concerns also killing and detaining of homing pigeons.  The last section about killing of gulls and cranes also concerns the destruction of eggs and nests. 

CA - Initiatives - Proposition 2 (farm cruelty) 2008 Proposition 2 This 2008 California initiative measure would add to the Health & Safety Code with a law entitled, "The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act." Specifically, the proposed law requires that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely. Exceptions are made for transportation, rodeos, fairs, 4-H programs, lawful slaughter, research and veterinary purposes. The law provides misdemeanor penalties, including a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or imprisonment in jail for up to 180 days and would go into effect on January 1, 2015. It was approved in November 2008 by a margin of 63% to 37%.
CA - Hunting, Internet - § 3003. Internet hunting and associated activities. Cal. Fish & Game Code §3003

This statute prohibits Internet hunting in the State of California. Under the law, it is unlawful to own or operate a shooting range or site for the purpose of online shooting or spearing of an animal. It is also unlawful to create, maintain, or utilize an Internet Web site, or other service or business in this state, for the purpose of online shooting or spearing of a bird or mammal.

CA - Historical - 1872: Cruelty to Animals Cal. Penal Code 597 (1872)

Enacted February 14, 1872 (almost identical with Field's Draft, Section 699), and then read: "Every person who maliciously kills, maims, or wounds an animal, the property of another, or who maliciously and cruelly beats, tortures, or injures any animal, whether belonging to himself or another, is guilty of a misdemeanor."

CA - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty and Penal Code Sections Cal. Penal Code §§ 286.5; 596 - 600.5

These sections from the California Penal Code detail the crimes associated with animals, including anti-cruelty provisions, animal fighting statutes, unlawful killing methods, horse-specific laws, and a miscellaneous section containing provisions related to guide dogs, police dogs, bestiality, etc.

CA - Historical - General Laws of 1913: Title 14: Section 596-599f Cal. Penal Code §§ 597 - 599f (1913)

The General Laws of California from 1913, title 14, covers Malicious Mischief which includes sections concerning: Cruelty to Animals, Poisoning of Cattle, killing of birds in cemeteries and killing of gulls or cranes.  The Cruelty to Animal section describes laws concerning horses, abandoned animal, torture and maiming of animals, use of animals in fights, and arrest without warrants.  In addition, the section covers evidence, stallions, and impounding without food and water.  The section about the killing of birds in the cemetery concerns also killing and detaining of homing pigeons.  The last section about killing of gulls and cranes also concerns the destruction of eggs and nests.  In addition, the section covers killing of elk and prosecution for these offenses.

CA - Initiatives - Proposition 12 (2018) Proposition 12 (2018) Proposition 12 establishes new minimum space requirements for certain farmed animals, including veal calves, pregnant pigs, and egg-laying hens. It also requires that egg-laying hens be raised in a cage-free environment after December 31, 2021. The measure follows the passage of Proposition 2 in 2008, which banned the sale of products from animals raised in violation of the minimum animal welfare requirements.
CA - Initiatives - Proposition 4 (trapping) Proposition 4 (1998) This state initiative measure was proposed in 1998 and prohibits trapping mammals classified as fur bearing (or non-game) with body gripping traps for recreation or commerce in fur. This includes, but is not limited to, steel-jawed leghold traps, padded-jaw leghold traps, conibear traps, and snares. Cage and box traps, nets, suitcase-type live beaver traps and common rat and mouse traps are not considered body-gripping traps. It passed with 57.5% of the vote.
CA - Initiatives - Proposition 6 (horse slaughter) Proposition 6 (1998) This proposition would prohibit any person from possessing, transferring, receiving or holding any horse, pony, burro or mule with intent to kill it or have it killed, where the person knows or should know that any part of the animal will be used for human consumption. It provides that a violation constitutes a felony offense. There is also a provision making the sale of horsemeat for human consumption a misdemeanor offense, with subsequent violations punished as felonies. The measure was passed in 1998 with 59.4% of the vote.
CA - Veterinary - Chapter 11. Veterinary Medicine. West's Ann. Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 4800 - 4917

These are the state's veterinary practice laws.  Among the provisions include licensing requirements, laws concerning the state veterinary board, veterinary records laws, and the laws governing disciplinary actions for impaired or incompetent practitioners.

CA - Ordinances - Local regulations West's Ann. Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 7582.5

This California statute provides great deference to local municipalities by providing that regulations governing local municipalities shall not infringe upon the police powers of those local units to regulate dogs.  Specifically, it states that this chapter shall not prevent the local authorities in any city, county, or city and county, by ordinance and within the exercise of the police power of the city, county, or city and county from imposing reasonable additional requirements necessary to regulate and control protection dogs according to their local needs and not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter.

CA - Testing, animal - Chapter 2. Deposit for Keeping. Article 1. General Provisions. West's Ann. Cal. Civ. Code § 1833 - 1840

The following statutes requires that a research facility which houses living animals shall provide said animals with veterinary care, food, housing, and treat each animal with kindness. Any violation of the statute could result in civil liability. In addition, the statutes provide that an alternative testing method must be utilized when scientifically validated, recommended by the ICCVAM, and adopted by the appropriate federal agency.

CA - Lost Property - Lost and Unclaimed Property West's Ann. Cal. Civ. Code § 2080 - 2082

This statutory section comprises California's lost property laws.

CA - Damages - Injuries to animals; exemplary damages West's Ann. Cal. Civ. Code § 3340

Exemplary damages may be given for injuries to animals committed in disregard of humanity either willfully or through gross negligence.

CA - Entertainment - Title 4. Motion Pictures (use of animals) West's Ann. Cal. Civ. Code § 3504 - 3508.2

This section of laws provides that it is a nuisance to exhibit a motion picture that depicts any intentional killing of, or cruelty to, a human being or an animal where such intentional killing of, or cruelty to, a human being or an animal actually occurred in the production of the motion picture for the purpose of such production created after January 1, 1979. An action may be brought to abate and prevent the nuisance by the relevant county's district attorney or the California Attorney General. Any violation or disobedience of an injunction or order expressly provided for by this title is punishable as a contempt of court by a fine of not less than two hundred dollars ($200) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).

CA - Fur - § 996. Fur bearing animals raised in captivity; ownership; protection of law West's Ann. Cal. Civ. Code § 996

This California law provides that any furbearing animal whether born in captivity or brought into captivity for the purpose of pelting fur is regarded as personal property, the same as other domestic animals.

CA - Cruelty - Part 9. Societies for Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Animals. West's Ann. Cal. Corp. Code § 10400 - 10406

This set of statutes outlines the rights and responsibilities of corporations that are formed for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

CA - Cruelty - Part 11. Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals West's Ann. Cal. Corp. Code § 14500 - 14505

This section of California laws concerns the formation and powers of societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

CA - Domestic Violence - Inclusion of Animals; Domestic Violence West's Ann. Cal. Fam. Code § 6320 - 6327

On a showing of good cause, the court may include in a protective order a grant to the petitioner of the exclusive care, possession, or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either the petitioner or the respondent or a minor child residing in the residence or household of either the petitioner or the respondent.

CA - Endangered Species - CHAPTER 1.5. ENDANGERED SPECIES West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2050 - 2115.5

The California Fish and Game Code considers that endangered and threatened species are of ecological, educational, historical, recreational, esthetic, economic, and scientific value to the people of the State of California. The State of California has legislation that allows the state to protect endangered and threatened species by acquiring land for these species to protect, restore and enhance the habitat of these species.  Section 2080 prohibits the importing, taking, exporting, possessing, purchasing, or selling, any species, or any part or product thereof that is endangered or threatened.

CA - Fish & Game - Chapter 1. General Definitions West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 1 - 89.5

This chapter includes the general definitions for the Fish and Game Code.

CA - Fish & Game - Chapter 1. Taking and Possessing in General West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2000 - 2022

These sections make it unlawful to take any bird, mammal, fish, reptile, or amphibian except as provided in this code.  Some of the restrictions in the code refer to taking after season, offering a prize or inducement to take game, setting a bounty for an animal, using sniper scopes, artificial lights, or trap guns.  Section 2009 also makes it a crime willfully interfere with the participation of any individual in the lawful activity of shooting, hunting, or fishing.

CA - Wild Animal - Chapter 2. Importation, Transportation, and Sheltering of Restricted Live Wild Animals. West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2116 - 2203

The California Legislature adopted this act based on a findings that wild animals are captured for importation and resold in California and that some populations of wild animals are being depleted, that many animals die in captivity or transit, and that some keepers of wild animals lack sufficient knowledge or facilities for the proper care of wild animals.  It was the intention of the Legislature to regulate the importation, transportation, and possession of wild animals to protect the native wildlife and agricultural interests against damage from the existence at large of certain wild animals, and to protect the public health and safety in this state.  The act defines "wild animal" and classifies them by species.  Among other things, the act also includes inspection and permit provisions that govern the treatment of wild animals and the actions that may be taken where they are concerned.

CA - Hunting - § 2124. Possession, purchase, sale or transfer of wild animals West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2124

Under this California law, it is unlawful for any person to possess, transport, import, export, propagate, purchase, sell, or transfer any live mammal for the purposes of maiming, injuring, or killing the mammal for gain, amusement, or sport.

CA - Elephant Training - § 2128. Elephants; prohibited practices; penalties West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2128

This statute (operative on January 1, 2018) prohibits a person who houses, possesses, manages, or is in direct contact with an elephant from using a billhook, ankus, baseball bat, axe handle, pitchfork, and other devices that inflict pain for the purpose of training or controlling the elephant. Any person caught in violation of this statute will be subject to civil penalty and a suspension or revocation of his or her license to lawfully possess the animal. 

CA - Fish & Game - Chapter 6.5. Control of Illegally Taken Fish and Wildlife West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2580 - 2589

This set of laws outlines various violations involving the possession and movement of illegally obtained animals and imposes liability for those activities.

CA - Marine - Chapter 10.5. Marine Life Protection Act. West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2850 - 2863

In this act, the California Legislature finds and declares a need to reexamine and redesign California's marine protected area systems to increase its effectiveness at protecting the state's marine life, habitat, and ecosystems.  To improve the design and management of that system, the Marine Life Protection Program was adopted. A few of the Program's goals are to protect the natural diversity and abundance of marine life, to help sustain, conserve, and protect marine life populations, and rebuild those that are depleted.

CA - Hunting - Article 1. Methods of Taking (including trapping methods) West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 3000 - 3012

These sections pertain to hunting in California. A hunting license is required, and certain hunting methods are prohibited, such as night hunting, hunting while intoxicated, shooting at an animal from a vehicle, Internet hunting, the use of body-gripping or metal-jawed traps, the use of certain poisons and lead bullets, and the use of bird or mammal calls.

CA - Hunting - Article 2. Hunting Licenses West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 3031 - 3040

These sections outline the general licensing requirements for hunting in the State of California.  The provisions contain age and residency requirements,  grant lifetime licenses in certain instances, and outline preferences for members of the armed forces and veterans.

CA - Hunting - Article 2.5. Hunter's Safety. West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 3049 - 3055.1

The Legislature of California in these sections finds and declares that individuals who engage in hunting should possess an adequate understanding of hunter safety practices, principles of conservation, and sportsmanship.  In order to achieve these goals, hunters must procure a license and complete a course in hunter safety.

CA - Birds - Part 2. Birds. West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 3500 - 3864

These various sections are all related to the protection of birds in California.  Within these sections, the Legislature has enumerated fully protected birds in the state, prohibited activities such as destroying bird nests and eggs, required licenses for duck hunting, and outlined several provisions to guide state efforts in preserving and rehabilitating the California Condor.

CA - Hunting - § 3511. Fully protected birds; permits or licenses; necessary scientific research; legal imports; West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 3511

California law specifically states that no other statutes are to be construed to allow the taking of state protected birds, of which the golden eagle and bald eagle are listed, and any licenses issued to take protected birds are void unless issued for scientific or depredation purposes.

CA - Hunting - § 3513. Migratory nongame birds; protection West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 3513

California law reiterates that it is illegal to take or possess any bird or its parts that is listed under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, of which the eagle is listed. .

CA - Trapping - Chapter 2. Fur-Bearing Mammals Article 1. Trapping Provisions West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4000 - 4012

These provisions regulate the fur trade. Fur-bearing mammals may be taken only with a trap, a firearm, bow and arrow, poison (with permit), or with the use of dogs. It is illegal to trap without a license and certain types of traps are not allowed. Fur dealers must have a license, with exceptions. Fur dealers are required to maintain complete records and are prohibited from purchasing raw furs from any person who does not hold a valid trapping license, fur dealer license, or fur agent license.

CA - Trapping - Chapter 2. Fur-Bearing Mammals Article 2. Fur Dealer License West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4030 - 4043

These provisions outline the requirements for fur dealers.  Every person engaging in the business of buying, selling, trading or dealing in raw furs of fur-bearing mammals or nongame mammals is a fur dealer and shall procure a fur dealer license.  An exception is made for those dealers that trap and sell raw furs which he has lawfully taken, or a domesticated game breeder selling raw furs of animals which he has raised.  Fur dealers are required to maintain complete recordings for all of the furs they trade or sell and are prohibited from purchasing raw fur of any fur-bearing mammal or nongame mammal from any person who does not hold a valid trapping license, fur dealer license, or fur agent license.

CA - Hunting - Chapter 3. Nongame Mammals and Depredators West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4150 - 4155, 4180 - 4190

These sections regulate the taking and killing of nongame mammals and depredatory animals. Nongame and fur-bearing mammals that are injuring crops or other property may be taken at any time or in any manner in accordance with this code. In some cases, a permit is required. It is unlawful to use snares, hooks, or barbed wire to remove from the den, or fire to kill in the den, any immature predatory mammal. Predators that are relocated by the department must be tagged.

CA - Hunting - Chapter 4. Deer. West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4301 - 4304

These sections regulate the selling of deer meat and other parts of the deer, namely the skin, hide and head.  Once a deer has been legally taken, the code allows the skin or hide to be sold, purchased, tanned, or manufactured into articles for sale.  There is also a provision which prohibits the capturing or destroying of any deer and detaching or removing from the carcass only the head, hide, antlers, or horn.  This same section also forbids any person from leaving through carelessness or neglect any game mammal or game bird which is in his possession, or any portion of the flesh thereof usually eaten by humans, to go needlessly to waste.

CA - Hunting - Chapter 4. Deer. Article 2. License Tags West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4330 - 4341

These provisions relate to the license requirements for deer hunting for both residents and nonresidents of California.  For example, the holder of a deer tag license shall carry the tag while hunting deer, and upon the killing of any deer, shall immediately fill out the tag and permanently mark the date of the kill. The deer tag shall be immediately attached to the antlers of antlered deer or to the ear of any other deer and kept attached during the open season and for 15 days thereafter.

CA - Hunting - Chapter 4. Deer. Article 3. Archery Deer Hunting. West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4370 - 4371

These two sections govern archery deer hunting in California. Archery hunting is done with a bow and arrow and hunters which participate in this type of hunting are restricted from carrying a firearm.

CA - Hunting - Chapter 5. Management of Deer West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 450 - 460

In an effort to to encourage the conservation, restoration, maintenance, and utilization of California's wild deer populations, these sections mandate the creation of plans for deer herd management units. Such units may encompass a single deer herd or a group of deer herds having similar management and habitat requirements and characteristics. The objectives of such management plans are the restoration and maintenance of healthy deer herds in the wild state and to provide for high quality and diversified use of deer in California.

CA - Burro - § 4600. Killing or capturing undomesticated burro; prima facie evidence West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4600

This section makes it unlawful to kill, wound, capture, or have in possession any undomesticated burro. An undomesticated burro is a wild burro or a burro which has not been tamed or domesticated for a period of three years after its capture.

CA - Pigs, Wild - Chapter 7. Wild Pigs West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4650 - 4657

These provisions make it unlawful to take any wild pig in California without first procuring a license tag authorizing the taking.  These sections outline the requirements for licenses and require plans for the management of wild pigs. Under these plans, the status and trend of wild pig populations are determined and management units shall be designated within the state.

CA - Mammals - § 4700. Taking or possession prohibited; scientific research; legal imports; West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4700

This statute enumerates the fully protected mammals in the state of California.  These animals may not be taken or possessed at any time.  The statute also specifically states that permits or licenses to take these animals will not be issued, with a possible exception in the case of necessary scientific research.

CA - Hunting Bears - Chapter 9. Bear West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4750 - 4763

These sections outline the requirements for taking a bear in California.  It is unlawful, for example, to take any bear with a firearm, trap, or bow and arrow without first procuring a license tag authorizing the taking.  These sections list the license requirements and other restrictions on the method of taking, including penalties for violations.

CA - Mountain Lions - Chapter 10. Mountain Lions West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4800 - 4810

California statutes make mountain lions specially protected mammals.  These sections make it unlawful to take, injure, possess, transport, import, or sell any mountain lion or any part or product thereof.  Specific exceptions to these prohibitions include instances where a mountain lion is perceived to be an imminent threat to public health or safety or when it is perceived by to be an imminent threat to the survival of any threatened, endangered, candidate, or fully protected sheep species. 

CA - Bighorn Sheep - Chapter 11. Bighorn Sheep West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 4900 - 4904

The California Legislature declares that bighorn sheep are an important wildlife resource of the state to be managed and maintained at sound biological levels. The policy of the state is to encourage the preservation, restoration, utilization, and management of California's bighorn sheep population. To achieve these goals, these sections provide for the creation of management unit plans. 

CA - Reptiles & Amphibians - Division 5. Protected Reptiles and Amphibians West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 5000 - 5062

These sections are the California statutes that specifically protect certain reptiles and amphibians.  The sections enumerate the protected species and strictly prohibit taking and possession, with  a narrow exception that may be granted by permit to an educational or scientific institution or a public zoological garden.

CA - Fishing, Sport - Sport Fishing Provisions West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 7100 - 7400

These provisions apply to the taking and possession of fish for any purpose other than commercial.  The provisions outline license requirements, bag limits and possession requirements for various types of fish, as well as enumerate certain sale and taking prohibitions.

CA - Humane Slaughter - Chapter 6. Slaughter West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 19501 - 19503

This California section constitutes the humane slaughter provisions for cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep, swine, goats, fallow deer, and poultry.  The law provides that the animal shall be rendered insensible to pain by a captive bolt, gunshot, electrical or chemical means, or any other means that is rapid and effective before being cut, shackled, hoisted, thrown, or cast, with the exception of poultry which may be shackled.  Note that despite the section covering poultry, it does not apply to the slaughter of spent hens and small game birds, as defined by the department by regulation. 

CA - Licenses - City dog license tags; compliance with division West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 30502

This California statute provides that any dog tag issued pursuant to ordinance by a city or county will be valid provided it complies with this division, provides for the wearing of the license tag upon the collar of the dog, and provides for the keeping of a record which shall establish the identity of the person that owns or harbors the dog.  

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