Full Title Name:  2015 State Law Amendment Table

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Rebecca F. Wisch Publish Year:  2016 Place of Publication:  Michigan State University College of Law Primary Citation:  Animal Legal & Historical Center

This table summarizes the statutory amendments that occurred in 2015. The table gives a brief description of the changes and links to the actual text of the laws.

As was the case with the past few years, many animal-related amendments occurred in states' anti-cruelty laws. Delaware and Washington enacted "pets in hot cars" laws in their cruelty codes. Wisconsin added a law that provides immunity from civil liability for a person who enters a car to rescue an animal or person who is in "imminent danger." Georgia passed amendments to laws on injuring law enforcement animals. The changes created graduated degrees of harm to the animal from fourth to first with increasing associated penalties. Washington added language in its animal fighting law related to causing minor to become engaged in animal fighting activities a crime. Both New Jersey and Oregon added or enhanced laws related to the sexual assault of animals. Virginia and Utah created new provisions that addressed "horse tripping" (although Utah's law focuses more on reporting than penalizing).

The issue of canine and police encounters also gathered momentum in state legislatures. Colorado added a provision to its Dog Protection Act establishing a task force made up of seventeen members represented a victim of a dog shooting, veterinarians, animal welfare advocates, animal behaviorists, animal control officers, the sheriffs, the police, and legal professionals. A new law in Nevada states that "each law enforcement agency shall adopt policies setting forth when a peace officer who is employed by the agency is required to be trained in effective responses to incidents involving dogs or where dogs are present."

In laws related to service animals and public access, a few states amended their laws to conform to federal definitions for terms. In fact, many of those states simply reference the federal definition under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Florida and Michigan joined other states that have criminal laws on misrepresenting a pet as a service animal to gain access with that animal.

Laws on the sale of pets also arose on legislative fronts. Virginia banned the sale of pets at flea markets and parking lot-style venues. New Jersey adopted new standards for breeders and brokers of dogs under its pet purchaser protection laws.

Lastly, some miscellaneous laws were passed. Louisiana became the 49th state to enact a pet trust law allowing individuals to create a trust and appoint a caretaker for animals after death. Texas enacted a law banning trade in shark fins in the state regardless of where the sharks were caught.

These are just a few of the many changes. By browsing the table below, major animal law changes can be viewed for each state.





Ala. Code 1975 § 13A-12-5, Repealed by Act 2015-70, § 1(21), effective April 21, 2015

Ala. Code 1975 § 9-11-306



The law on "unlawful bear exploitation" was repealed in 2015 (repealed by Act 2015-70, § 1(21), effective April 21, 2015). The previous law essentially outlawed bear wrestling, making it a Class B felony.


The law that detailed procedures for the impoundment of dogs in wildlife management areas was repealed by Act 2015-70, § 1(12), effective April 21, 2015. The prior law stated that when a dog was found in violation in a wildlife management area, it shall be impounded. After impoundment of any such dog, the Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources had to publish in at least one paper of general circulation a notice that describes the dog and the circumstances of the impoundment. An owner could then redeem the dog for any fines and $5.00 to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to cover the cost of impounding and advertising or else the dog would be destroyed.


   No major statutory changes.


A. R. S. § 11-1013

A. R. S. § 17-306

Impoundment of dogs and cats:

Section § 11–1013 on the establishment of county pounds and the disposition of impounded animals added some language in 2015 that changed holding periods for impounded dogs and cats. Now, in subsection c, stray dogs and cats, who are not eligible for a "sterilization program" are kept for the minimum holding period (72-hours). The amendments added language that an animal impounded with a microchip or wearing a license or any other discernible form of owner identification must be held for a minimum of 120 hours. Finally, this language was added to the end:

Any impounded cat that is eligible for a sterilization program and that will be returned to the vicinity where the cat was originally captured may be exempted from the mandatory holding period required by this subsection. For the purposes of this subsection, “eligible” means a cat that is living outdoors, lacks discernible identification, is of sound health and possesses its claws.

A. R. S. § 11-1013


In the law on importation, transportation, and release of wildlife, language was added concerning the intentional release of endangered species without permission:

B. It is unlawful for a person to knowingly and without lawful authority under state or federal law import and transport into this state and release within this state a species of wildlife that is listed as a threatened, endangered or candidate species under the endangered species act of 1973 (P.L. 93–205; 87 Stat. 884; 16 United States Code sections 1531 through 1544).

C. A person who violates subsection B of this section is guilty of a class 6 felony.

D. A person who violates subsection B of this section with the intent to disrupt or interfere with the development or use of public natural resources to establish the presence of the species in an area not currently known to be occupied by that species is guilty of a class 4 felony.

A. R. S. § 17-306.


   No major statutory changes.


West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2022 

CA BUS & PROF § 4836.1

Ivory/rhino horn ban:

A law was enacted in 2015 (effective on January 1, 2016) making it unlawful to purchase, sell, offer for sale, possess with intent to sell, or import with intent to sell ivory or rhinoceros horn, except as provided. Criminal penalties are imposed, with a fine of $1,000 - 10,000 for a first conviction, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 30 days, or by both the fine and imprisonment. For violations where the value of the ivory exceeds certain dollar values, the penalty is increased. Likewise, the penalty increases for second and subsequent convictions.

Veterinary Practice:

Section § 4836.1 added to the veterinary practice code related to veterinary assistants. This section relates to the authority of vet assistants administering controlled substances to animal patients.

CA BUS & PROF § 4836.1


C.R.S.A. § 29-5-112

Law Enforcement and Dogs ("Dog Protection Act"):

The Dog Protection Act (the law that deals with training of law enforcement to reduce fatal canine encounters) received an amendment. Under the section on the legislative declaration, the following subsection was added:

(c) Recognize the important work of the dog protection task force in developing the training and incorporating the specifics of the training into the statutes. The seventeen members appointed to the task force represented a victim of a dog shooting, veterinarians, animal welfare advocates, animal behaviorists, animal control officers, the sheriffs, the police, and legal professionals. The training includes instruction regarding a dog's body language and how to interpret it, scene assessment, tools to use in dog encounters, situations involving multiple dogs, how to interact with a dog, and responses to dog behavior. The dog encounters training required by this section was designed to protect law enforcement officers, animal control officers, dog owners, innocent bystanders, and the dog. The training is not intended to provide dangerous dog training. Most importantly, the training was designed to limit, as much as feasible, the instances in which an officer would need to use deadly force against a dog, since the possibility of collateral damage, injury, or death from stray rounds is ever-present when a law enforcement officer uses deadly force.

C.R.S.A. § 29-5-112


C. G. S. A. § 22-357

Police Dogs:

In Section 22-357, "Damage by dogs to person or property," S.B. 802 added text to the law concerning liability for damage caused by a police dog. The act resulted in the following language being added to 22-357:

In an action under this section against a household member of a law enforcement officer to whom has been assigned a dog owned by a law enforcement agency of the state, any political subdivision of the state or the federal government for damage done by such dog, it shall be presumed that such household member is not a keeper of such dog and the burden of proof shall be upon the plaintiff to establish that such household member was a keeper of such dog and had exclusive control of such dog at the time such damage was sustained.

C. G. S. A. § 22-357


11 Del.C. § 1325

9 Del.C. § 920



Delaware added a "pets in hot cars" law in 2015. The law became part of the anti-cruelty code. A person is guilty of cruelty to animals when the person intentionally or recklessly:

(6) Confines an animal unattended in a standing or parked motor vehicle in which the temperature is either so high or so low as to endanger the health or safety of the animal. A law enforcement officer, animal control officer, animal cruelty investigator, or firefighter who has probable cause to believe that an animal is confined in a motor vehicle under conditions that are likely to cause suffering, injury, or death to the animal may use reasonable force to remove the animal left in the vehicle in violation of this provision. A person removing an animal under this section shall use reasonable means to contact the owner. If the person is unable to contact the owner, the person may take the animal to an animal shelter and must leave written notice bearing his or her name and office, and the address of the location where the animal can be claimed. This provision shall not apply to the legal transportation of horses, cattle, swine, sheep, poultry, or other agricultural animals in motor vehicles designed to transport such animals. The owner of the vehicle from which the animal is rescued and the owner of the animal rescued are not liable for injuries suffered by the person rescuing the animal.

* * *

Cruelty to animals is a class A misdemeanor, unless the person intentionally kills or causes serious injury to any animal in violation of paragraph (b)(4) of this section or unless the animal is killed or seriously injured as a result of any action prohibited by paragraph (b)(5) of this section, in which case it is a class F felony.

11 Del.C. § 1325

Dangerous Dogs:

The term "cat" was added to the definition for "domestic animal" in the dangerous dog laws:

(5) “Domestic animal” shall mean any dog, cat, poultry or livestock.

9 Del.C. § 920. Previously, the law just had the terms dog, poultry, and livestock.


   No major statutory changes.


West's F. S. A. § 379.3751

West's F. S. A. § 413.08

West's F.S.A. § 474.2167



Certain changes were made to the law on the taking and possessing of alligators. West's F. S. A. § 379.3751

Assistance Animals:

Florida amended its service animal law in several ways. First, it changed the law to reflect the federal/ADA definition of disability: "'Individual with a disability' means a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of the individual." Previously, the law stated that a person with a disability was deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or otherwise physically disabled. Whereas before the law only defined "physically disabled," the new version has both a definition for both physical and mental impairments:

a. A physiological disorder or condition, disfigurement, or anatomical loss that affects one or more bodily functions; or

b. A mental or psychological disorder that meets one of the diagnostic categories specified in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association, such as an intellectual or developmental disability, organic brain syndrome, traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, or an emotional or mental illness

The functions of a service animal were also expanded to include such things as "alerting an individual to the presence of allergens, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to an individual with a mobility disability, helping an individual with a psychiatric or neurological disability by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors, reminding an individual with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming an individual with posttraumatic stress disorder during an anxiety attack, or doing other specific work ." For purposes of this law, the term "service animal" is now limited under state law to a dog or miniature horse.

The following was sentence was added: "A public accommodation may not ask about the nature or extent of an individual's disability." Additionally, the law gave guidance "[t]o determine the difference between a service animal and a pet . . ."

A covered entity or individual who denies rights under this law to a person with a disability or otherwise violates the law must now also "perform 30 hours of community service for an organization that serves individuals with disabilities, or for another entity or organization at the discretion of the court, to be completed in not more than 6 months." This is in addition to previous penalties (a misdemeanor of second degree).

Finally, the changes added a new provision that makes the fraudulent misrepresentation of a service animal a crime. A person who knowingly and willfully misrepresents herself or himself, through conduct or verbal or written notice, as using a service animal and being qualified to use a service animal or as a trainer of a service animal commits a misdemeanor of the second degree and must perform 30 hours of community service for an organization that serves individuals with disabilities, or for another entity or organization at the discretion of the court, to be completed in not more than 6 months.

West's F. S. A. § 413.08

Veterinary Laws:

West's F.S.A. § 474.2167 was added concerning the confidentiality of animal medical records. The law states that certain medical records (i.e., those related to the medical treatment of an animal or that type of record that "is transferred by a previous record owner in connection with the transaction of official business by a state college of veterinary medicine that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education") held by any state college of veterinary medicine that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education are confidential and exempt from state laws on public records.

West's F.S.A. § 474.2167


Ga. Code Ann., § 4-11-11 Ga. Code Ann., 16–11–107

Animal importation:

Under the Georgia Animal Protection Act, a new provision was added for animal imported into the state:

(b) In addition to the provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section, it shall be unlawful to ship or import into this state any other type of animal which the commissioner has determined poses a significant risk of disease to domestic animals or humans within this state unless such animal is accompanied by such certificate. The commissioner shall maintain on the department website a listing of all other types of animals determined to pose a significant risk of disease in accordance with this subsection.

(c) No such certificate shall be required for poultry originating from flocks participating in the National Poultry Improvement Plan administered by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Ga. Code Ann., § 4-11-11

Law Enforcement Animals:

The law dealing with harming a law enforcement animal was amended to add different penalties based on intent and the amount of harm inflicted on the animal. Previously, there was one felony penalty for knowingly and intentionally causing a serious and debilitating injury to a police dog or horse of 1-5 year of imprisonment or a fine of up to $10,000. With the 2015 amendments, the crime ranges from fourth to first degree offenses for harming a law enforcement animal:

  • 4th degree: knowingly and intentionally causes physical harm to a law enforcement animal while in performance of its duties. Violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature with possible imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, a fine not to exceed $5,000.00, or both.
  • 3rd degree: knowingly and intentionally and with a deadly weapon causes serious physical injury to such law enforcement animal while such law enforcement animal is in performance of its duties. Violation is a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature with possible imprisonment for not less than six nor more than 12 months, a fine not to exceed $5,000.00, or both.
  • 2nd degree: knowingly and intentionally shoots a law enforcement animal with a firearm or causes debilitating physical injury to a law enforcement animal while such law enforcement animal is in performance of its duties. Violation is a felony with possible imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, a fine not to exceed $25,000.00, or both.
  • 1st degree: knowingly and intentionally causes the death of a law enforcement animal while such law enforcement animal is in performance of its duties. Violation of this subsection is a felony with possible imprisonment for not less than 18 months nor more than five years, a fine not to exceed $50,000.00, or both.

In addition to these penalties, the violator must pay restitution to the law enforcement agency, fire department, or the state fire marshal which is the owner law enforcement animal in the amount of associated veterinary expenses incurred in the treatment the animal. If the animal dies as a result of the violation, the person must pay restitution for the actual replacement value and all costs associated with training.

Additionally, the amendments added this subsection:

(i) The Division of Forensic Sciences of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation shall perform forensic pathology services upon any law enforcement animal whose death occurred while in performance of its duties or because of such law enforcement animal's performance of its duties.

§ 16–11–107


HRS § 711-1109.6 Animal hoarding, Repealed by Laws 2008, ch. 128, § 7; Laws 2009, ch. 160, § 3; Laws 2011, ch. 149, § 6, eff. July 1, 2015


The law defining hoarding and making the hoarding of animals a crime was repealed in 2015.

HRS § 711-1109.6


   No major statutory changes.


510 I.L.C.S. 70/3.01

510 I.L.C.S. 70/3.04

520 I.L.C.S. 5/2.2


In the Humane Care for Animals Act, the provision on "cruel treatment" was amended to add the following:

No owner of a dog or cat that is a companion animal may expose the dog or cat in a manner that places the dog or cat in a life-threatening situation for a prolonged period of time in extreme heat or cold conditions that results in injury to or death of the animal.

510 I.L.C.S. 70/3.01

Additionally, in a following section on arrests and seizures under the anti-cruelty laws, the following paragraph was added:

If the animal control or animal shelter owns no facility capable of housing the companion animals, has no space to house the companion animals, or is otherwise unable to house the companion animals or the health or condition of the animals prevents their removal, the animals shall be impounded at the site of the violation pursuant to a court order authorizing the impoundment, provided that the person charged is an owner of the property. Employees or agents of the animal control or animal shelter or law enforcement shall have the authority to access the on-site impoundment property for the limited purpose of providing care and veterinary treatment for the impounded animals and ensuring their well-being and safety. For an on-site impoundment, a petition for posting of security may be filed under Section 3.05 of this Act. Disposition of the animals shall be controlled by Section 3.06 of this Act.

510 I.L.C.S. 70/3.04

Protected Species:

Under the law on protected species in the state, new species were added to the list of protected species: Gray wolf, Canis lupus; American black bear, Ursus americanus; Cougar, Puma concolor.

520 I.L.C.S. 5/2.2

This also resulted in the legislature added a new section related to imminent threats and nuisances from these species. The new law allows the taking of a gray wolf, black bear, or cougar at any time if it is a threat. The law provides:

§ 2.2b. Imminent threat; nuisance permits.

(a) It shall not be illegal for an owner or tenant of land, or their designated agent, to immediately take on his or her property a gray wolf, Canis lupus; American black bear, Ursus americanus; or cougar, Puma concolor if, at any time, the gray wolf, American black bear, or cougar is stalking, causing an imminent threat, or there is a reasonable expectation that it causes an imminent threat of physical harm or death to a human, livestock, domestic animals or harm to structures or other property on the owner's or tenant's land.

(b) The Department may grant a nuisance permit to the owner or tenant of land, or their designated agent, for the taking of a gray wolf, American black bear, or cougar that is causing a threat to an owner or tenant of land or his or her property that is not an immediate threat under subsection (a) of this Section.

(c) The Department shall adopt rules to implement this Section.

520 I.L.C.S. 5/2.2b


 I.C. 25-38.1-1-12

Veterinary Practice:

Under the law that defines the practice of veterinary medicine, a definition for "equine massage therapy" was added:

(c) As used in this section, “equine massage therapy” means a method of treating the body of a horse for remedial or hygienic purposes through techniques that:

(1) include rubbing, stroking, or kneading the body of the horse; and

(2) may be applied with or without the aid of a massage device that mimics the actions possible using human hands.

The section states that equine massage therapy is not included in the definition of veterinary practice.

I.C. 25-38.1-1-12


   No major statutory changes.


   No major statutory changes.


   No major statutory changes.


LSA-R.S. 3:2772

LSA-R.S. 9:2263

Dog breeders:

The section that covers licensing for kennels and dog breeders added a provision that requires applicants to provide certain information related to licenses held by the USDA under the federal Animal Welfare Act. The new language provides:

I. At the time of application for an initial or renewal kennel license, an applicant shall provide the governing body of the parish or municipality with a statement that is signed and dated and includes both of the following:

(1) The applicant's Class A or Class B animal dealer's license number issued by the United States Department of Agriculture pursuant to provisions of the federal Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq., or the reason the applicant is not required to hold either license.

(2) The applicant's sales tax identification number or the reason the applicant is not required to have a sales tax identification number.

LSA-R.S. 3:2772


Louisiana became the next state to enact a "pet trust" law. It allows the creation of a trust may to provide for the care of one or more animals that are "in being and ascertainable" on the date of the creation of the trust. The trust may designate a caregiver for each animal. The trust terminates on the death of the last surviving animal named in the trust.

LSA-R.S. 9:2263


7 M. R. S. A. § 3907

7 M. R. S. A. § 3972

12 M.R.S.A. § 12804

12 M. R. S. A. § 12152

32 M. R. S. A. § 4853

32 M. R. S. A. § 4861-A

32 M. R. S. A. § 4877

Animal shelters:

Under the definitions for the state's Animal Welfare Act, a new definition was added:

5–A. Animal shelter. “Animal shelter” means a:

A. Facility that houses domesticated animals and operates for the purpose of providing stray, abandoned, abused or owner-surrendered animals with sanctuary or finding the animals temporary or permanent adoptive homes; or

B. Rescue group.

7 M. R. S. A. § 3907


Under § 3972 on the unlawful use of animals, a new provision was added.

It is unlawful for any person to:

G. Abandon, dump or dispose of any deceased domesticated animal on public property or on private property without the permission of the property owner.

7 M. R. S. A. § 3972

Endangered Species:

The state's endangered species law was amended to add a provision that protects the location of certain endangered species. The added portion states:

Specific information concerning the location of a threatened or endangered species is confidential and not a public record under Title 1, chapter 13 if, in the judgment of the commissioner, disclosure of that information would threaten the continued existence of the threatened or endangered species. If the commissioner determines that information is confidential under this subsection, the commissioner may not disclose the information except to the landowner whose property is the location of the threatened or endangered species.

12 M.R.S.A. § 12804


Maine's Veterinary Practice Act was amended to add a definition for "practice of veterinary technology." The phrase is defined as:

A. The performance of patient care or other services that require a technical understanding of veterinary medicine on the basis of written or oral instructions of a veterinarian. “Practice of veterinary technology” does not include diagnosing, making prognoses, performing surgery or prescribing a drug, medicine, biologic, apparatus, application, anesthetic or other imaging, therapeutic or diagnostic technique or nutritional substance or technique on, for or to any patient;

32 M. R. S. A. § 4853

Under a new law, a person must now apply to become a veterinary technician after completing the following requirements:

1. Education completed. Have completed a minimum of 2 years in a college program that is certified according to the standards adopted by the American Veterinary Medical Association's Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities or an equivalent program, as determined by the board; or

2. Within 6 months of completing education. Be within the final 6 months of professional study in a program of education for veterinary technology approved by the board or accredited by an accrediting organization approved by the board.

32 M. R. S. A. § 4861-A

Finally, a new law was added to the Veterinary Practice Act related to Good Samaritan acts by veterinarians. Section 4877 defines when a veterinarian-client relationship is established. It also exempts "Good Samaritan" acts by veterinarians:

A licensed veterinarian who in good faith engages in the practice of veterinary medicine by rendering or attempting to render emergency care to a patient when a client cannot be identified and a veterinarian-client-patient relationship is not established is not subject to any disciplinary sanctions authorized by Title 10, section 8003, subsection 5-A based solely upon the veterinarian's inability to establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

32 M. R. S. A. § 4877


The application fees to introduce, import, or possess wildlife were amended in 12 M.R.S.A. § 12152. A new subsection was also enacted concerning wildlife brought into the state without first obtaining a permit:

3–C. Issuance for unpermitted wildlife. The commissioner may issue a permit under this section to a person who possesses wildlife without a permit for which a permit is required if the possession would have been allowed had the person applied for a permit before importing or possessing the wildlife. A person issued a permit under this subsection must pay a fee of $500 in addition to the applicable application fee and permit fee. A person issued a permit under this subsection may not be charged with a penalty under section 12151.

12 M. R. S. A. § 12152



 No major statutory changes.


   No major statutory changes.


MCL 750.52, P.A.2015, No. 210, § 1(f), Eff. March 14, 2016

M. C. L. A. 691.1665

MCL 702.502c


In 2016, MCL 750.52 was repealed by P.A.2015, No. 210, § 1(f), Eff. March 14, 2016. The statute related to enforcement of the anti-cruelty sections of Chapter IX. The law previously stated:

It shall also be the duty of all sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, constables, policemen and public officers, to arrest and prosecute all persons of whose violation of the provisions of the preceding sections of this chapter they may have knowledge or reasonable notice, and for each neglect of such duty, the officer so offending shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.

MCL 750.52

Equine Activity Liability:

Michigan's equine activity liability act was also amended. The changes allow imposition of liability on an equine sponsor only if the sponsor "commits an act or omission that constitutes a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the participant, and that is a proximate cause of the injury, death, or damage." Additionally, the amendments made it clear that protection only applies to equine sponsors:

Section 3 does not prevent or limit the liability of an equine activity sponsor, equine professional, or another person if the equine activity sponsor, equine professional, or other person does any of the following:

* * *

(e) If the person is not an equine activity sponsor or equine professional, commits a negligent act or omission that constitutes a proximate cause of the injury, death, or damage.

M. C. L. A. 691.1665

Service Animals:

The law on service animals was amended. The definition for “person with disabilities” was changed from a person who is audibly impaired, blind, deaf, or otherwise physically limited to the following:

(d) “Person with a disability” means a person who has a disability as defined in section 12102 of the Americans with disabilities act of 1990, 42 USC 12102, and 28 CFR 36.104.

(e) As used in subdivision (d), “person with a disability” includes a veteran who has been diagnosed with 1 or more of the following:

(i) Post-trauhttps://www.animallaw.info/statute/mi-assistance-animals-assistance-animalguide-dog-laws#750.502cmatic stress disorder.

(ii) Traumatic brain injury.

(iii) Other service-related disabilities.

Further, instead of limiting service dogs to "guide or leader dog, hearing dog, or service dog is guilty of a misdemeanor if the guide or leader dog is wearing a harness or if the hearing dog or service dog is wearing a hearing dog cape or service dog backpack," the amendments now conform to the definition of service animals under federal law.

Finally, the changes added provisions for miniature horses as service animals.

(f) “Service animal” means all of the following:

(i) That term as defined in 28 CFR 36.104.

(ii) A miniature horse that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks as described in 28 CFR 36.104 for the benefit of a person with a disability.

The Michigan law now conforms to the federal regulations on determining whether an animal is a service animal. These new provisions directly mirror the federal regulations and other guidance (i.e., policy publications released by the Department of Justice) on service animals:

(2) A public accommodation shall not ask a person with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises due to allergies or fear of the animal. A public accommodation may only ask a person with a disability to remove his or her service animal from the premises if either of the following applies:

(a) The service animal is out of control and its handler does not take effective action to control it.

(b) The service animal is not housebroken.

(6) If it is not obvious what service a service animal provides, staff of a public accommodation shall not ask about a person with a disability's disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the service animal, or ask that the service animal demonstrate its ability to perform work or a task. Subject to subsection

(7), staff may make the following 2 inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal:

(a) Whether the service animal is required because of a disability.

(b) What work or task the service animal has been trained to perform.

(7) A public accommodation shall not do either of the following:

(a) Require documentation when making an inquiry under subsection (6).

(b) Make an inquiry under subsection (6) if it is readily apparent that the service animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.

M. C. L. A. 750.502c


   No major statutory changes.



 No major statutory changes.


 V. A. M. S. 537.325

Equine Activity Liability:

In 2015, the state added a definition and coverage for a "livestock activity sponsor" to its equine activity liability act:

(9) “Livestock activity sponsor”, an individual, group, club, partnership, or corporation, whether or not operating for profit or nonprofit, legal entity, or any employee thereof, which sponsors, organizes, or provides the facilities for, a livestock activity;

The law now covers both equine professionals and livestock activity sponsors.

 V. A. M. S. 537.325


   No major statutory changes.


   No major statutory changes.


N. R. S. 574.050

N. R. S. 574.200

N.R.S. SB 261, § 1, SB 261, § 1. Euthanizing dogs or cats; offering for adoption

N.R.S. SB 147, § 1, SB 147, § 1. Law enforcement training in effective responses to incidents involving dogs or where dogs are present

Anti-Cruelty/Research facilities:

A new definition was added to the cruelty to animals chapter for "research facility:"

4. “Research facility” means an organization that is engaged in:

(a) Animal research for the purpose of testing the performance, safety or quality of a product; or

(b) Scientific research for scientific, medical or educational purposes.

N. R. S. 574.050

Under the section outlining the exclusions under the anti-cruelty laws (574.200, Intended applicability of provisions), the following was added:

2. Nothing contained in subsection 1 shall be deemed to exclude a research facility from the provisions of section 1 of this act.

N. R. S. 574.200

A new section that is not yet codified was added. This section mandates that a research facility must offer a dog for adoption prior to euthanization:

N.R.S. SB 261, § 1, SB 261, § 1. Euthanizing dogs or cats; offering for adoption

<2015 legislation subject to revision and classification by the Legislative Counsel Bureau>

1. A research facility that intends to euthanize a dog or cat for any purpose other than scientific, medical or educational research shall, before euthanizing the dog or cat, offer the dog or cat for adoption if the dog or cat is appropriate for adoption. A research facility may offer the dog or cat for adoption through a program of the research facility or enter into a collaborative agreement with an animal shelter that performs the work of an animal rescue organization or an animal rescue organization for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this subsection. Any such animal shelter or animal rescue organization must be domiciled in Nevada and exempt from taxation pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3).

2. A research facility and any officer, director, employee or agent of the research facility is immune from civil liability for any act or omission relating to the adoption of a dog or cat pursuant to subsection 1.

3. As used in this section, “animal rescue organization” means a nonprofit organization established for the purpose of rescuing animals in need and finding permanent, adoptive homes for such animals.

Added by Laws 2015, c. 323, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2015.

Police-Dog Conflicts:

A new law was added (but not yet codified) that mandates training for law enforcement to respond to canine incidents.

N.R.S. SB 147, § 1, SB 147, § 1. Law enforcement training in effective responses to incidents involving dogs or where dogs are present

<2015 legislation subject to revision and classification by the Legislative Counsel Bureau>

1. Each law enforcement agency shall adopt policies setting forth when a peace officer who is employed by the agency is required to be trained in effective responses to incidents involving dogs or where dogs are present.

2. In adopting the policies required by subsection 1, each law enforcement agency must consider the job descriptions, work environments and duties of the peace officers employed by the agency.

3. Training for a peace officer who is required pursuant to subsection 1 to be trained in effective responses to incidents involving dogs or where dogs are present must include, without limitation:

(a) Differentiating between aggressive and nonthreatening dog behaviors;

(b) Nonlethal methods of handling potentially dangerous dogs;

(c) The role and capabilities of local animal control agencies; and

(d) Any related subjects the Commission deems appropriate.

4. The Commission shall adopt regulations regarding the minimum standards for training in effective responses to incidents involving dogs or where dogs are present.

Added by Laws 2015, c. 120, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2015.

New Hampshire

   No major statutory changes.

New Jersey

N. J. S. A. 4:19-15.2

N. J. S. A. 4:19-15.3

N. J. S. A. 4:22-17

N. J. S. A. 45:16-8.3

N. J. S. A. 56:8-95.1


A new paragraph was added to the anti-cruelty law that outlaws sexual acts against animals:

(4) Use, or cause or procure the use of, an animal or creature in any kind of sexual manner or initiate any kind of sexual contact with the animal or creature, including, but not limited to, sodomizing the animal or creature. As used in this paragraph, “sexual contact” means any contact between a person and an animal by penetration of the penis or a foreign object into the vagina or anus, contact between the mouth and genitalia, or by contact between the genitalia of one and the genitalia or anus of the other. This term does not include any medical procedure performed by a licensed veterinarian practicing veterinary medicine or an accepted animal husbandry practice.

N. J. S. A. 4:22-17

Dog Licensing:

The following language was added to two laws on dog licensing:

A person or group temporarily caring for a dog placed in a foster home as part of a formalized training to be a guide dog or service dog shall be exempt from applying for and procuring a license and registration tag for the dog while the dog remains in the foster home for such training.

N. J. S. A. 4:19-15.2 and N. J. S. A. 4:19-15.3

Pet Sales:

A new law with regard to pet sales was added to the chapter on fraud and false advertisement in state of New Jersey. This law states that no pet shop shall sell or offer for sale, or purchase for resale whether or not actually offered for sale by the pet shop, any animal purchased from any breeder or broker who:

  • is not in compliance with the requirements concerning the maintenance and care of animals and the sanitary operation of kennels, pet shops, shelters and pounds
  • is not in possession of a current USDA license
  • is not in possession of all other licenses required
  • has been cited on a USDA inspection report for a direct violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act during the last two years
  • has been cited on a USDA inspection report during the two-year period prior
  • is cited on the two most recent USDA inspection reports prior to the purchase of the animal by the pet shop for no-access violations
  • directly or indirectly obtained the animal from a breeder, broker, or other person who engaged in these actions

N. J. S. A. 56:8-95.1

A subsequent section says that no provision may be construed to limit or restrict any municipality, county, local health agency, or municipal or county board of health from enacting or enforcing, or interfere with the implementation of, or otherwise invalidate, any law, ordinance, rule, or regulation that places additional obligations on pet shops or restrictions on pet shops or pet shop sales. N. J. S. A. 56:8-95.2.

Violation by an owner-operator results in a fine of $500 for each violation, to be collected by the division in a civil action by a summary proceeding under the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999,” P.L.1999, c. 274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.). N. J. S. A. 56:8-95.3.

Veterinary Practice:

A new law was added to the veterinary practice law that mandates that every veterinary facility in the state must post its normal business hours in a conspicuous location easily visible to the public. Additionally, if the facility does not provide a physical presence for supervision of animals after-hours, then the following notice must be posted: “This veterinary facility does NOT provide supervision for animals after normal business hours by a person physically on these premises.”

N. J. S. A. 45:16-8.3

New Mexico

   No major statutory changes.

New York

McKinney's Agriculture and Markets Law § 353-f

McKinney's Civil Rights Law § 47-b

McKinney's Executive Law § 296

McKinney's State Law § 90

Assistance Animals/Service Animals:

New York's Unlawful Discriminatory Practices law was amended at the very end of 2014. Subdivision 14 of Section 296 now makes it illegal to deny access to a person with a disability:

because he or she is accompanied by a dog that has been trained to work or perform specific tasks for the benefit of such person by a professional guide dog, hearing dog or service dog training center or professional guide dog, hearing dog or service dog trainer, or to discriminate against such professional guide dog, hearing dog or service dog trainer engaged in such training of a dog for use by a person with a disability, whether or not accompanied by the person for whom the dog is being trained.

McKinney's Executive Law § 296

Previously, the law simply said it was an unlawful discriminatory practice "to discriminate against a blind person, a hearing impaired person or a person with another disability on the basis of his or her use of a guide dog, hearing dog or service dog." The amendment not only requires that the dog has been professionally trained, but it also extends protection against discrimination to those who are engaged in training such dogs.

Section 47-b of the Civil Rights Law was also amended in late 2014 with respect to service animals. In subsection four, the term "properly harnessed" was changed to "under the control of the person using or training it." A new subsection 7 also added a definition for "service animal" that mirrors the definition under federal law:

7. “Service dog” means any dog under the control of the person using or training it and that has been or is being individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.

McKinney's Civil Rights Law § 47-b

Big Cats:

A law enacted in early 2015 prohibits direct contact between the public and big cats. Big cats are defined as "any live species of lion (panthera leo), tiger (panthera tigres), leopard (panthera pardus) (with the exception of clouded leopards (neofelis nebulosa)), jaguar (panthera onca), mountain lion, sometimes called cougar (felis concolor) or any hybrid of such species."

The law specifically provides:

2. It shall be unlawful for any person licensed or required to be licensed as an exhibitor or dealer pursuant to the Animal Welfare Act, 7 USC 2132-2134, including agents or employees of such person, to knowingly allow the public to have direct contact with a big cat.

3. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be subject to a penalty of not more than five hundred dollars for the first offense and not more than one thousand dollars for a second and subsequent offenses. Each instance of allowing direct contact of a big cat with the public in violation of this section shall constitute a separate offense.

McKinney's E. C. L. § 11-0538

Companion Animals Tattoos and Piercing:

Legislation proposed in December of 2014 and passed in April of 2015 now prohibits the piercing of companion animals "unless such piercing provides a medical benefit to the companion animal." It further prohibits the tattooing of a companion animal unless:

(a) is done in conjunction with a medical procedure for the benefit of the companion animal and to indicate that such medical procedure has been done, provided that such tattoo is not for design purposes; or

(b) is done for the purpose of identification of the companion animal and not for design purposes, and such tattoo includes only such numbers and/or letters allotted by a corporation that, in the regular course of its business, maintains an animal tattoo identification registry.

Any person who knowingly violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a violation punishable pursuant to the penal law.

McKinney's Agriculture and Markets Law § 353-f


In 2015, New York made the "working dog" the official dog of the state. According to the new law, this means: a guide dog, a police work dog, a war dog, a hearing dog, a service dog, a working search dog, a therapy dog, or a detection dog; or any dog that is trained (and used) to herd and/or protect livestock or control bird and/or wildlife populations.

McKinney's State Law § 90

North Carolina

 N.C.G.S.A. § 19A-67 - 69

 Animal Shelters:

An appropriations bill fund the Animal Shelter Support Fund in 2015. The Fund is used by the Animal Welfare Section of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to reimburse local governments for expenses related to their operation of a registered animal shelter due to any of the following:

(1) The denial, suspension, or revocation of the shelter's registration.

(2) An unforeseen catastrophic disaster at an animal shelter.

Reimbursable costs include veterinary services, sanitation services and needs, animal sustenance and supplies, and temporary housing and sheltering.

North Dakota

NDCC 47-16-07.5

NDCC 20.1-01-31

Assistance Animals:

North Dakota added a new law to its chapter on leasing of real estate. The law essentially mirrors federal policy on assistance animals in housing. The law states that a landlord with a "no pets" policy may require reliable supporting documentation (from a medical professional or physician) from a tenant who claims a disability requiring a service animal or assistance animal. Reliable supporting documentation must confirm the tenant's disability and the relationship between the tenant's disability and the need for the requested accommodation. However, a landlord may not require supporting documentation from a tenant if the tenant's disability or disability-related need for a service animal or assistance animal is readily apparent or already known to the landlord.

NDCC 47-16-07.5

Hunting Laws:

The hunter harassment law added a provision related to use of drones:

The individual may not use an aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator on public or private land to intentionally interfere with the lawful taking of wildlife by another individual or intentionally harass, drive, or disturb any wildlife for the purpose of disrupting a lawful hunt.

NDCC 20.1-01-31


   No major statutory changes.


   No major statutory changes.


O. R. S. § 167.333

O. R. S. § 167.341

O. R. S. § 167.345

O. R. S. § 609.035


In 2015, Oregon enacted that makes encouraging sexual assault of an animal a Class A misdemeanor. Under the law,

(1) A person commits the crime of encouraging sexual assault of an animal if the person:
(a) Knowingly possesses or controls, for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of the person or another person, a visual recording of a person engaged in sexual conduct with an animal; and
(b) Knows or is aware of and consciously disregards the fact that the creation of the visual recording involved the sexual assault of an animal as described in ORS 167.333.

O. R. S. § 167.341. The law became effective on January 1, 2016.

The penalty for "sexual assault of an animal" under O. R. S. § 167.333 was changed in 2015 from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class C felony.

The term "motor vehicle" added to Section 167.345. This is the law that gives law enforcement the authority to search and seize under a valid search warrant where there is probable cause of animal cruelty violations. The law also gives law enforcement the ability to enter "to provide the animal with food, water and emergency medical treatment." Under the amendments in 2015, the term  "motor vehicle" was added in addition to the term "premises." O. R. S. § 167.345.

Under the chapter on reporting animal abuse or neglect (Chapter 609), a new section was added titled "Suspected animal abuse or neglect; reporting by regulated social worker." The law provides that:

. . . in addition to the authorization under ORS 609.654 to report aggravated animal abuse in the first degree, a regulated social worker who is an employee of the Department of Human Services and has reasonable cause to believe that an animal with which the social worker has come in contact as an employee of the department has suffered abuse or neglect, or that any person with whom the social worker has come in contact as an employee of the department has committed abuse or neglect of an animal, may immediately report the suspected abuse or neglect in the manner prescribed in subsection (3) of this section." [emphasis added]

Note that the reporting appears to be permissive and not required. The new law outlines the details to be included in the report and also provides an immunity provision:

(4) A regulated social worker who acts in good faith and has reasonable grounds for making a report under this section of suspected abuse or neglect is not liable in any civil or criminal proceeding brought as a result of making the report.

O. R. S. § 609.656


Under Chapter 609, a definition was added for the term "boarding kennel:"

(1) “Boarding kennel”:
(a) Means, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection, a facility that provides care for a fee to dogs that stay at the facility an average of less than 30 days.
(b) Does not mean a facility that is subject to ORS 167.374 or 167.376.

O. R. S. § 609.035


   No major statutory changes.

Rhode Island

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-13.1-2

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-13.1-5

Fighting Dogs:

Rhode Island's vicious dog law was amended. The definition for "vicious dog" added wording that allows for assessment of dogs involved in dog fighting by the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA). The new definition states:

(iv) Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or any dog trained for dog fighting that is deemed vicious after it has been properly assessed by the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) pursuant to the provisions of § 4–13.1–5(d).

This language also appears in another section on declaring a dog vicious.

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-13.1-2

In the section on harboring of fighting dogs, the law now states that seized dogs shall be placed "in the care of the RISPCA pursuant to the provisions of § 4–1–22 — § 4–1–31." The next section then outlines the dogs' disposition:

(d) The RISPCA shall utilize a timely process to determine the disposition of the dog and provide for prompt transfer to an appropriate rescue organization or adoptive home with humane euthanization occurring only if the dog's medical and/or behavioral condition warrants such action or it is determined, after reasonable time and effort have been expended, that no appropriate placement for the dog exists.

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-13.1-5

South Carolina

   No major statutory changes.

South Dakota

   No major statutory changes.


T. C. A. § 39–14–203

T. C. A. § 39–14–205

T. C. A. § 70-4-418

Animal Fighting:

The state's animal fighting law (§ 39–14–203) added a new section that makes it a class A misdemeanor to knowingly cause a person under eighteen (18) years of age to attend an animal fight.


The intentional cruelty law (T. C. A. § 39-14-205) was amended as to acts against a police dog, fire dog, search and rescue dog, or police horse. The change, known as "Aron's Law," makes it a Class E felony for those animals, unless the value of the animal makes it a higher classification.

Exotic Pets:

Tennessee enacted a new section in its exotic pet law. Any person who obtains a Class I carnivore (described as all species inherently dangerous to humans such as wolves, bears, and lions) on or after July 1, 2015, shall, within six (6) months of obtaining the animal, have a microchip permanently implanted in the animal. For those who possessed a Class I carnivore prior to July 1, 2015, and who continues to possess the animal on or after July 1, 2015, a microchip that meets the technical specifications described in subsection (a) must be permanently implanted in the animal by July 1, 2018.

T. C. A. § 70-4-418


V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code § 822.0423

V.T.C.A., Parks & Wildlife Code § 66.216 - 66.218

Dangerous Dogs:

In 2015, Texas amended its dangerous dog laws. Most notably, the state added a new law that allows appeals for dangerous dog determinations (new section § 822.0424). According to that section, the determination is appealed to a county court or county court at law in the county in which the justice or municipal court is located and is entitled to a jury trial on request.

Because of this new ability to appeal decisions, § 822.042 was amended such that a dog may not be ordered destroyed during the pendency of an appeal ("notwithstanding any other law or local regulation, the court may not order the destruction of a dog during the pendency of an appeal under Section 822.0424"). Section 822.0421 outlines the new requirements for an owner to appeal:

(c) To file an appeal under Subsection (b), the owner must:

(1) file a notice of appeal of the animal control authority's dangerous dog determination with the court;

(2) attach a copy of the determination from the animal control authority; and

(3) serve a copy of the notice of appeal on the animal control authority by mailing the notice through the United States Postal Service.

Finally, Section 822.0423 states that "[t]he court shall determine the estimated costs to house and care for the impounded dog during the appeal process and shall set the amount of bond for an appeal adequate to cover those estimated costs."


H.B. 1579 from 2015 created a criminal offense for products made from shark fins. The bill amended V.T.C.A., Parks & Wildlife Code §  66.216 by adding the following paragraph:

(b) No person may possess a finfish of any species taken from coastal water, except broadbill swordfish or king mackerel, that has the tail removed unless the fish has been finally processed and delivered to the final destination or to a certified wholesale or retail dealer.

V.T.C.A., Parks & Wildlife Code § 66.216

Additionally, Section 66.2161, effective July 1, 2016, contains the following prohibitions on the trade of shark fins:

(b) A person may not buy or offer to buy, sell or offer to sell, possess for the purpose of sale, transport, or ship for the purpose of sale, barter, or exchange a shark fin regardless of where the shark was taken or caught.

(c) A person may buy or offer to buy, sell or offer to sell, possess for the purpose of sale, transport, or ship for the purpose of sale, barter, or exchange a shark carcass that retains all of its fins naturally attached to the carcass through some portion of uncut skin.

V.T.C.A., Parks & Wildlife Code §  66.2161

Under Section 66.218, A person who violates Section 66.2161 or a proclamation adopted under that section commits an offense that is a Class B Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor (unless there has been another violation in the past five years, which turns it into a Class A Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor).

V.T.C.A., Parks & Wildlife Code §  66.218


U.C.A. 1953 § 4-2-501 - 504

U.C.A. 1953 § 23-13-14

U.C.A. 1953 § 76-9-301.3

Animal fighting:

Utah enacted a new law entitled, "game fowl fighting." “Game fowl” means a fowl reared or used for fighting other fowl. The law makes it a class B misdemeanor for someone to:

(a) intentionally cause a game fowl to fight with or attack another game fowl for the purpose of entertainment, sport, or contest; or

(b) promote any activity that involves game fowl fighting . . .

A second violation is a class A misdemeanor and a third or subsequent violation is a third degree felony.

U.C.A. 1953 § 76-9-301.3

Endangered species:

The law entitled "Release of wildlife unlawful--Penalty" had a subsection added:

(3) A person who knowingly and without lawful authority imports, transports, or releases a live species of wildlife that the person knows is listed as threatened or endangered, or is a candidate to be listed under the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. Sec. 1531 et seq., with the intent to establish the presence of that species in an area of the state not currently known to be occupied by a reproducing population of that species is guilty of a third degree felony.

U.C.A. 1953 § 23-13-14

Horse tripping:

Utah added a new set of laws called "Horse Tripping Awareness." The definitional section defines "horse tripping” as "the lassoing or roping of the legs of an equine, or otherwise tripping or causing an equine to fall by any means, for the purpose of entertainment, sport, or contest, or practice for entertainment, sport, or contest." There are reporting requirements for those who conduct horse events. Another section then outlines horse tripping education requirements.

U.C.A. 1953 § 4-2-501 - 504


13 V.S.A. § 352

13 V.S.A. § 364

Animal Fighting:

Amendments were passed such that it made the possession of animals used for fighting or animal fighting paraphernalia part of the main anti-cruelty law:

A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

* * *

(B) owns, possesses, ships, transports, delivers, or keeps a device, equipment, or implement for the purpose of training or conditioning an animal for participation in animal fighting, or enhancing an animal's fighting capability.

13 V.S.A. § 352

In the law on animal fighting, language was added that allowed forfeiture under the law:

(d) Property subject to forfeiture under this subsection may be seized upon process issued by the court having jurisdiction over the property. Seizure without process may be made:

(1) incident to a lawful arrest;

(2) pursuant to a search warrant; or

(3) if there is probable cause to believe that the property was used or is intended to be used in violation of this section.

(e) Forfeiture proceedings instituted pursuant to the provisions of this section for property other than animals are subject to the procedures and requirements for forfeiture as set forth in 18 V.S.A. chapter 84, subchapter 2.

13 V.S.A. § 364


Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6508.1

Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6511.1


Virginia's anti-cruelty law added a provision for intentional tripping of horses. The law now also includes the following in its list of activities that can constitute a class 6 felony:

(iv) ropes, lassoes, or otherwise obstructs or interferes with one or more legs of an equine in order to intentionally cause it to trip or fall for the purpose of engagement in a rodeo, contest, exhibition, entertainment, or sport unless such actions are in the practice of accepted animal husbandry or for the purpose of allowing veterinary care;

Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6570

Sale of animals:

Virginia enacted a new law that makes it "unlawful for any person to sell, exchange, trade, barter, lease, or display for a commercial purpose any dog or cat on or in any roadside, public right-of-way, parkway, median, park, or recreation area; flea market or other outdoor market; or commercial parking lot, regardless of whether such act is authorized by the landowner." There are several exclusions under the law such as the display of cats or dogs for adoption by a humane society, displays by 4-H or county fairs, display of hunting or livestock dogs, and a prearranged sale between a dog breeder and a specific individual purchaser.

Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6508.1

The law on sale of dogs from pet shops was amended. Those entities can only adopt out animals "procured only from a humane society or private or public animal shelter as those terms are defined in § 3.2–6500" or from a person who has not received from the USDA enforcement division: "(i) a citation for a direct violation or citations for three or more indirect violations for at least two years prior to the procurement of the dog or (ii) two consecutive citations for no access to the facility prior to the procurement of the dog." In addition, a pet shop must retain records verifying compliance with this section for a minimum of two years after the disposition of any dog. VA Code Ann. § 3.2-6511.1


West's RCWA 16.52.011

West's RCWA 16.52.117

West's RCWA 16.52.205

West's RCWA 16.52.340


Section 16.52.011 definitions for "necessary food" and "necessary water" were amended slightly. The changes added "condition" to the considerations on what is "necessary food" as well as what may be directed by a veterinarian:

(j) “Necessary food” means the provision at suitable intervals of wholesome foodstuff suitable for the animal's age and, species, and condition, and that is sufficient to provide a reasonable level of nutrition for the animal and is easily accessible to the animal or as directed by a veterinarian for medical reasons.

[emphasis added] West's RCWA 16.52.011(j).

The same is true of the definition for "necessary water." The definition now includes "or as directed by a veterinarian for medical reasons" within its scope. West's RCWA 16.52.011(k).

Animal cruelty in the first degree was amended in 2015. Under the definition, a person is guilty of animal cruelty in the first degree, if he or she "(c) kills an animal by a means causing undue suffering or while manifesting an extreme indifference to life . . ." This emphasized portion was added to the law in 2015. West's RCWA 16.52.205.

The state added a "pets in hot cars" law. It is a class 2 civil infraction to leave or confine any animal unattended in a motor vehicle or enclosed space if the animal could be harmed or killed by exposure to excessive heat, cold, lack of ventilation, or lack of necessary water. An animal control officer or law enforcement officer who reasonably believes that an animal is suffering or is likely to suffer harm is authorized to enter a vehicle by any reasonable means to remove the animal and is not liable for any damage to property resulting from actions taken under this section.

West's RCWA 16.52.340

Animal Fighting:

The state changed some language in the animal fighting law. First, the phrase "or causes a minor to do any of the following" was added to the beginning of the law. Thus, the law now prohibits an adult from engaging in listed animal fighting activities AND causing a minor to do so.

The term "knowingly" was removed from subsection (b) on promoting, organizing, participating, or spectating in animal fighting activities. This may change the state's burden during charging and prosecution of animal fighting offenses.

In subsection (e) the terms "pet animal" and "stray animal" were removed and changed to "an animal." This makes it clear that any animal can be subject to restrictions on animal fighting rather than proving the animals were pets or strays.

Finally, section (4) was deleted. That section previously said, "(4) For the purposes of this section, “animal” means dogs or male chickens." Now, the term animal likely refers to the common definition and can include other species.

West's RCWA 16.52.117

West Virginia

   No major statutory changes.


W. S. A. 895.481

W. S. A. 895.484

Anti-Cruelty (pets in hot cars):

A new law provides immunity from civil liability for property damage or injury resulting from a person's forcible entry into a vehicle to rescue an animal or person. Immunity is provided only if certain conditions were met. The person must have a "good faith belief" that the person or domestic animal was in imminent danger of suffering bodily harm and used no more force than necessary to remove the person or animal. That person must have first determined the vehicle was locked and forcible entry was necessary, and that person must have dialed 911 or other emergency services prior to this action.

W. S. A. 895.484

Equine Activity Liability:

The state added two terms to equine activity definition:

5d. Equine-assisted learning.

5r. Equine-assisted psychotherapy.

W. S. A. 895.481


   No major statutory changes
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