Full Title Name:  2020 Amendments Table

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Rebecca Wisch Publish Year:  2021 Place of Publication:  Michigan State University College of Law Primary Citation:  Animal Legal & Historical Center

This table reflects the substantive changes to animal-related laws in 2020. Among the highlights include a mandatory microchipping law in California that requires a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group to microchip a dog or cat prior to adopting the animal out or releasing it to its owner. Florida sought to strengthen laws on invasive species by removing the ability for people to possess tegu lizards, green iguanas, and lionfish species. Florida also added a provision on pets in domestic violence protection orders and a law on keeping emotional support animals in housing. Both Virginia and Washington added laws that prohibit dog "rental" or "leasing" contracts. Two states (Oklahoma and Georgia) enacted "meat protection laws" that essentially make it a deceptive trade practice to package plant-based "meat" products in a manner that misrepresents or confuses consumers.

The commercial sale of companion animals was also an emerging topic. California outlawed the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits at pet stores. The stores, however, may provide space for the display of animals available for adoption from a public animal control agency or shelter, or animal rescue group. Maine also outlawed the sale of pets at pet shops, excluding rescue entities offering animals for adoption in those stores. However, Maine implemented a grandfather provisions that allows businesses that existed in May of 2019 to continue to sell the same number of animals provided strict licensing guidelines are met. This same law outlawed the sale of wolf hybrids and diseased or genetically-vulnerable animals.

Several states clarified or strengthened their anti-cruelty laws, making language on intent clearer and enhancing penalties. Washington added a prohibition on devocalizing a dog in its law on ear cropping. And, a continuing trend in states is the revamping of service animal laws, including the creation of assistance animal laws in housing.







 No major statutory changes.


 No major statutory changes.



No major statutory changes.


 No major statutory changes.


West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2207 - 2210

West's Ann.Cal.Food & Agric.Code § 31108.3

West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 31752.1

West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 122354.5



California enacted the Circus Cruelty Prevention Act (West's Ann. Cal. Fish & G. Code § 2207 - 2210). The law states that a person shall not sponsor, conduct, or operate a circus in this state that uses any animal other than a domestic dog, domestic cat, or domesticated horse, or exhibit or use any other animals than those animals. The term “circus” means a performance before a live audience in which entertainment consisting of a variety of acts, such as acrobats, aerialists, clowns, jugglers, or stunts, is the primary attraction or principal business, but excludes rodeos.

Microchipping of Animals:

Except as provided in subdivision (b), a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group shall not release a dog to an owner seeking to reclaim it, or adopt out, sell, or give away a dog to a new owner, unless either of the following conditions is met:

(A) The dog is microchipped with current information on the owner reclaiming the dog or new owner receiving the dog, as applicable.

(B) If the agency, shelter, or group does not have microchipping capability on location, the agency, shelter, or group first obtains from the owner reclaiming the dog or new owner receiving the dog an agreement that requires the owner or new owner to present to the agency, shelter, or group, within the next 30 days, proof that the dog is microchipped as described in subparagraph (A).

A similar law was enacted for cats under Chapter 1 on the Regulation of Cats, Generally (West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 31752.1).

Pet Stores:

A newly amended law (West's Ann. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 122354.5) effective on January 1, 2021 states that a pet store shall not adopt out, sell, or offer for sale a dog, cat, or rabbit. The store may, however, the store may host animals available for adoption by either a public animal control agency or shelter, or an animal rescue group. The pet store shall not receive fees from the agency displaying the animals for adoption. Any animal displayed for adoption shall be both sterilized and adoptable for total fees, including, but not limited to, adoption fees, not to exceed $500. Previously, this same statutory section allowed pet stores to sell a dog, cat, or rabbit that was obtained from a public shelter, humane society, or rescue group.


  No major statutory changes.


  No major statutory changes.


11 Del.C. § 1325

16 Del.C. § 3044F

16 Del.C. § 3048F


Animal Cruelty:

The state's main anti-cruelty law (11 Del.C. § 1325) received a small, but important amendment. Under paragraph (a)(6) related to examples of cruelty, the time of dog tethering that is deemed unlawful was changed from 18 consecutive hours to 9 consecutive hours. The exception on that tethering was changed from "on land owned or leased by the dog's owner that is not less than 10 acres" to the phrase, "except on any farm." Consequently, a definition for "farm" was added: "any place that meets the 2017 USDA Federal Census of Agriculture definition of farm: “any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year.”'

Dogs, Humane Care:

In the dog laws, the section on "Specifications for the humane handling, care, and treatment of dogs" received some amendments. Instead of the previous language that allowed confinement of a dog outdoors based on "acclimation" and breed, the amendments created very specific language on keeping dogs outside and/or tethered. The new language states:

For purposes of this section, the definition of “outside and unattended” shall mean any dog that is exposed to the elements for a duration of longer than 15 minutes and not in visual range and physical presence of the owner. This expressly includes, but is not limited to, a dog in a yard or a dog that is tethered. A dog shall be considered outside regardless of access to an outdoor dog house or similar structure. However, a dog actively engaged in the protection of livestock, farm property, or poultry shall not be considered to be “outside and unattended” provided that such dog has uninterrupted access to enter a dry agricultural building such as a barn.

In that same law in the subsection on "shelter from the elements," a requirement that the shelter be both windproof and moistureproof was added. Special barrier requirements were added for winter months as well.

The shelter shall be substantially moisture proof and windproof structure of suitable size to accommodate the dog and allow retention of body heat. It shall be made of durable material with a solid, moisture-proof floor raised off the ground, and contain sufficient clean and moisture-resistant bedding material or other means of protection from the weather. Additional bedding material and a windbreak, such as a flap or tarp at the entrance, shall be provided between November 1 and March 31 or when the temp is 35°F (1.7°C) or lower.

A paragraph related to proper access to food and water was added:

(5) Dogs shall be provided access to food and water under paragraphs (e)(2) through (e)(4) of this section in a manner in which the contents will not freeze.

As to changes to subsection (d) on primary enclosures for dogs, the amendments changed dog tethering with the addition of these provisions:

Tethers shall not be attached to a choke, pinch, prong, or martingale collar; and

The dog may not be tethered for more than 2 hours when the dog owner or a responsible person is not present on the property.

Paragraph (6) of that same subsection on primary enclosures contained exceptions (exceptions if the dog had room to stand up and move around; that the dog is being offered for retail sale and is the process of physical transfer to a new owner; and a dog that is on display to patrons of a retail dog outlet during normal business hours) were deleted by the 2020 amendments to § 3044F.

Civil penalties for violation of this law were added in new subsection (f) (with a penalty of up to $100 for a first offense and graduated increases for second or subsequent violations).

Dogs Running at Large:

In Section 3048F on dogs running at large, the law was modified such that "[n]o dog, unless exempted under this section, shall be permitted to run at large outside at any time, and must be secured by means of a leash that is capable of physically restraining the movement of the dog. A dog is not at large if it is within the real property limits of its owner, or on private property with permission, or within a vehicle being driven or parked." The exemptions that were added are for "working dogs" dogs that are off-leash at places like dog parks.


  No major statutory changes.


West's F. S. A. § 252.3568 - 3569

West's F.S.A. § 379.2426

West's F.S.A. § 379.2311

West's F.S.A. § 379.372

West's F.S.A. § 379.4041

West's F. S. A. § 741.30

West's F. S. A. § 760.27


Florida enacted a new law aimed at the illegal taking of bears during closed season:

379.4041. Illegal taking, possession, and sale of bears

(1) Unless a person is acting under the authority of rule 68A–4.009, Florida Administrative Code, a person who takes a bear or possesses a freshly killed bear during the closed season prescribed by law or rules of the commission commits a Level Three violation under s. 379.401 and forfeits any license or permit issued to him or her under this chapter for 3 years after the date of the violation. A person who commits a subsequent offense of such taking or possession is permanently ineligible for issuance of any license or permit under this chapter.

(2) A person who possesses for sale or sells a bear taken in violation of this section or rules of the commission commits a Level Four violation under s. 379.401.

Disaster Planning:

The Florida Pet Emergency Disaster Plan law was amended in 2020. A new paragraph was added to § 252.3568 that states:

(2) If a county maintains designated shelters it must also designate a shelter that can accommodate persons with pets. The shelter must be in compliance with applicable FEMA Disaster Assistance Policies and Procedures and with safety procedures regarding the sheltering of pets established in the shelter component of both local and state comprehensive emergency management plans.

Domestic Violence:

In 2020, Florida added this provision to (5)(a)(4): "Awarding to the petitioner the temporary exclusive care, possession, or control of an animal that is owned, possessed, harbored, kept, or held by the petitioner, the respondent, or a minor child residing in the residence or household of the petitioner or respondent. The court may order the respondent to temporarily have no contact with the animal and prohibit the respondent from taking, transferring, encumbering, concealing, harming, or otherwise disposing of the animal. This subparagraph does not apply to an animal owned primarily for a bona fide agricultural purpose, as defined under s. 193.461, or to a service animal, as defined under s. 413.08, if the respondent is the service animal's handler."

Emotional Support Animals:

Florida added a new law that prohibits discrimination in housing provided to persons with a disability or disability-related need for an emotional support animal. Section 760.27, effective in July of 2020, mirrors the federal requirements for submitting a request for an assistance animal. A person with a disability or a disability-related need must, upon the person's request and approval by a housing provider, be allowed to keep such animal in his or her dwelling as a reasonable accommodation in housing, and such person may not be required to pay extra compensation for such animal. Unless otherwise prohibited by federal law, rule, or regulation . . ." Denial based on "direct threat to the safety or health of others or poses a direct threat of physical damage to the property of others, which threat cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation" are described in the new law. Additionally, when a disability is not known or not apparent to the landlord, a procedure for establishing the disability is outlined as is "a person's disability-related need for an emotional support animal is not readily apparent, request reliable information that reasonably supports the person's need for the particular emotional support animal being requested." This includes documentation from a healthcare practitioner. Notably, paragraph (3)(c) states "[a]n emotional support animal registration of any kind, including, but not limited to, an identification card, patch, certificate, or similar registration obtained from the Internet is not, by itself, sufficient information to reliably establish that a person has a disability or a disability-related need for an emotional support animal." West's F. S. A. § 760.27

Non-native Invasive Species:

To Florida's law on non-native invasive species management (section 379.2311) the term “priority invasive species” was added. This specifically refers to the following species:

(a) Lizards of the genus Tupinambis, also known as tegu lizards;

(b) Species identified in s. 379.372(2)(a);

(c) Pterois volitans, also known as red lionfish; and

(d) Pterois miles, also known as the common lionfish or devil firefish.

West's F.S.A. § 379.2311

In addition, those same priority invasive species (the Green iguana (Iguana iguana) and the Tegu lizard (any species of the genera Salvator or Tupinambis) were added to the list of restricted species prohibited for possession from Section § 379.372. A grandfathering clause was added for species that allows those with wildlife exhibition or sales licenses to continue to sell the stock of restricted lizards so long as their license is valid and no more prohibited lizards are imported:

(b) If a person, firm, or corporation holds a valid captive wildlife class III exhibition or sale license on January 1, 2020, and documented an inventory of green iguanas or tegu lizards on his or her or its 2019 application, the commission may grandfather that person, firm, or corporation so as to allow them to continue to exhibit, sell, or breed green iguanas or tegu lizards commercially for as long as the license remains active. Such status is void upon any license transfer or lapse. The person, firm, or corporation may only sell such inventory of green iguanas or tegu lizards outside of this state and may not import the species into this state. The commission shall adopt rules that address all of the following:

1. Reporting requirements.

2. Biosecurity measures to prevent escape of these species.

3. Any necessary grandfathering provisions for those persons presently in possession of either a green iguana or a tegu lizard who do not meet the grandfathering provisions of this paragraph.

West's F.S.A. § 379.372


To the “Kristin Jacobs Ocean Conservation Act" that was originally enacted in 2017, the following exceptions were added to the law that allows the taking of shark fins under certain circumstances:

(3) Notwithstanding any other law, the import, export, and sale of shark fins is prohibited and nothing in this section authorizes such activities.

(4) The prohibitions under subsection (3) do not apply to any of the following:

(a) The sale of shark fins by any commercial fisherman who harvested sharks from a vessel holding a valid federal shark fishing permit on January 1, 2020.

(b) The export and sale of shark fins by any wholesale dealer holding a valid federal Atlantic shark dealer permit on January 1, 2020.

(c) The export and sale of domestically sourced shark fins by any shark fin processor that obtains fins from a wholesale dealer holding a valid federal Atlantic shark dealer permit on January 1, 2020.


Ga. Code Ann., § 26-2-152

"Fake" meat law:

In Georgia's law on "bait and switch advertising" in Article 4 on meat sales, the following definition and restriction were added aimed at the expansion of plant-based food and protection of meat farmers:

(c)(1) As used in this subsection the term:

(A) “Animal” means any animal, including cattle, swine, sheep, goats, fish, and poultry, including eggs, raised for the production of an edible product or products intended for human consumption. The term also includes “game animals” as such term is defined in Code Section 27–1–2.

(B) “Food” means articles used or processed for human consumption and components of any such articles.

(2) It shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, firm, company, or corporation to label, advertise, or otherwise represent any food produced or sold in this state as meat or any product from an animal unless each product is clearly labeled by displaying the following terms prominently and conspicuously on the front of the package, labeling cell cultured products with “lab-grown,” “lab-created,” or “grown in a lab” and plant based products as “vegetarian,” “veggie,” “vegan,” “plant based,” or other similar term indicating that the product is plant based and does not include the flesh, offal, or other by-product of any part of the carcass of a live animal that has been slaughtered.”




 No major statutory changes.


  No major statutory changes.


  No major statutory changes.


  No major statutory changes.


I. C. A. § 351.45

I. C. A. § 351.46

I. C. A. § 717B.1

I. C. A. § 717B.2

I. C. A. § 717B.3

I. C. A. § 717B.3A

I. C. A. § 717B.8


Anti-cruelty Laws:

New definitions were added to Iowa's animal cruelty laws in Section 717B1. Among the significant new definitions were for "animal mistreatment," "injury," and "serious injury."

Section 717B2 is Iowa's operative anti-cruelty law. In 2020, the entire section was amended. Previously, the law stated, "A person is guilty of animal abuse if the person intentionally injures, maims, disfigures, or destroys an animal owned by another person, in any manner, including intentionally poisoning the animal." Now, the law provides, "A person commits animal abuse when the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly acts to inflict injury, serious injury, or death on an animal by force, violence, or poisoning." In addition, the exceptions under the law in subsection (2) were amended. A new exemption was added for owner-induced euthanasia ("An owner of the animal, or a person acting with the consent of the owner, who euthanizes an animal in a reasonable manner, if at the time of the euthanasia, the animal is in a state of permanent pain or suffering."). An exemption was added for commerical establishments as well: "An act required to be carried out by a commercial establishment to care for an animal in its possession or under its control as described in section 162.10A, subsection 1, provided that the commercial establishment complies with applicable standard of care requirements pursuant to subsections 1 and 2 of that section."

The penalties for animal abuse were altered for § 717B.2. A person who commits animal abuse that causes injury, other than serious injury or death, to an animal is guilty of a serious misdemeanor. A person who commits animal abuse that causes serious injury or death to an animal is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor. New subsection (5) now includes a felony provision for certain animal abuse:

5. Notwithstanding subsection 4, a person who commits animal abuse that causes serious injury or death to an animal is guilty of a class “D” felony if the person has previously been convicted of committing animal abuse pursuant to this section, animal neglect punishable as a serious misdemeanor or aggravated misdemeanor pursuant to section 717B.3, animal torture pursuant to section 717B.3A, injury to or interference with a police service dog pursuant to section 717B.9, bestiality pursuant to section 717C.1, or an act involving a contest event prohibited in section 717D.2.

The animal neglect law (717B3) was also amended significantly. First, the law made it clear it applies to those who have custody of an animal and confine it ("A person commits animal neglect when the person owns or has custody of an animal, confines that animal, and fails to provide the animal with any of the following conditions for the animal's welfare."). Second, the amendments added very specific requirements for care including access to quality food reasonably sufficient to satisfy the animal's basic nutrition level; access to potable water ("snow or ice does not satisfy this requirement"), sanitary conditions free from excessive animal waste or the overcrowding of animals; ventilated shelter reasonably sufficient to provide adequate protection from the elements and weather conditions suitable for the age, species, and physical condition of the animal so as to maintain the animal in a state of good health; adequate grooming; and veterinary care deemed necessary by a reasonably prudent person to relieve an animal's distress. Again, as with the other sections, commercial establishments that follow state standards as described in the law are exempted from this law. The penalty for injury to an animal caused by neglect was increased to a serious misdemeanor from a simple misdemeanor previously. A person who commits animal neglect that causes serious injury or death to an animal is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor and becomes a class “D” felony if the person has been previously convicted of animal abuse or the other crimes listed.

The animal torture law (717B3A) was clarified in 2020. Previously, torture occurred when a person inflicted "physical pain with a depraved or sadistic intent to cause prolonged suffering." Now, the law states that "a person is guilty of animal torture if the person intentionally or knowingly inflicts on an animal severe and prolonged or repeated physical pain that causes the animal's serious injury or death." A similar exemption as with 717B2 for commercial establishments was added to this law ("An act required to be carried out by a commercial establishment to care for an animal in its possession or under its control as described in section 162.10A, subsection 1, provided that the commercial establishment complies with applicable standard of care requirements pursuant to subsections 1 and 2 of that section.").

A new section (717B.3B: Animal mistreatment—court order—evaluation and treatment) was added to allow a court to enter an order requiring the person to undergo a psychological or psychiatric evaluation and to undergo any treatment that the court determines to be appropriate after due consideration of the evaluation.

Finally, Section 717B.8 on animal abandonment was amended. Previously, the law stated that a person who has ownership or custody shall not abandon the cat or dog except to deliver it as described. Now, the law states that a person commits animal abandonment if the person owns or has custody of a cat or dog and relinquishes all rights in and duties to care for the cat or dog. The law added an exemption related to cats:

c. A person who relinquishes custody of a cat at a location in which the person does not hold a legal or equitable interest, if previously the person had taken custody of the cat at the same location and provided for the cat's sterilization by a veterinarian.

In terms of penalty, abandonment that does not cause injury stayed a simple misdemeanor. However, under the 2020 amendments, abandonment that causes injury other than serious injury or death to an animal is guilty of a serious misdemeanor and animal abandonment that causes serious injury or death to an animal is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor.

Dog Laws:

Iowa added two new laws in Chapter 351 on dog laws. The first, Section 351.45, makes it a misdemeanor to tamper with or destroy a rabies vaccination tag attached to a collar worn by a dog. There are exceptions for the owner and other authorized individuals.

The next law, Section 351.46, makes it a misdemeanor to tamper with an electronic-handling device worn by a dog. Again, exceptions for the owner, veterinarians, or other authorized persons exist.




There were no major statutory changes in Kansas, although the following case held the state's "ag-gag" laws (K. S. A. 47-1825 - 1830) unconstitutional: Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Kelly, 434 F. Supp. 3d 974 (D. Kan. 2020), amended, No. CV 18-2657-KHV, 2020 WL 1659855 (D. Kan. Apr. 3, 2020).


  No major statutory changes.


  No major statutory changes.


7 M. R. S. A. § 4153

Pet sales:

Maine completely revamped 7 M. R. S. A. § 4153 in 2020. The new law outlines what types of pet sales are prohibited in the state including:

an animal that has any obvious clinical sign of infectious, contagious, parasitic or communicable disease or abnormality or has any disease, illness or condition that requires hospitalization or nonelective surgical procedures; and


Most significantly, the state outlawed the sale of animals at pet shops. Pet shops can still host adoption events from animal rescue entities.

The law has a grandfather clause which allows pet shops to continue selling animals provided the following requirements are met:

(1) Maintains a valid license under section 3933;

(2) Remains in the same ownership as existed on May 1, 2019; and

(3) Keeps for sale or offers for sale in any calendar year no greater a number of animals than were kept for sale or offered for sale by the pet shop in calendar year 2018.

Violation of the law incurs a civil violation for which a fine of $500 may be adjudged and is subject to the suspension or revocation of the person's pet shop license. Each offer for sale of an animal in violation of constitutes a separate violation.


MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-620

MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-626

MD Code, Agriculture, § 2-313.2

Animal Care Fund:

Section § 10-626 of Subsection 6 on Crimes Related to Animals was abrogated by Acts 2017, c. 410, § 2, and became effective on Oct. 1, 2020. The former law established the Animal Abuse Emergency Compensation Fund used to assist in paying costs associated with the removal and care of animals impounded under this subtitle.


A minor but significant change occurred with the title of a criminal law under Subsection 6 on Crimes Related to Animals. The title of § 10-620 was changed from "interference with race horse" to "interference with an equine." Not only was the term "race horse" changed to "equine," but the term "equine" was expanded to be defined as “equine” horses, donkeys, mules, and ponies. However, with this change, the penalty was changed from a 3-year felony to a 1-year/$1,000 fine misdemeanor.

Veterinary Laws:

Maryland enacted a new law (MD Code, Agriculture, § 2-313.2) in its veterinary practice laws. The new section allows the Board to issue a cease and desist order to those practicing veterinary medicine illegally or for those who the Board determines by a preponderance of show evidence of grounds for discipline, or those who pose a serious risk to the health, safety, and welfare of an animal patient. The law establishes civil penalties that the Board may impose lieu of a cease and desist order.


  No major statutory changes.


M.C.L.A. § 287.731

Exotic Pets:

In Section 287.731, the law that controls the importation of dangerous or exotic animals, two important new paragraphs were added that underscored the state's stance on large carnivores and wolf-dog crosses:

(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this act, and unless otherwise allowed under section 22 of the large carnivore act, 2000 PA 274, MCL 287.1122, a person shall not import a large carnivore, as that term is defined in section 2 of the large carnivore act, 2000 PA 274, MCL 287.1102, into this state.

(6) Notwithstanding any other provision of this act, and unless otherwise allowed under section 22 of the wolf-dog cross act, 2000 PA 246, MCL 287.1022, a person shall not import a wolf-dog cross, as that term is defined in section 2 of the wolf-dog cross act, 2000 PA 246, MCL 287.1002, into this state.


M. S. A. § 343.215

Veterinarian Reporting of Cruelty:

A new section was added to the state's anti-cruelty laws. It gives veterinarians who report suspected animal cruelty immunity from civil and criminal liability:

343.215. Veterinarian immunity

A licensed veterinarian acting in good faith and in the normal course of business is immune from civil and criminal liability in any action arising in connection with the report of a suspected incident of animal cruelty.

Laws 2020, c. 89, art. 4, § 33, eff. Aug. 1, 2020.


Miss. Code Ann. § 97-41-16

Cruelty to dog or cat:

Section 97-41-16 on maliciously injuring dogs or cats received some amendments in 2020. First, the term "domesticated" was added throughout the law before the phrase "dog or cat." In paragraph (2)(a) and (b)(i), a sentence was added that states, "[e]ach act of simple cruelty that is committed against more than one (1) domesticated dog or cat constitutes a separate offense." The penalty for a first offense of aggravated cruelty was increased from 6 months jail/$2,500 fine to 3 years jail/$5,000. The penalty for a second or subsequent offense was increased from 5 years jail/$5,000 fine to 10 years jail/$10,000 fine. In addition, the amendments added that "[f]or purposes of calculating previous offenses of aggravated cruelty under this subparagraph (iii), commission of one or more acts of aggravated cruelty against one or more domesticated dogs or cats within a twenty-four-hour period shall be considered one (1) offense." In subsection (3)(b)(iii), a restriction on future ownership of animals was added:

4. If convicted of simple cruelty under this section, be prohibited from owning or possessing or residing with a domesticated dog or cat for any period of time not exceeding five (5) years from the date of sentencing, or any period of time not exceeding fifteen (15) years from the date of sentencing if the conviction involved four (4) or more counts of simple cruelty.

The restriction on future ownership is enhanced for aggravated cruelty: "(c) The court shall order that any person convicted of an offense of aggravated cruelty under this section be prohibited from owning or possessing or residing with a domesticated dog or cat for a period not less than five (5) years nor more than fifteen (15) years from the date of sentencing."

A person found in violation of a court order on restriction of ownership, in addition to any other punishment provided by law, may be fined in an amount not exceeding $1,000.00 for each domesticated dog or cat unlawfully owned or possessed and the domesticated dog or cat involved in a violation of this court order described shall be forfeited to the state.

Finally, in (4)(a) related to exceptions under the law, the amendments added "(xiv) Engaging in the training of service dogs used to assist those with physical or mental health conditions."


V.A.M.S. 209.150

V.A.M.S. 209.200

V.A.M.S. 209.204

Service animals:

The definition for service animal and related provisions for defining disability were amended in the state under Chapter 209. In Section 209.150, specific references for the term disability (i.e., visual, aural, diabetes) were removed. That section also adopted the definition for service animal from section 209.200.

Section 209.200 changed its service animal definition from "a dog that is being or has been specially trained to do work or perform tasks which benefit a particular person with a disability" to "a dog that is being or has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability." A new definition for “mental health service dog” or “psychiatric service dog” was added in paragraph (2)(d).

Finally, the state amended its law on service dog fraud (section 209.204) to include specific conduct that constitutes service dog fraud. This law now also covers fraud with assistance animals in housing. Such prohibited actions include (1) knowingly creating false assistance animal documents; (2) knowingly providing false documents to another; (3) knowingly fitting an animal, if the animal is not an assistance animal, with a harness, collar, vest, or sign of the type commonly used by a person with a disability to indicate an animal is an assistance animal; or knowingly and intentionally misrepresenting a material fact to a health care provider for the purpose of obtaining documentation from the health care provider necessary to designate an animal as an assistance animal. A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a class C misdemeanor and shall also be civilly liable for any actual damages resulting from such misrepresentation. Any second or subsequent violation of this subsection is a class B misdemeanor.


 No major statutory changes.


 No major statutory changes.


N.R.S. 598.993

Animal testing:

The state enacted a law prohibiting a manufacturer from importing for profit, selling or offering for sale in this State any cosmetic for which the manufacturer knew or reasonably should have known that animal testing was conducted or contracted by or on behalf of the manufacturer or any supplier of the manufacturer if the animal testing was conducted on or after January 1, 2020. Limited exceptions exist. A violation of this section constitutes a deceptive trade practice.

New Hampshire

 No major statutory changes.

New Jersey

N. J. S. A. 18A:3B-85

"Beagle freedom" law:

The “Homes for Animal Heroes Act" adopted in 2020 states that an institution of higher education that uses cats or dogs for educational, research, or scientific purposes, or a research institution that contracts with an institution of higher education for the use of cats or dogs for educational, research, or scientific purposes, shall require the assessment of the health of a cat or dog and determine whether it is suitable for adoption after the completion of any testing or research involving the cat or dog. If the institution determines that the cat or dog is suitable for adoption, the institution shall offer the cat or dog to an animal rescue organization or private individual for adoption.

New Mexico

 No major statutory changes. 

New York

McKinney's E. C. L. § 11-0535

Endangered Species:

In the state's law on endangered species, the following phrase was added to the definition for endangered species in 2020: "any endangered or threatened species as so designated by the Secretary of the Interior shall be subject to the restrictions of this section, regardless of the removal of such designation as an endangered or threatened species by the Secretary of the Interior."


North Carolina

  No major statutory changes.

North Dakota

  No major statutory changes.


R.C. § 959.07

R.C. § 959.08

R.C. § 959.09

R.C. § 959.132

R.C. § 959.134

Animal Cruelty:

Ohio enacted a new law (R.C. § 959.07) that requires a licensed veterinarian, protective services worker, officer, or social services professional to immediately to report a violation involving a companion animal to an officer who is not a dog warden or deputy dog warden when that listed person has knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect that such a violation has occurred or is occurring.

The following section, R.C. § 959.08, then requires an officer, dog warden, or deputy dog warden operating in an official or professional capacity to immediately report a violation involving a companion animal to an appropriate social service professional when:

(A) The officer, dog warden, or deputy dog warden has knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect that a violation involving a companion animal has occurred or is occurring;

(B) The officer, dog warden, or deputy dog warden has knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect that a child or older adult resides with the alleged violator;

(C) The officer, dog warden, or deputy dog warden suspects that the violation involving a companion animal may have an impact on the child or older adult residing with the alleged violator.

Section § 959.09 explains the contents of such a report under both previous law and provides that a listed person is immune from civil or criminal liability in connection with making that report if the person acted in good faith when making the report. It also prohibits knowingly making a false report.

In Section R.C. § 959.132 relating to the seizure and impoundment of an animal suspected to be the subject of an animal cruelty offense, amendments in 2020 added a requirement in paragraph C that the officer seizing the animal must notify the owner not later than 24-hours after impoundment.

Chemical Capture:

A new section (R.C. § 959.134) clearly states that chemical capture of a companion animal by a certified officer is not an act of cruelty.


2 Okl.St.Ann. § 5-107

"Fake Meat" Law:

Oklahoma enacted the "Oklahoma Meat Consumer Protection Act" (2 Okl.St.Ann. § 5-107). The law purports to protect consumers from misrepresentation of products that are not derived from harvested production livestock. Under the law, "product packaging for plant-based items shall not be considered in violation of the provisions of this paragraph so long as the packaging displays that the product is derived from plant-based sources in type that is uniform in size and prominence to the name of the product."


  No major statutory changes.


  No major statutory changes.

Rhode Island

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-13-1

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-13-15

Dog Ordinances for Foster:

To Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-13-1 on regulatory ordinances related to fines and license fees for dogs, the state added the Foster Town Council to the list of cities in the law. The provisions for Foster state the following:

(27) The Foster town council is authorized to enact ordinances permitting the dog officer in the town to issue citations to the owners of dogs for the violation of any dog ordinance, which may be paid by mail, and may prescribe pecuniary penalties as follows:

(i) A fine not exceeding twenty dollars ($20.00) for the first offense within a calendar year;

(ii) A fine not exceeding thirty dollars ($30.00) for the second offense within a calendar year;

(iii) A fine not exceeding fifty dollars ($50.00) for the third and each subsequent offense within a calendar year.

In addition, Foster is now authorized to enact an ordinance that establishes an impoundment fee of up to $15 per animal, per day and require that the fee be paid before release of the animal to its owner per amendments to Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-13-15.

South Carolina

Code 1976 § 50-15-15

Code 1976 § 50-15-55


A new law (Code 1976 § 50-15-15) amended the article on Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Species to allow the Department of Natural Resources to promulgate regulations for the appropriate management of native reptile and amphibian species including limitations on, and permitting for, the possession, transfer, sale, barter, trade, shipment, and removal from this State of native reptile and amphibian species. The law also makes it unlawful to possess or sell reptiles in violation of those regulations.

An additional new law (Code 1976 § 50-15-55) makes it unlawful for a person to release wildlife that is not native to this State from captivity in this State. The law further allows the department may promulgate regulations to prohibit or otherwise restrict certain species of nonnative wildlife in this State.

South Dakota

S D C L § 20-13-23.2

Service Animals:

South Dakota amended its laws on service animals (S D C L § 20-13-23.2) to allow a service animal trainer to be accompanied by a service animal in training that is wearing a collar and leash, harness, or cape that identifies the animal as a service animal in training. Failure of any owner or employee of a place listed in § 20-13-23.1 to comply with the provisions of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor. The definition section under this chapter (S D C L § 20-13-1) had the following two terms added in 2020 as well:

(17) “Service animal in training,” any dog undergoing individual training to provide specific disability-related work or service for an individual with a disability. Dogs are recognized as being in training to provide disability-specific assistance only after they have completed basic obedience training and are housebroken;

(18) “Service animal trainer,” any person who trains service animals for individuals with disabilities as an employee, contractor, or volunteer of a nationally recognized service animal training program;


  No major statutory changes.


  No major statutory changes.


U.C.A. 1953 § 58-28-102

U.C.A. 1953 § 58-28-309

U.C.A. 1953 § 58-28-310

U.C.A. 1953 § 58-28-311


Veterinary Technicians:

Utah amended its Veterinary Practice Act to add provisions related to veterinary technicians. The definitional section added a definition for "practice of veterinary technology" (subsection 12). Section 58-38-309, 310, and 311 were new laws enacted in 2020 that established qualifications and terms for state certification of vet techs as well as limitations on practice.


13 V.S.A. § 351

13 V.S.A. § 351b

13 V.S.A. § 365

20 V.S.A. § 3350

Animal cruelty:

In Chapter 8 on "Humane and Proper Treatment of Animals," the state made changes to the law on sheltering of animals. These changes added specificity for shelter of livestock.

In the definitional section (Section 351), three new terms were added:

(22) “Adequate constructed shelter” means a well-drained and structurally sound building with a waterproof roof that is of sufficient size to provide a windbreak and protection from exposure to prevailing winds, rain, hail, sleet, snow, and sun and that provides enough space to accommodate at one time all livestock and animals comfortably. The building opening size and height shall, at a minimum, allow six inches of clearance above the largest animal's ears when the animal is standing in a normal position and the clearance shall be maintained at that level even with manure and litter buildup.

(23) “Adequate natural shelter” means a natural structure or formation, which may include a stand of trees that:

(A) is a well-drained area of sufficient size to provide a windbreak and protection from exposure to prevailing winds, rain, hail, sleet, sun, and snow; and

(B) provides enough space to accommodate at one time all livestock or animals maintained out-of-doors in the area.

(24) “Adequate ventilation” means that ventilation in an enclosed or confined area shall be sufficient to control excessive ambient temperatures and humidity and to prevent the accumulation of toxic gases, such as ammonia.

13 V.S.A. § 351.

Additionally, the definition for “necessary medical attention” was broadened by adding excessive "dehydration, malnutrition, pain" as things that require medical attention and the phrase "malformed or overgrown hoof" was changed to a more general "impaired locomotive function."

A following section on the scope of the subchapter (Section 351b) states to what activities the subchapter does not apply. In 2020, to paragraph (1) on activities regulated by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the phrase, "including the act of destroying feral swine in accordance with 10 V.S.A. § 4709(f)" was added.

In Section 365, changes were made to sheltering requirements for livestock. Previously, the law stated that "[a]dequate natural shelter, or a three-sided, roofed building with exposure out of the prevailing wind and of sufficient size to adequately accommodate all livestock maintained in an outdoor area shall be provided. The building opening size and height shall, at a minimum, extend one foot above the withers of the largest animal housed and shall be maintained at that level even with manure and litter build-up." After amendments effective in July 2020, this was added:

Livestock animals confined in enclosed areas shall be provided with adequate ventilation and shall have access to adequate exercise. Equines housed within a designated space continually, without access to a paddock, turn out, or other exercise area shall be provided the opportunity for periodic exercise, either through free choice or through a forced work program, to maintain normal muscle tone and mass for the age, size, and condition of the animal or in accordance with accepted agricultural or veterinary practices.

Further, a tethering requirement was added to the provisions:

(3) A leash, rope, or chain used to restrict a livestock animal shall be affixed in a manner that prevents the livestock animal from becoming entangled or injured and shall permit the livestock animal access to adequate shelter, adequate food, and adequate water. This subdivision shall not apply to a livestock animal that is in transit or in the immediate control of a person.

13 V.S.A. § 365

Feral Swine:

A new law was added to Chapter 191 on Animal Control:

§ 3350. The disposition of feral swine

(a) The General Assembly finds that feral swine, as defined in 10 V.S.A. § 4709, have the potential for spreading serious disease to domestic livestock, may cause devastating destruction to natural ecosystems, and pose a threat to human health and safety.

(b) In light of the potential impacts of feral swine, and notwithstanding the provisions of law in this chapter, the Department of Fish and Wildlife may destroy or euthanize a feral swine in accordance with the requirements of 10 V.S.A. § 4709(f).

(c) The exercise by the Department of Fish and Wildlife of the authority under 10 V.S.A. § 4709(f) shall not prevent any person from pursuing or collecting the remedies set forth in this chapter.


VA Code Ann. § 3.2-5901.1

VA Code Ann. § 3.2-6501.1

VA Code Ann. § 3.2-6513.2

VA Code Ann. § 3.2-6587

Animal Control:

To Article 12 of the Comprehensive Animal Care Act, a new paragraph was added under the statute on unlawful acts (VA Code Ann. § 3.2-6587). The paragraph makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to "[p]ermit a dog or cat that he owns or is in his custody to stray from his premises when he knows or has been told by the local health department, law-enforcement agency, animal control agency, or any other person who has a duty to control or respond to a risk of rabies exposure that the dog or cat is suspected of having rabies."

Animal Inspector:

Virginia enacted a new law (VA Code Ann. § 3.2-5901.1) as part of the chapter on the general provisions under Subtitle V on Domestic Animals. Under this new law, the Commissioner shall employ and direct at least two licensed veterinary technicians, each of whom shall be known as the State Animal Welfare Inspector (the Inspector) and shall have the duty to carry out the tasks assigned.

Dog Leasing:

Virginia enacted a new law (VA Code Ann. § 3.2-6513.2) that prohibits rental or leasing of a dog or cat to a Virginia consumer, including by a purported sale of the animal in such a manner as to vest less than full equity in the consumer at the time of the purported sale. No such agreement may offer repossession of a cat or dog if the consumer is in default. If a facility violates this new law, it faces enforcement provisions under the Virginia Consumer Protection Act and may have its facility license revoked. The section does not apply to a purebred dog or cat leased as part of a breeding agreement or dogs or cats used in certain events (shows, movies, rodeos, etc.).

Pet Shops:

A new law (VA Code Ann. § 3.2-6501.1) directs the Board under Chapter 65 of the Comprehensive Animal Care Act to develop regulations by July 1, 2022 on the keeping of cats and dogs by pet shops. The regulations will require a regulated person or facility to register annually with the Department. The Board must develop regulations with standards for the keeping of animals, including (i) standards of adequate care, exercise, feed, shelter, space, treatment, and water and (ii) standards of proper cleaning and lighting. Regulations must include at least one annual unannounced inspection with remedies for violation of inspection including cancellation of registration granted under this chapter.


West's RCWA 16.08.030

West's RCWA 16.52.095

West's RCWA 16.54.020

West's RCWA 16.54.030 

West's RCWA 18.92.280

West's RCWA 63.10.07 (and other sections)


Abandoned Animals:

In Chapter 16.54 relating to abandoned animals, two laws had language added to them (West's RCWA 16.54.020 and West's RCWA 16.54.030). The inserted language allows an abandoned animal to be delivered to "any animal care and control agency as defined in RCW 16.52.011 or to an animal rescue group as defined in RCW 82.04.040 having the facilities and resources necessary for the care of such an animal." Previously, under RCWA 16.54.030, it was the duty to deliver the animal to the sheriff for sale at a public auction.

Dangerous Dogs:

In 2020, the following law (West's RCWA 16.08.030) was repealed in the dangerous dog laws:

It shall be the duty of any person owning or keeping any dog or dogs which shall be found killing any domestic animal to kill such dog or dogs within forty-eight hours after being notified of that fact, and any person failing or neglecting to comply with the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and it shall be the duty of the sheriff or any deputy sheriff to kill any dog found running at large (after the first day of August of any year and before the first day of March in the following year) without a metal identification tag.

Dog Leasing:

In 2019, Washington enacted legislation prohibiting the sale of a dog or cat through an installment agreement. This resulted in three different new laws corresponding to different types of sales agreements. Essentially, a contract or retail installment contract entered into on or after July 28, 2019, to transfer ownership of a live dog or cat in which ownership is contingent upon the making of payments over a period of time subsequent to the transfer of possession of the live dog or cat is void and unenforceable.

Ear Cropping and Devocalizing a Dog:

Washington's law on ear cropping (West's RCWA 16.52.095) received a major overhaul. Previously, the law made it misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $20 to cut off more than half of certain animals' (including dogs) ears. Now, the law makes it a misdemeanor for any person to do the following:

(b) For any person to:

(i) Devocalize a dog;

(ii) Crop or cut off any part of the ear of a dog; or

(iii) Crop or cut off any part of the tail of a dog that is seven days old or older, or has opened its eyes, whichever occurs sooner.

This law does not apply if the person performing the procedure is a licensed veterinarian utilizing accepted veterinary surgical protocols that may include local anesthesia, general anesthesia, or perioperative pain management.

Veterinary Laws:

Washington enacted a new law (West's RCWA 18.92.280) in the veterinary practice code that requires the veterinary board, in consultation, to develop a suicide prevention training program for veterinarians and veterinary technicians by June 30, 2022.

West Virginia

W. Va. Code, § 20-2-5j

Tracking Dogs:

A new law (W. Va. Code, § 20-2-5j) was added to the Wildlife Management code that allows the use of leashed dog by a hunter who reasonably believes he or she has mortally wounded a deer or bear.


  No major statutory changes.


  No major statutory changes.
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