Penalties For Animal Neglect Increased Under New law

Under a bill signed July 26 by Gov. Jerry Brown, the misdemeanor penalty for animal neglect is increased to the misdemeanor penalty for animal cruelty.

California’s critters and consumers should be grateful for this, according to Sen. Ted Lieu, the Torrance Democrat who carried the bill.

“Animal abuse is generally divided into two main categories: Animal cruelty and animal neglect,” Lieu said in a statement when his measure, SB 917, passed the Senate in May.

“Animal cruelty usually refers to a single act of harm on an animal. Animal neglect usually causes suffering that’s more extended or prolonged,” Lieu explained.

“Whether an animal is tortured or starved, too often the result is death.  Either way, it’s a horrible way to die and the penalties should be consistent.”

Sen. Ted Lieu

Here’s what Lieu’s bill does, according to an Assembly Public Safety Committee analysis:

“(This bill) increases the misdemeanor penalty from not more than six months to not more than 12 months in the county jail for every person who overloads, overworks, denies sustenance, cruelly beats, mutilates, or cruelly kills any animal and whoever having custody of an animal, either as owner or otherwise, subjects an animal to needless suffering or inflicts unnecessary cruelty upon the animal, or in any manner abuses any animal, or fails to provide an animal with proper food, drink, or shelter or proper protection from the weather.”

For consumers, Lieu’s bill also bans sales of live animals on any “street, highway, public right-of-way, parking lot, carnival or boardwalk.”

The first violation is an infraction with a fine that cannot exceed $250 unless the transaction causes the animal to suffer or be injured in which it becomes a misdemeanor.

Second and third offenses are automatically misdemeanors.

There are exceptions. Among them: the State Fair, cat or dog shows, 4-H clubs and live animal and fish markets.

“Roadside sales of animals present a special concern for our member organizations as humane officers and animal control officers often find animals that are ill and/or diseased and kept in unsafe and/or unsanitary conditions,” writes the State Humane Association of California, the sponsor of the bill.




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