Animal Abuse Laws in Arizona

Arizona’s animal abuse and neglect laws are long, detailed and confusing. The average person or pet owner may not realize all the different actions or behaviors that could technically constitute animal abuse under a state or municipal law in Arizona. If you injured or killed an animal – even if you did not do so intentionally – you could face charges for animal cruelty in Arizona. This crime can come with serious penalties, including jail time. Learn more about the state’s animal abuse laws and how to defend yourself against allegations by contacting a criminal defense lawyer.

What Is Considered Animal Cruelty Under the Law?

Arizona Revised Statute 13-2910 defines the crime of cruelty to animals. It describes many specific actions and behaviors that will constitute animal cruelty according to state law. If found guilty of any of these prohibited acts, you could face significant penalties for the crime of animal cruelty. Most of these actions require proof that the culprit committed them recklessly, intentionally or knowingly to be guilty of a crime.

  • Subjecting an animal in your custody to neglect or abandonment that causes injury.
  • Failing to provide necessary medical attention to a suffering animal in your custody.
  • Inflicting a physical injury on any animal.
  • Recklessly mistreating an animal in a cruel way.
  • Killing an animal in another person’s custody without consent from the owner or legal privilege.
  • Interfering with, harming or killing a working service animal without consent from the owner or legal privilege.
  • Leaving an animal unattended in a motor vehicle when this is likely to cause the animal injury or death.
  • Allowing a dog that is in your custody to harm or kill a service animal.
  • Obtaining unauthorized control of a service animal with the intent to deprive the handler of the animal.
  • Harassing a working law enforcement animal without consent from the owner or legal privilege.

Arizona also has numerous statutes outlining other animal cruelty laws and related regulations. It has many animal laws in place regarding guide dogs, animal fighting, animal bites, municipal ordinances, domestic violence, endangered nongame animals, fish and wildlife, equine activity, the humane slaughter of animals, hunting, trapping, leash use, and more. Learning all of Arizona’s animal cruelty laws may take help from a Glendale criminal defense attorney.

Legal Consequences of Animal Abuse

If convicted of any type of animal abuse or cruelty crime in Arizona, the penalties could be severe. A judge may order you to pay a significant fine and restitution. You may be financially liable for the costs of animal rescue and required medical care. You could also face jail time, depending on the crime and how your actions affected the animal. Other possible legal consequences include probation, community service and house arrest.

Can You Be Charged for Killing Predatory Animals?

Yes, you could face charges for killing a predatory animal in Arizona in certain circumstances. If you intentionally or recklessly torture, mutilate or maim a predatory or wild animal, it is animal cruelty. If you intentionally and knowingly kill an endangered predatory animal, you could also face criminal charges. If you are defending your property, livestock or domestic pets, however, you may have the right to kill a predatory animal. These cases are complex. Criminal charges and defense options will depend on the unique situation. Talk to a lawyer for more information.

One defense to Arizona’s animal cruelty law is if you set poison out for a dog or predatory animal who killed or wounded your livestock. You may not face criminal penalties or civil liability for killing a predatory animal via poisoning if you put up warning signs that other people can read from distance of 50 feet when setting out the poison. It is also not animal cruelty to poison wild or domestic rodents in or around an owned building as allowed by state law. Discuss your defense strategy after an arrest for animal cruelty in Arizona with an attorney as soon as possible.