If you abuse or neglect an animal in Florida, you can be charged with a crime. Cruelty to animals is illegal in Florida. Neglect includes abandonment and locking up a pet without enough food, water, ample space to move, or ventilation.
Types of Animal Cruelty and Their Penalties
It is a crime to abuse animals in the state of Florida. Anyone found guilty may be prohibited from owning a pet for some time. Animal cruelty is typically a misdemeanor, but it is a third-degree felony if the cruelty was intentional or resulted in death. Anyone guilty of injuring, mutilating, or killing an animal will be required to go to counseling and pay a fine. Repeat offenses can lead to jail time.
Abandoning a pet is also a misdemeanor in Florida. Leaving an animal without proper care, water, or shelter or suffering from an injury are examples of abandonment.
Confined animals must be provided with food, water, a change of air, and room to exercise. A violation of these requirements is a misdemeanor.
Did you know that if you leave a pet locked in a hot or cold car, someone is allowed to break in to rescue the animal? Florida is one of only a few states to have this Good Samaritan Law.
Good Samaritans can break into a locked car to rescue pets in distress if they have reasonable cause that the animal is in immediate danger and that there is no other way of saving them. Rescuers will be protected from civil lawsuits for damage to the vehicles if they follow certain steps, including calling 911, using a minimum amount of force needed to break into the vehicle and remove the pet, and staying with the animal in a safe place until an officer or emergency responder arrives.
Organized Animal Fights
In Florida, it’s a felony to be involved in any kind of animal fighting. Illegal participation includes attending or betting on fights.
How to Report Animal Cruelty or Abuse
You may file a written complaint with law enforcement or it is advised to contact the local animal control department or the Humane Society. The Humane Society can let you know if law enforcement will act on the complaint. The Humane Society may be able to correct the problem, even if it is not against the law. Any concerns with conditions at puppy mills or pet shops should be directed to the nearest U.S. Department of Agriculture.
It’s a misdemeanor in Florida to injure, kill, or interfere with a service animal. The crime is a felony if the animal was hurt or killed intentionally. In addition to the criminal penalties, the guilty person must pay full restitution for the consequences, including vet and boarding expenses, the costs of replacing the animal and training a new one, and lost wages while the person didn’t have the animal's help.
If you have been accused of or charged with animal cruelty, contact attorney Ronald Chapman to discuss your case and see how I might be able to help you. Since the penalties can be harsh when convicted on an animal cruelty charge, it is important to have an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney by your side in court if you are accused of animal cruelty.
Defense Attorney West Palm Beach
Ronald Chapman practices criminal defense in both State and Federal Courts within the State of Florida. Since 1990, Mr. Chapman has been representing people accused of committing various types of crimes. If you are facing criminal charges in Florida, Ronald Chapman can help. Schedule your FREE Consultation! Call (561) 832-4348 or visit his website.
Visit us at https://www.justiceflorida.com/ You can also connect with the West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Office online today! Ronald Chapman, an experienced criminal defense lawyer, dedicated to defending your rights. Contact him today to begin to discuss your case.
Ronald S. Chapman, P.A.
400 Clematis Street, Suite 206
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
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