Animal Abuse – When Arizona Law Meets Arizona News Headlines
Arizona takes animal abuse charges seriously, although specific laws can vary from city to city. It is important to understand these laws to protect yourself, your own animals, and the animals around you.
A Chandler woman was arrested recently on 55 counts of animal abuse and 55 counts of animal cruelty after a dog hoarding situation was reported to the Chandler Police Department. Together with the Arizona Humane Society, Chandler PD seized over 50 special needs pets during the execution of their search warrant. Most of the animals were in dire need of medical attention. Five dogs were found deceased, with the rest taken to nearby trauma centers or animal hospitals.
Chandler does not have a law in place to allow an animal to be seized due to a lack of medical care, making it initially difficult to remove the dogs from the residence. Tracey Miiller, the Director of Field Operations for the Arizona Humane Society, has implored Chandler residents to contact their City Council to add a law allowing for the seizure of animals in neglect situations. For additional information on city laws, visit our article about municipal code here.
Animal cruelty laws are outlined in A.R.S. 13-2910. This statute defines animal cruelty as:
- Subjecting any animal to neglect, abandonment, or cruel mistreatment.
- Failing to provide medical treatment to an animal under your control.
- Intentionally inflicting unnecessary physical injury to an animal or cruelly mistreating an animal.
- Intentionally killing the animal that belongs to another individual without consent.
- Intentionally leaving an animal in a vehicle when death is likely to result.
- Allowing a dog to kill, injure, on interfere with a service animal.
- Intentionally exerting control over a service animal with the intent to deprive the service animal handler of their service animal.
- Intentionally harassing a working animal in a law enforcement vehicle.
The statute also provides defenses for certain actions, such as using poison to protect livestock, poultry, or property and using poisons for controlling rodents in and around buildings in compliance with state laws.
Depending on the severity and nature of the crime, an animal cruelty charge can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, both of which can result in jail time.
Original AZCentral news article by Perry Vandell and Abigail Celaya of the Arizona Republic can be found here.
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