Michigan Animal Cruelty Law
Expert Animal Cruelty Defense Lawyers
Animal cruelty prosecutions in Michigan can be sensational and inflammatory. Prosecutors and Police love to do press releases and use inflammatory rhetoric when the suspect animal cruelty. Search warrants are often executed and animals are seized. Clients often face civil infractions, criminal prosecutions and considerable costs all at the same time. Many times animal owners are held to an unreasonable standard of care, with government officials expecting the owners to have the training of a veterinarian and the same level of resources as the government.
Defending Animal Cruelty Cases
If you have been accused of criminal animal cruelty, you may be fearful of what possible outcomes await you and your pets. At Kronzek and Cronkright, PLLC, our team of compassionate lawyers have a strong understanding of the intersection of animal rights and criminal defense. We have an impressive track record an have won many criminal trials. We can help you with your case. If you need to consult with one of our trial team, call (866) 766-5245.
What is animal cruelty?
Michigan law prohibits certain actions towards animals. First, a person cannot avoid providing adequate care to an animal in custody. In addition, an individual may not cruelly work, drive, or beat an animal or cause this to happen. Furthermore, tying an animal’s legs or feet during transport, except in special cases for medical care, is forbidden as well. Animals must also be transported securely in a proper cage or similar item while in vehicles.
Other prohibited acts include abandoning an animal except under extreme circumstances or negligently allowing animals to endure unnecessary torture, pain or neglect. Notably, dogs also cannot be tethered unless the tether is at least 3 times the length of the animal and attached to a non-choking collar or harness.
What are the penalties for animal cruelty?
People in violation potentially face a variety of penalties. If the event involved one animal, the person may be charged with a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail, a fine up to $1,000.00, and community service up to 200 hours.
If the violation affected 2 or 3 animals or caused the death of any animal, the individual may be charged with a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 1 year imprisonment, a fine up to $2,000.00, and community service up to 300 hours.
In cases where 4-10 animals were affected, or the defendant has 1 prior conviction for this offense, the person may be charged with a felony with a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison, a fine up to $2,000.00, and community service up to 300 hours.
Where 10 or more animals are abused or neglected or the defendant has 2 or more previous convictions for this crime, the offender may be charged with a felony with a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison, a fine up to $5,000.00, and community service up to 500 hours.
Additionally, a defendant may be ordered to pay the costs of prosecution in any of these instances. The court may also order a convicted person to be evaluated to determine if psychiatric or psychological counseling is necessary. Also, the defendant is responsible for paying for the evaluation and any subsequent court-ordered counseling. Finally, the affected animals may be taken away from the owner or caretaker, including an order of permanent relinquishment of animal ownership if second or subsequent convictions occur.
What about animal torture?
Individuals also cannot knowingly main, kill, torture, disfigure or mutilate animals. This also includes committing reckless acts that are likely to result in this kind of harm. Furthermore, this covers poisoning animals as well.
A person who does any of these acts may be charged with a felony with a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison, a fine up to $5,000.00 for a single animal, and $2,500.00 for each additional animal up to $20,000.00 total, and community service up to 500 hours. Additionally, a person may be ordered to pay prosecution costs and be subject to psychological evaluation and counseling, too.
What are the penalties for dog fighting?
Owning, possessing, buying or selling, or even being a party to animal fighting, including dog fighting or cock fighting has severe penalties.
A person who participates in these activities and others as well may be charged with a felony with a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison, a fine $5,000.00 up to $50,000.00, and 500 to 1,000 hours of community service.
There are many other animal fighting related activities prohibited as well with a different range of penalties. Every case is unique. Contact us today to evaluate your case.
Experienced Animal Law Attorneys on Your Side
There is something to be said about attorneys who have approximately 100 years of combined courtroom experience. Experience in these cases is truly priceless. Our attorneys can help you with any criminal defense matter in the lower peninsula of Michigan.
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CALL (800) 576-6035