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Animal Cruelty Charges In Michigan

Top Animal Cruelty Lawyers

Here in Michigan, prosecutions for animal cruelty seem to be rising to sensational heights. Police and prosecutors love to issue press releases using rabble-rousing rhetoric when they suspect animal cruelty. In the wake of these releases, search warrants are often executed and animals can be seized.

Clients may be facing not only criminal charges, but civil infractions – all at considerable cost and all at the same time. Tragically, pet owners are often held to unreasonable standards of care, with government agents expecting owners to have the training and resources comparable to that of a veterinarian.

Defending Animal Cruelty Cases

A marmalade cat sitting on a blankket in a basket

If you have been accused of criminal animal cruelty here in Michigan, you are likely afraid of what future awaits you and your pets.

At The Kronzek Firm, our attorneys are compassionate and possess a strong understanding of the legal issues at the intersection of criminal defense and animal rights.

We have a laudable track record and have successfully handled many animal cruelty criminal case throughout the lower peninsula of Michigan. We want to help you! As soon as you are ready to hire a lawyer, please reach out to The Kronzek Firm for an initial consultation at (866) 766-5245

What is animal cruelty?

A rooster with a group of hens in some hay

Animal cruelty is the term used to describe the types of prohibited action an owner, possessor, breeder, operator of a pet shop, or other person in charge or having custody of an animal may or may not engage in.

An example of prohibited conduct is the failure to provide an animal with adequate care. Adequate care means providing sufficient food, water, shelter, sanitary conditions, exercise, and veterinary medical attention in order to maintain an animal in a state of good health. Good health in turn means freedom from disease/illness, proper body weight and temperature for the age and species of animal. Other types of prohibited conduct include but are not limited to:

    • Cruelly driving, working, or beating an animal
    • Transporting an animal insecurely (ex. Not enough room to stand, having feet or legs tied, etc.)
    • Abandoning an animal
    • Negligently allowing an animal who is aged, diseased, maimed or hopelessly sick to suffer unnecessary neglect, torture, or pain
    • Use of tethers less than 3 times the length of the animal

What are the penalties for animal cruelty here in Michigan?

A dog lying on a deck with it's nose between it's paws

Violators of our Michigan animal cruelty laws face a variety of penalties. The severity of punishment is largely dependent on the number of animals involved in the case, extent of cruelty, and whether the defendant has prior convictions.

For example, if the violation includes one animal and the actor has no prior convictions, they are guilty of a misdemeanor and punishable by up to 93 days imprisonment, a fine up to $1000, and/or up to 200 hours of community service.

If a violation includes 4 or more animals (but fewer than 10) OR the violator has 1 prior conviction, the actor is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 2 years imprisonment, a fine up to $2,000, and/or community service for up to 300 hours. 

When 10 or more animals are involved (but fewer than 25) OR the offender has 2 prior convictions, the defendant is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 4 years of imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, and/or community service up to 500 hours.

If found guilty, a person may be ordered to pay the costs of prosecution. Additionally, the court may require a convicted person to be evaluated for psychiatric or psychological evaluation – on their own dime. Lastly, the animals likely will be taken away from the owner or caretaker, which will include at least costs and possible permanent relinquishment of animal ownership. 

What about animal torture?

Three horses in a field

People are prohibited from knowingly maiming, killing, torturing, disfiguring, mutilating, or poisoning animals. This includes prohibition against reckless acts likely to result in the type of harm mentioned.

A person who does any of these acts may be charged with a felony with penalties of up to 4 years imprisonment, a fine up to $5,000 (for EACH animal) and community service up to 500 hours as well as possible psychological evaluation and counseling. 

The law does NOT prohibit the lawful killing or other use of an animal, including: fishing, hunting, trapping or wildlife control (as per relevant regulation), horse racing, operation of a zoo, pest or rodent control, family or other forms of accepted animal husbandry, or lawful scientific research .

What are the penalties for dog fighting?

Pittbull dog wearing a collar and sitting outside

People are prohibited from knowingly owning, possessing, buying, selling, offering to buy or sell, or exporting an animal for fighting, baiting or as a target to be shot at as a test of skill in marksmanship.

Being a party to any such activities is prohibited, including being present at a building, shed or other premises where preparations for unlawful exhibitions are being made. 

A person that is found guilty of dog fighting is guilty of a felony and punishable up to 4 years imprisonment, a fine between $1,000 – $50,000 and/or not less than 250 hours of community service. 

There are many other animal fighting related activities that are prohibited, which all face a different range of penalties. Every case is unique. Contact us today if you are ready to hire an attorney to help you. We can be reached by calling 866 7NoJail. You can also email us at: when you are ready. 

Experienced Animal Law Attorneys on Your Side

Experience in cases like these is truly priceless. With experience dating back to the last century, The Kronzek Firm’s attorneys are expert advocates waiting to help you with any criminal defense matter in lower peninsula of Michigan. As always, hiring the right attorney is critical. 



CALL (800) 576-6035


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