What to Do if You Are Accused of Animal Cruelty

Defending Yourself Against Animal Cruelty Charges

No longer taken lightly, cruel acts against animals are illegal with more serious legal punishments based on the crime and level of harm the animal endured as a result. Cruelty against animals can be understood as the act of causing harming an animal by abandoning, neglecting, or torturing an animal. Each state and even city have their own laws as to what qualifies as abandonment, neglect, and torture in terms of committing cruelty against animals as well as the serious legal charges a person can face if found guilty of the charges. That is why when being charged with cruelty against animals it is important to take immediate legal action hiring the right criminal defense attorney.

Understanding Acts of Cruelty Against Animals

Cruelty against animals is no laughing matter. It is a serious crime that can be avoided if you understand how the three main forms of cruelty are legally defined. The torture of an animal is not limited to the physical harm of an animal. The torture of an animal can be mutilating or overworking an animal whether being intentional or not. Animal torture also includes beating an animal excessively and/or killing an animal maliciously or unnecessarily. In some states poisoning of an animal, or leaving poison where an animal may eat it is also considered as torture (Starr Law, 2019). Although not as serious as torture, the abandonment and neglect of an animal are still serious forms of cruelty against animals. It is illegal in nearly all states for a pet owner to abandon their pet by leaving it in an area not providing for the animal’s basic needs (Starr Law, 2019). Neglect is the last main form of cruelty against animals, but it has a varied definition depending on the state and city a person lives in. In the majority of the states, neglect is defined as not providing for an animal’s basic needs such as food, water, and shelter. In some states failing to provide veterinary care, exercise, protection from the weather, and proper sanitary conditions are also considered forms of neglect; however, these can be difficult to prove and prosecute unless it can be proven that the pet owner acted recklessly or intentionally leading to the animal suffering or experiencing pain (Starr Law, 2019).

When accused of committing an act of cruelty against an animal it is important to know, and be prepared for, what can happen next. In most states, a local humane society has the authority to conduct investigations into reports of cruelty against animals, and when necessary to remove animals from a person’s home if claimed to be abused. It is important to know if you live in a state where the local humane society has authority in order for you to be prepared for the chance that your pet will be removed from the home. If by chance you do not live in a state where the local humane society does not have authority, then a report has been made with the local police department who are also legally capable of removing an animal from your care if the animal is claimed to be abused (Starr Law, 2019).

Defending Yourself Against Charges

Being charged with an act of cruelty against an animal is a serious matter with serious criminal charges that result in jail time if not taken seriously by having proper legal representation. When being charge with an act of cruelty against an animal it is important to hire the right lawyer, because not just any defense attorney will due. To have a lawyer that can explain the laws of your state pertaining to acts of cruelty against animals, have the laws explained as they pertain to each person’s case, and plan the best defense to have the case dismissed a person needs an animal cruelty criminal defense attorney (Starr Law, 2019). A criminal defense attorney that specializes in cases pertaining to cruel acts against animals is the best chance a person has of proving their innocence.


  • Starr Law. (2019). What Do You Do If You are Accused of Animal Cruelty in Texas?. https://criminaldefenseattorneyplano.com/what-do-you-do-if-you-are-accused-of-animal-cruelty-in-texas/