Crimes Against Man's Bestfriend

August 21, 2012


We have all heard the stories of people willing millions of dollars to their furry companions while leaving her nothing of their legacy to family members. Americans spend over $38 billion on their pets per year!  As a whole we dearly love our furry friends and are willing to fork out the dough to make sure our pets live in style and comfort.  Unfortunately, not all people have the same love of animals, capacity, or financial means to take good care of their pets.  Animal cruelty cases have been cropping up in the newspapers at an alarming rate, shedding light on the dark issue of animal abuse and neglect.  Due to the high costs of rescuing abused animals and cleaning up after incidents of animal abuse, states are imposing more stringent laws against animal cruelty.  As the laws become tougher and the restitutions and punishments greater, people will need a criminal defense to represent them if charged with animal cruelty.  Just remember, animal cruelty or animal abuse is a crime and a crime that in many states can be charged as a felony. 

If you are convicted of animal abuse did you know you could be required to register with an animal abuser registry?   Much like a sex offender registry, an animal abuser registry acts to stop registered animal abusers from adopting pets from animal shelters, allows law enforcement to track residents with a history of animal cruelty, and informs community members of violent offenders.  Each state is adopting a different approach to the registry.  For example in  California only adult and convicted felony offenders will be on the registry whereas in Idaho state lawmakers are pushing for laws that differentiate between pets and livestock.  The new state registries will make it even more important if charged with animal cruelty to enlist a criminal defense attorney since animal abuse charges can follow you for the rest of your life and become well-known, public knowledge.  No one wants to be neighbors with someone convicted of a Fido felony. 

Some people feel that concern over animal cruelty is too extensive and law enforcement should allocate the resources used to fight animal abuse towards stopping cruelty towards people instead.  However, animal abuse is both extremely costly and if left unregulated and unpunished can lead to even greater crimes.  In one case, officials estimated that the state had to pay $1.2 million to rescue over 170 dogs rescued from an animal hoarder’s home.  In another tragic case, it cost $37,000 for officials to clean up after a convicted hoarder who had more than 200 dogs, including 150 dead Chihuahuas, in his home.  In addition, hoarding and other animal abuse can be a precursor to abuse against humans.  In fact, animal abuse is one of the four indicators used by the F.B.I to evaluate future violent offenders and many people charged withchild abuse or domestic violence  have committed animal abuse in the past.    As you can see, animal abuse is not a matter to ignore and has serious repercussions.  A good criminal defense attorney will know the state specific consequences of being charged with animal cruelty.  Hopefully, the precautions state lawmakers and law enforcement are taking to prevent animal cruelty will be effective and animal abuse will be prevented before it causes the death of innocent animals or leads to crimes against humans.