It should be no surprise that people love to have pets. When raising a family, people have many different views on the right way to do it, similarly, people have different ideas about how to treat an animal. Most states have measures in place to prevent violence against animals. Likewise, Florida has laws in place to protect animals.  In this article, we will discuss Florida’s Animal Cruelty Laws.

What Does The State Consider An Animal?

Florida Statute 828.02 defines “animal” as “include every living dumb creature”.

What Is Animal Abuse?

Florida statutes have different levels of animal abuse classifications, each with different punishments. Essentially, animal cruelty is any harm that a person causes to an animal.  The type and amount of punishment will depend, above all, on the severity of harm inflicted on the animal.

Different Levels

Florida statutes consider five different acts under its animal cruelty laws.

  1. Animal Cruelty
  2. Aggravated Animal Cruelty
  3. Animal Poisoning
  4. Abandonment or Confinement
  5. Animal Fighting Act

What Is Animal Cruelty?

According to Florida Statute 828.12, animal cruelty is treating any animal in an inhumane manner.  This includes any of the following:

  • Tormenting, overloading, or overdriving
  • Depriving of shelter, water, or food
  • Mutilating or killing in an inhumane manner.

Punishment usually entails a first-degree misdemeanor and may be punishable up to one year in prison and/or a $1,000 fine.

Aggravated Animal Cruelty

According to Florida Statute 828.12, animal cruelty is considered aggravated when it is committed with the intent to cause unnecessary pain or suffering on the animal or death. This is a third-degree felony with different levels of punishment, such as:

  • Aggravated animal cruelty may be punishable up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine, or
  • If the animal was tortured but not killed, then the punishment is a minimum fine of $2,500 plus psychological treatment, or
  • If the defendant was convicted of similar charges prior then the punishment is a minimum fine of $5,000, a minimum prison sentence of six months.

Animal Poisoning

According to Florida Statue 828.08, animal poisoning is leaving a poisonous substance in an area other than your private property, where an animal may get to it. For example, leaving poisonous pesticides where animals might accidentally consume them. Punishment under animal poisoning is a first-degree misdemeanor and can be punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a fine of $1,000.

Abandonment & Confinement

According to Florida Statute 828.13, animal abandonment is leaving an animal in an open space without food, water, and/or protection.  Animal confinement is leaving an animal in a confined space, such as a cage, without food, water, and/or protection.  Animal abandonment and confinement are a first-degree misdemeanor and is punishable up to one year in prison and/or a $1,000 fine.

The Animal Fighting Act

According to Florida Statute 828.122, the animal fighting act is when a person(s) force or bait an animal to fight another.  The animal fighting act is a third-degree felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

In Conclusion

Each case is unique and needs to be judged on its facts and merits. If you are facing a charge under Florida’s Animal Cruelty Laws, contact Valrico Law Group for legal representation.