Picking up the welfare and neglect thread from where I left off, I thought I’d start this segment with a note about a matter that began in the last few days and is very pertinent. I was on the phone with a livestock officer roughly an hour ago. He and other officers were interviewing suspects in the killing of a cow. The cow was killed with softballs shot from a “spud gun”.
Let me begin by pointing out the criminal animal cruelty statute – ARS 13-2910 (“2910”). This body of law begins at 13-2910 then runs through 13-2910.09 – essentially 10 separate laws. Continuing on this point is the length of the law – nearly 2500 words. (Remember how hard it was to get to 500 words for a paper you had to turn in at school?)
An aside: the Declaration of Independence runs 1337 words including date and heading while The Constitution of the United States as originally written has a total word count of 4440, with 27 amendments it weighs in at 7591.
Now let’s get to the meat of the situation. This is CONVOLUTED so be patient. There are 8 sections (A – H) in 2910. Definitions are located at the end (H), while violations (13 in total) are located at the beginning (A), and the breakdown as to whether the violation is a misdemeanor (Class 1) or felony (Class 6) is addressed in (G). Got that? (and I’m just getting started!)
Definitions in the law (because you need to know or at least be able to find them to understand their consequences.)
1. “Animal” means a mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian. [Important Point – Livestock Officers are restricted from enforcing this statute on animals which are not defined as livestock in ARS 3-1201(5).]
2. “Cruel mistreatment” means to torture or otherwise inflict unnecessary serious physical injury on an animal or to kill an animal in a manner that causes protracted suffering to the animal.
3. “Cruel neglect” means to fail to provide an animal with necessary food, water or shelter.
4. “Handler” means a law enforcement officer or any other person who has successfully completed a course of training prescribed by the person’s agency or the service animal owner and who used a specially trained animal under the direction of the person’s agency or the service animal owner.
5. “Service animal” means an animal that has completed a formal training program, that assists its owner in one or more daily living tasks that are associated with a productive lifestyle and that is trained to not pose a danger to the health and safety of the general public.
6. “Working animal” means a horse or dog that is used by a law enforcement agency, that is specially trained for law enforcement work and that is under the control of a handler.
Now that we have some idea of Who’s on first? Here are what boils down to the ground rules (i.e. the violations). A person commits cruelty to animals if the person does any of the following:
8. Intentionally or knowingly subjects any animal under the person’s custody or control to cruel neglect or abandonment that results in serious physical injury to the animal.
9. Intentionally or knowingly subjects any animal to cruel mistreatment.
10. Intentionally or knowingly interferes with, kills or harms a working or service animal without either legal privilege or consent of the owner.
11. Intentionally or knowingly allows any dog that is under the person’s custody or control to interfere with, kill or cause physical injury to a service animal.
13. Intentionally or knowingly obtains or exerts unauthorized control over a service animal with the intent to deprive the service animal handler of the service animal.
1. Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly subjects any animal under the person’s custody or control to cruel neglect or abandonment.
2. Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly fails to provide medical attention necessary to prevent protracted suffering to any animal under the person’s custody or control.
3. Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly inflicts unnecessary physical injury to any animal.
4. Recklessly subjects any animal to cruel mistreatment.
5. Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly kills any animal under the custody or control of another person without either legal privilege or consent of the owner.
6. Recklessly interferes with, kills or harms a working or service animal without either legal privilege or consent of the owner.
7. Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly leaves an animal unattended and confined in a motor vehicle and physical injury to or death of the animal is likely to result.
12. Recklessly allows any dog that is under the person’s custody or control to interfere with, kill or cause physical injury to a service animal.
Activities such as animal fighting, tripping, exemptions, housing, etc are located in the sub-parts which I may address in a later post. This one is obviously already more than big enough.
I’m out of time. But I’ll pick this up in a day or 2 when I’ll try to address some specific situations. In the meantime, please try to digest the information above – and chew thoroughly!
Enjoy the ride.