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What Are the Laws Against Animal Cruelty in California?

Animal cruelty law can effectively combat animal abuse, if you know where to look.

There are a variety of means to combat animal abuse. One method is to be familiar with the law that protects the animals and stops/punishes the offenders.

There is Title 14, entitled, “Malicious Mischief”, in the California State Penal Code (criminal law). The section concerning the inhumane treatment of animals is 597.  Subdivision (a) reads: “Except as provided in subdivision (c) of this section or Section 599c, every person who maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a living animal, or maliciously and intentionally kills an animal is guilty of a crime.” If the violation in question pertains to cruelty to protected or endangered animals, then 597(c) should be charged. If any acts, written in 599c, are present, then any Title 14 law is inapplicable. 

Generally speaking, section 599c states that Title 14 laws cannot interfere with “game laws” such as the killing of game, “pests”, certain birds, dangerous animals, animals-for-food and animals used for scientific experiments. Unfortunately, 599c doesn’t require that the killings be done humanely nor does it require that these animals be housed and handled humanely.   

If 597(c) and 599c are not present, then you can go after a violator with the aforementioned 597(a). Bear in mind that the whole 597 statute contains a multitude of laws pertaining to a wide variety of animal abuse.

If there is no law to cover a certain type of cruelty, a state bill can be passed by the legislative body and approved by the governor to become a law. Some animal rights organizations actively facilitate or enable the passing of these bills (not to mention fighting national and worldwide acts of cruelty). Joining, donating or voting supports their efforts. Their web sites can contain educational material covering the many types of abuse occurring state, nation and worldwide. Some organizations are listed on my web page, www.stevesanimalwelfare.info.

Certain politicians are active in regards to animal rights. They may require public support. In addition, civil remedies could be pursued against the abuser, big or small.

It is important to know that the law does provide care for animals, in many types of situations, and can be used to prosecute those who mistreat them. However there are many cases that the law does not address. That is why it is so important to join the effort in combating inhumane treatment of animals
at all levels.

Please see my website, www.stevesanimalwelfare.info, for other animal welfare-related articles. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Dive Turn Work January 23, 2013 at 06:30 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/01/16/lousy-science-behind-waxing-lice-debate/ So, do we or do we not need to pass laws protecting pubic lice? Is bikini waxing harmful to them? It's a hairy issue for sure.
Chris J Kapsalis January 26, 2013 at 01:34 AM
Why can people kill gophers, mice and rats, and other pests, but not other pests people think are cute? Like Deer or squirills?
Dive Turn Work January 26, 2013 at 01:39 AM
Because only pretty things deserve happiness. Don't you pay attention to pop culture? It's the American way.
Chris J Kapsalis January 26, 2013 at 01:58 AM
Pigs are said to be as smart as dogs. Yet we chop them up in every conceivable way and love our bacon! But dog, god forbid, but not in some countries, which we call barbaric. While some countries think we are for eating sacred cows. This has always baffled me. Animalism. Like racism, some animals, because they are fuzzy or cute, we protect and cal cruel if you kill them. Yet lab mice are tortured everyday for perfumes or just for fun in the lab. Even insects. I do draw the line at parasites. I will kill a tick for example, rip it's head off it's body and flush it. But I have moral issues with killing gophers, rats, even ants and spiders. Why? Why is a fuzzy little cute animal so dear to us while a mole, just because it is underground and ugly to most people fair game? Kill them. Kill them all. The ear wig is the worst creature people hate and want to kill. People kill ants my the millions. Slat works fine and doesn't hurt them, just keeps them away. We have a long long way to go for animal equality, and no, I am not trying to be funny or smart. This is how I feel. And I challenge anyone to justify why this is the case.

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