While some people do not consider animal cruelty to be a terribly serious criminal offense, the state of Texas actually has very harsh laws when it comes to animal cruelty. The reality is that if you take what you – and many others – might consider to be a very fair and reasonable action toward an animal , such as shooting your neighbor’s dog that acted viciously toward your child, you could face criminal charges with very severe consequences. In fact, if you used a deadly weapon during your alleged act of animal cruelty, you could face a jail sentence ranging from a minimum of two to a maximum of ten years in prison, and a $10,000 fine. If you are under the age of 18 and convicted of animal cruelty, you also must undergo counseling.
The animal cruelty laws in the state of Texas are very broad in scope, but apply only apply to domestic pets, livestock, and animals under the care or control of a Texas facility. They do not apply to circus animals, wild animals, zoo animals, and animals being used for testing in lab facilities.
Many types of conduct can lead to animal cruelty charges. Some actions such as depriving animals of water, food, or shelter or abandoning an animal, may lead to misdemeanor animal cruelty charges. Other acts of animal cruelty, such as intentionally torturing animals, may result in felony animal cruelty charges. Animal cruelty charges also may result from cruelly transporting or confining an animal, poisoning or killing an animal, seriously injuring an animal, using the animal in fighting or as a lure in a race, or seriously overworking an animal.
At Peek & Toland, we are dedicated to protecting your rights and defending you from animal cruelty or any potential criminal charges. We are here to investigate the facts surrounding your case, consider your options, and help you develop the strategy that is best designed to achieve a successful outcome in your case. Do not waste time attempting to handle legal matters on your own; contact our office as soon as you are charged with a criminal offense so that we can provide you with the help that we need.