What is the Penalty for Animal Cruelty or Neglect in Colorado?
Animal abuse is a serious subject and those that participate in it deserve to be punished accordingly. In Colorado, there are a few different types of animal abuse as well as penalties defined by law.
What is Considered Animal Abuse in Colorado?
The law that addresses animal abuse in general, Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-9-202, defines animal abuse as the following:
“(1) (a) A person commits cruelty to animals if he or she knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence overdrives, overloads, overworks, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beats, allows to be housed in a manner that results in chronic or repeated serious physical harm, carries or confines in or upon any vehicles in a cruel or reckless manner, engages in a sexual act with an animal, or otherwise mistreats or neglects any animal, or causes or procures it to be done, or, having the charge or custody of any animal, fails to provide it with proper food, drink, or protection from the weather consistent with the species, breed, and type of animal involved, or abandons an animal. (b) Any person who intentionally abandons a dog or cat commits the offense of cruelty to animals.”
However, state law also addresses animal abuse on a case-by-case basis.
Definition of Non-Aggravated Animal Abuse in Colorado + Penalties
Scenarios that might be considered non-aggravated animal abuse by Colorado law include things like abandoning a pet, starving a pet, leaving a pet in harsh outdoor conditions, and unnecessary violence to an animal.
The penalties for non-aggravated animal abuse in Colorado for first-time offenders include up to a 364-day jail sentence and/or between $500 to $1000 in fines. However, depending on the case, first-time offenders of non-aggravated animal cruelty often receive probation and anger management.
Definition of Aggravated Animal Abuse in Colorado + Penalties
While non-aggravated animal abuse is still serious, aggravated animal abuse is much worse.
A person may be charged with aggravated animal abuse if they are found purposefully and maliciously torturing an animal, mutilating an animal, or killing an animal.
These types of crimes are especially heinous and first-time offenders receive a Class 6 felony charge which could result in one to 1.5 years in prison, with a year of parole, between $10,000 and $100,000 in fines, anger management, and upon their release from prison will not be allowed to own pets for three to five years.
If someone is found to be a second-time offender, the prison sentences, fines, and other punishments increase accordingly.
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