For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 12

Cruelty
The offense of Cruelty to Animal16 is
committed when your client intentionally,
knowingly or recklessly ill-treats, overloads,
beats, abandons or abuses an animal. Notably,
the language of this offense is taken directly
from the former cruelty statute, but for the
"wanton or cruel" language that practitioners
often found to be a source of litigation with
that statute. Where the "wanton" culpability of
the prior statute required an "intentional act of
an unreasonable character, in disregard of a risk
known to the actor or so obvious that he must
be taken to have been aware of it and so great
as to make it highly probable that harm would
follow," the new "reckless" culpability standard
is met where your client consciously disregards
a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the
material element exists or will result from his
conduct. That risk must be of such a nature and
degree that, considering the nature and intent
of the actor's conduct and the circumstances
known to him, its disregard involves a gross
deviation from the standard of conduct that a
reasonable person would observe in the actor's
situation.
Cruelty to Animal is a summary offense
unless the violation causes bodily injury to the
animal or places the animal at imminent risk of
serious bodily injury at which time the violation
is graded as a misdemeanor of the second
degree. The legislature increased the grading
for cases where bodily injury results to the
animal or, the animal was placed at imminent
risk of serious bodily injury. This is dependent
upon whether the actor acted intentionally,
knowingly, or recklessly17 or through neglect.18
"Bodily injury" is defined by statute as an
"impairment of physical condition or substantial
pain"19 and "serious bodily injury" is defined
as "bodily injury that creates a substantial
risk of death or causes, serious, permanent
disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment
of the function of a bodily member or organ."20
Aggravated Cruelty
Most significantly, the legislature has now
included the offense of Aggravated Cruelty

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For The Defense

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Vol. 3, Issue 1

to Animal.21 Aggravated Cruelty is committed
if your client intentionally or knowingly
(1) tortures an animal or (2) violates the Neglect
or Cruelty sections and, in doing so, causes
serious bodily injury or death to the animal. In
such cases, the Aggravated Cruelty to Animal
violation will be graded as a felony of the third
degree. In other words, if your client's conduct
either fits the definition of torture or, your
client causes serious bodily injury or death to
the animal, your client will most likely be facing
felony charges.
"Torture" is defined as any of the following
acts that are directed toward or against an
animal, unless directed to be performed
by a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine
acting within the normal scope of practice:
(1) breaking, severing or severely impairing
limbs; (2) inflicting severe prolonged pain from
burning, crushing or wounding; and (3) causing
or allowing severe and prolonged pain through
prolonged deprivation of food or sustenance
without veterinary care."22 It should be noted
that the specific acts of cropping a dog's ears,
debarking a dog, docking a dog's tail, and
surgically birthing or declawing a dog are
specifically designated as separate offenses
under the Cruelty statute, unless the procedure
is performed by a licensed doctor of veterinary
medicine.23 However, the law also appears to
permit any of those acts to be filed as a felony
under the Aggravated Cruelty statute if the
prosecution can prove the procedure "inflicted
severe prolonged pain from ... wounding,"
thereby meeting the definition of torture.
One potential area of litigation that will
most likely surface, given the more severe
sanctions that now apply, will focus on the
nature and extent of the injuries caused or,
to which the animal was exposed by your
client's alleged conduct. This may require the
use of expert testimony and may also result in
a "battle of experts." Great care will need to
be taken by the practitioner to "vet the vet,"
so to speak. Practitioners may discover that
veterinarians with whom their clients have had
a long-standing relationship may be reluctant
to participate in any court proceedings that



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018

Contents
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 1
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 2
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - Contents
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 4
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 5
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 6
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 7
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 8
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 9
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 10
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 11
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 12
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 13
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 14
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 15
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 16
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 17
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 18
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 19
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 20
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 21
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 22
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 23
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 24
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 25
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 26
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 27
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 28
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 29
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 30
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 31
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 32
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 33
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 34
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 35
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For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 37
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For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 43
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For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 45
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For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 56
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol7_issue3_2022
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue1_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue4_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue3_2019
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue1_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue4_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue3_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue2_2018
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue4_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue3_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue2_2016
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