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The Penalties For Animal Cruelty in Florida


In recent news, three Daytona, Florida men were arrested for attacking a disabled Navy veteran after he confronted them and attempted to talk them out of brutalizing and torturing a freshwater turtle, according to the News Journal Online. The three had been kicking and smashing it to the ground when the Navy veteran intervened. The three defendants face charges of aggravated battery, a second degree felony as per Florida statute 784.045, and animal cruelty, which is also a felony.

Aggravated Animal Cruelty Can Be Charged as a Third Degree Felony in Florida

Animal cruelty is defined as unnecessarily overloading, overdriving, tormenting, depriving of necessary sustenance or shelter, mutilating, or killing any animal. Animal cruelty is a crime charged as a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up 12 months in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000.

Aggravated animal cruelty is defined as causing a cruel death or causing “excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering” to an animal. Aggravated animal cruelty is a third degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Knowing and Intentional Act to Torture Results in Mandatory Fine and Completion of Psychological Counseling Programs

If the defendant is found to have known that their actions included the knowing and intentional act to torture or torment, and the animal is injured, mutilated, or killed, they face a minimum fine of $2,500 and must partake in a  psychological counseling program or complete an anger management course. Additionally, a second conviction of animal cruelty or aggravated animal cruelty will result in a mandatory minimum fine of $5,000 and a mandatory incarceration period of six months.

Multiple Acts of Cruelty May Be Charged Separately, Resulting in Multiple Felony Charges

A person who commits an act of cruelty or aggravated animal cruelty against multiple animals may be charged with more than one offense, as each act of cruelty can be charged as a separate offense. This means that you may be facing multiple felony charges if you have been accused of abusing more than one animal.

Committing Intentional Harm to a Horse is a Third Degree Felony

In addition to the types of animal cruelty listed above, anyone who intentionally trips, fells, ropes or lassos the legs of a horse as a form of entertainment or sport faces a third degree felony charge, whether the horse was injured or not.

For West Palm Beach Criminal Defense, Call the Skier Law Firm Today

If you have been charged with any type of animal cruelty or animal mistreatment, call the experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys of Skier Law Firm today at 561-820-1508. We are eager to help you immediately.


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