Alaska – Cruelty to Animals Law

According to Alaska Statute 11.61.140, a person commits cruelty to animals if the person:

  • knowingly inflicts severe and prolonged physical pain or suffering on an animal;
  •  fails to care for an animal with criminal negligence, causing the death of the animal, or severe physical pain, or prolonged suffering to the animal.
  • kills or injures an animal by the use of a decompression chamber;
  • intentionally kills or injures a pet or livestock by the use of poison; or
  • knowingly kills or injures an animal with the intent to intimidate, threaten, or terrorize another person.

Defenses to prosecution are that the conduct of the defendant:

  • was part of scientific research governed by accepted standards;
  • constituted the humane destruction of an animal;
  • conformed to accepted veterinary or animal husbandry practices;
  • was necessarily incidental to lawful fishing, hunting or trapping activities;
  • conformed to professionally accepted training and discipline standards.

Prima facie evidence of failure to care for an animal is the failure to provide the minimum standards of care for an animal.

The court may:

  • require forfeiture of any animal affected to the state or to a custodian that supplies shelter, care, or medical treatment for the animal.
  • require the defendant to reimburse the state or a custodian for all reasonable costs incurred in providing necessary shelter, care, veterinary attention, or medical treatment for any animal affected;
  • prohibit or limit the defendant’s ownership, possession, or custody of animals for up to 10 years.

Cruelty to animals is a Class A misdemeanor with a sentencing provision of imprisonment up to one year.  However, it can be a Class C felony  if the defendant has been previously convicted on two or more separate occasions within the past 10 years of a similar crime.


Inside Alaska – Cruelty to Animals Law