California – Cruelty to Animals Law

According to Cal Pen Code § 597, a person is guilty of cruelty to animals if s/he:

  • “Maliciously and intentionally mains, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a living animal, or
  • Maliciously and intentionally kills an animal; or
  • Overdrives, overloads, drives when overloaded, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, cruelly beats, mutilates, or cruelly kills any animal; or
  • Causes or procures any animal to be so treated.”

Abused animals shall be seized and impounded and ownership forfeited.  Cruelty to animals may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony.  It is punishable with a fine up to $20,000 and/or imprisonment up to 1 year.  The defendant must pay for and successfully complete counseling, if granted probation for a conviction.  Carrying any domestic animal in or upon any vehicle or otherwise in a cruel or inhumane manner is a misdemeanor.  Farming, hunting and research are exemptions to this.


Inside California – Cruelty to Animals Law