Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 16-12-4, a person who causes death or intense physical pain or suffering to any animal by an act, an omission, or intentional withholding of food and water is guilty of the offense of cruelty to animals. The offense is considered a misdemeanor, and subsequent convictions incur enhanced penalties. O.C.G.A. § 16-12-4 (b) specifically states that:
(b) A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals when he or she causes death or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering to any animal by an act, an omission, or willful neglect. Any person convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; provided, however, that:
(1) Any person who is convicted of a second or subsequent violation of this subsection shall be punished by imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, a fine not to exceed $5,000.00, or both; and
(2) Any person who is convicted of a second or subsequent violation of this subsection which results in the death of an animal shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three months nor more than 12 months, a fine not to exceed $10,000.00, or both, which punishment shall not be suspended, probated, or withheld.
Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 16-12-4 (c), a person is liable for the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals if s/he knowingly and maliciously causes death or physical harm to an animal by making part of such animal’s body useless or by seriously disfiguring the animal. The punishment for the offense will be imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, and a fine not to exceed $ 15,000.00, or both. Before sentencing a defendant for any conviction relating to animal cruelty, the sentencing judge may require psychological evaluation of the offender.
O.C.G.A. § 16-6-6 states that a person who performs any sexual act with an animal is guilty of bestiality and is punishable. Bestiality is a form of animal cruelty.