District of Columbia
OF COLUMBIA CODE 1981
PART IV. CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE AND PRISONERS.
22. CRIMINAL OFFENSES.
CHAPTER 8. Cruelty to Animals.
22-1001. Definitions and penalties [Formerly § 22-801]
Whoever knowingly overdrives, overloads, drives when overloaded, overworks, tortures,
torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, cruelly chains, cruelly beats or mutilates,
any animal, or knowingly causes or procures any animal to be so overdriven, overloaded,
driven when overloaded, overworked, tortured, tormented, deprived of necessary
sustenance, cruelly chained, cruelly beaten, or mutilated, and whoever, having
the charge or custody of any animal, either as owner or otherwise, knowingly inflicts
unnecessary cruelty upon the same, or unnecessarily fails to provide the same
with proper food, drink, air, light, space, veterinary care, shelter, or protection
from the weather, shall for every such offense be punished by imprisonment in
jail not exceeding 180 days, or by fine not exceeding $ 250, or by both.
For the purposes of this section, "cruelly chains" means attaching an
animal to a stationary object or a pulley by means of a chain, rope, tether, leash,
cable, or similar restraint under circumstances that may endanger its health,
safety, or well-being. Cruelly chains includes, but is not limited to, the use
of a chain, rope, tether, leash, cable or similar restraint that:
Exceeds 1/8 the body weight of the animal;
Causes the animal to choke;
Is too short for the animal to move around or for the animal to urinate or defecate
in a separate area from the area where it must eat, drink, or lie down;
Is situated where it can become entangled;
Does not permit the animal access to food, water, shade, dry ground, or shelter;
Does not permit the animal to escape harm.
For the purposes of this section, "serious bodily injury" means bodily
injury that involves a substantial risk of death, unconsciousness, extreme physical
pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, mutilation, or protracted loss or
impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ. Serious bodily injury
includes, but is not limited to, broken bones, burns, internal injuries, severe
malnutrition, severe lacerations or abrasions, and injuries resulting from untreated
(d) Except where
the animal is an undomesticated and dangerous animal such as rats,
bats, and snakes, and there is a reasonable apprehension of an imminent
attack by such animal on that person or another, whoever commits
any of the acts or omissions set forth in subsection (a) of this
section with the intent to commit serious bodily injury or death
to an animal, or whoever, under circumstances manifesting extreme
indifference to animal life, commits any of the acts or omissions
set forth in subsection (a) of this section which results in serious
bodily injury or death to the animal, shall be guilty of a felony
and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment
not exceeding 5 years, or by a fine not exceeding $ 25,000, or both.
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