TITLE 76. CRIMINAL CODE
CHAPTER 9. OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC
ORDER AND DECENCY
PART 3. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
76-9-301. Cruelty to animals
(1) A person is guilty of cruelty to animals
if the person intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence:
(a) fails to provide necessary food, care, or shelter for an animal in
(b) abandons an animal in the person's custody;
transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner;
(d) injures an animal;
(e) causes any animal, not including a dog, to fight with another animal
of like kind for amusement or gain; or
(f) causes any animal, including a
dog, to fight with a different kind of animal or creature for amusement or gain.
(2) A violation of Subsection (1) is:
(a) a class B misdemeanor
if committed intentionally or knowingly; and
(b) a class C misdemeanor
if committed recklessly or with criminal negligence.
(3) A person is guilty
of aggravated cruelty to an animal if the person:
(a) tortures an animal;
(b) administers poison or poisonous substances to an animal without having
a legal privilege to do so;
(c) kills or causes to be killed an animal
without having a legal privilege to do so.
(4) A violation of Subsection
(a) a class A misdemeanor if committed intentionally or knowingly;
(b) a class B misdemeanor if committed recklessly; and
(c) a class
C misdemeanor if committed with criminal negligence.
(5) It is a defense
to prosecution under this section that the conduct of the actor towards the animal
(a) by a licensed veterinarian using accepted veterinary practice;
(b) directly related to bona fide experimentation for scientific research,
provided that if the animal is to be destroyed, the manner employed will not be
unnecessarily cruel unless directly necessary to the veterinary purpose or scientific
(c) permitted under Section 18-1-3;
(d) by a
person who humanely destroys any animal found suffering past recovery for any
useful purpose; or
(e) by a person who humanely destroys any apparently
abandoned animal found on the person's property.
(6) For purposes of Subsection
(5)(d), before destroying the suffering animal, the person who is not the owner
of the animal shall obtain:
(a) the judgment of a veterinarian of the animal's
(b) the judgment of two other persons called
by the person to view the unrecoverable condition of the animal in the person's
(c) the consent from the owner of the animal to the destruction
of the animal; or
(d) a reasonable conclusion that the animal's suffering
is beyond recovery, through the person's own observation, if the person is in
a location or circumstance where the person is unable to contact another person.
(7) This section does not affect or prohibit the training, instruction,
and grooming of animals, so long as the methods used are in accordance with accepted
(8) (a) This section does not affect or prohibit the
use of an electronic locating or training collar by the owner of an animal for
the purpose of lawful animal training, lawful hunting practices, or protecting
against loss of that animal.
(b) County and municipal governments may not
prohibit the use of an electronic locating or training collar.
conviction under this section, the court may in its discretion, in addition to
(a) order the defendant to be evaluated to determine the
need for psychiatric or psychological counseling, to receive counseling as the
court determines to be appropriate, and to pay the costs of the evaluation and
(b) require the defendant to forfeit any rights the defendant
has to the animal subjected to a violation of this section and to repay the reasonable
costs incurred by any person or agency in caring for each animal subjected to
violation of this section;
(c) order the defendant to no longer possess
or retain custody of any animal, as specified by the court, during the period
of the defendant's probation or parole or other period as designated by the court;
(d) order the animal to be placed for the purpose of adoption or care
in the custody of a county and municipal animal control agency, an animal welfare
agency registered with the state, sold at public auction, or humanely destroyed.
(10) This section does not prohibit the use of animals in lawful training.
(11) As used in this section:
(a) "Abandons" means to
intentionally deposit, leave, or drop off any live animal:
providing for the care of that animal; or
(ii) in a situation where conditions
present an immediate, direct, and serious threat to the life, safety, or health
of the animal.
(b) (i) "Animal" means a live, nonhuman vertebrate
(ii) "Animal" does not include animals kept or owned
for agricultural purposes and cared for in accordance with accepted husbandry
practices, animals used for rodeo purposes, and does not include protected and
unprotected wildlife as defined in Section 23-13-2.
means ownership, possession, or control over an animal.
privilege" means an act authorized by state law, including Division of Wildlife
Resources statutes and rules, and conducted in conformance with local ordinances.
(e) "Necessary food, care, and shelter" means appropriate
and essential food and other needs of the animal, including veterinary
care, and adequate protection against extreme weather conditions.
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