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Utah
Anti-Cruelty Statutes

UTAH CODE, 1953
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 his custody;

(b) abandons an animal in the person's custody;

(c) 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 (3) is:

(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 was:

(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 research involved;

(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 nonrecoverable condition;

(b) the judgment of two other persons called by the person to view the unrecoverable condition of the animal in the person's presence;

(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 husbandry practices.

(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.

(9) Upon conviction under this section, the court may in its discretion, in addition to other penalties:

(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 counseling;

(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; and

(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:

(i) without 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 creature.

(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.

(c) "Custody" means ownership, possession, or control over an animal.

(d) "Legal 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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