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Vermont
Anti-Cruelty Statutes

VERMONT STATUTES
TITLE THIRTEEN. CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
PART 1. CRIMES
CHAPTER 8. HUMANE AND PROPER TREATMENT OF ANIMALS
SUBCHAPTER 1. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

§ 352. Cruelty to animals
A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if the person:

(1) intentionally kills or attempts to kill any animal belonging to another person without first obtaining legal authority or consent of the owner;

(2) overworks, overloads, tortures, torments, abandons, administers poison to, cruelly beats or mutilates an animal, exposes a poison with intent that it be taken by an animal;

(3) ties, tethers, or restrains an animal, either a pet or livestock, in a manner that is inhumane or is detrimental to its welfare. Livestock and poultry husbandry practices are exempted;

(4) deprives an animal which a person owns, possesses or acts as an agent for, of adequate food, water, shelter, rest or sanitation, or necessary medical attention, or transports an animal in overcrowded vehicles;

(5) owns, possesses, keeps or trains an animal engaged in an exhibition of fighting, or possesses, keeps or trains any animal with intent that it be engaged in an exhibition of fighting, or permits any such act to be done on premises under his or her charge or control;

(6) acts as judge or spectator at events of animal fighting or bets or wagers on the outcome of such fight;

(7) as poundkeeper, officer, agent of a humane society or as an owner or employee of an establishment for treatment, board or care of an animal, knowingly receives, sells, transfers or otherwise conveys an animal in his or her care for the purpose of research or vivisection;

(8) intentionally torments or harasses an animal owned or engaged by a police department or public agency of the state or its political subdivisions, or interferes with the lawful performance of a police animal;

(9) knowingly sells, offers for sale, barters or displays living baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl which have been dyed, colored or otherwise treated so as to impart to them an artificial color, or fails to provide poultry with proper brooder facilities;

(10) uses a live animal as bait or lure in a race, game or contest, or in training animals in a manner inconsistent with Part 4 of Title 10 or the rules adopted thereunder.

§ 352a. Aggravated cruelty to animals
A person commits the crime of aggravated cruelty to animals if the person intentionally kills an animal by means causing the animal undue pain or suffering.

§ 353. Degree of offense; sentencing upon conviction
(a) Penalties.

  • (1) Except as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection, cruelty to animals under section 352 of this title shall be punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not more than one year, or a fine of not more than $ 2,000.00, or both. Second and subsequent convictions shall be punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not more than two years or a fine of not more than $ 5,000.00, or both.

  • (2) Aggravated cruelty under section 352a of this title shall be punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not more than three years or a fine of not more than $ 5,000.00, or both. Second and subsequent offenses shall be punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not more than five years or a fine of not more than $ 7,500.00, or both.

  • (3) An offense committed under subdivisions 352(5) and (6) of this title shall be punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or a fine of not more than $ 5,000.00, or both.

(b) In addition to any other sentence the court may impose, the court may require a defendant convicted of a violation under section 352 or 352a of this title to:

  • (1) Forfeit any rights to the animal subjected to cruelty, and to any other animal, except livestock or poultry owned, possessed, or in the custody of the defendant.

  • (2) Repay the reasonable costs incurred by any person, municipality or agency for providing care for the animal prior to judgment. If the court does not order a defendant to pay all the applicable costs incurred or orders only partial payment, it shall state on the record the reasons for that action.

  • (3) Forfeit any future right to own, possess, or care for any animal for a period which the court deems appropriate.

  • (4) Participate in available animal cruelty prevention programs or educational programs, or both, or obtain psychiatric or psychological counseling, within a reasonable distance from the defendant's residence. The court may impose the costs of such programs or counseling upon the defendant when appropriate.

  • (5) Permit periodic unannounced visits for a period up to one year by a humane officer to inspect the care and condition of any animal permitted by the court to remain in the care, custody, or possession of the defendant. Such period may be extended by the court upon motion made by the state.

(c) Upon an order of forfeiture of an animal under this section or section 354 of this title, the court shall order custody of the animal remanded to a humane society or other individual deemed appropriate by the court, for further disposition in accordance with accepted practices for humane treatment of animals. A transfer of rights under this section constitutes a transfer of ownership, and shall not constitute or authorize any limitation upon the right of the humane society, individual, or other entity, to whom rights are granted to dispose of the animal.

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