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Florida Couple Faces Animal Cruelty Charges

Written by Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law on January 18, 2016

Authorities arrested a Florida couple for allegedly neglecting to care for their sick dog. Spring Hill police found the dog after receiving a call about a dog that appeared to be in grave condition and lying in a backyard. When police arrived, they found the dog in physical distress. News outlets reported that when police found her she was covered in bugs, unable to walk or stand, and had a large open wound on her back. Authorities also alleged that she seemed to be malnourished. Her bones showed through her skin and there was no apparent food or water in the yard. The owners of the dog, an eight year old Doberman mix, took the dog to a veterinarian  over six months ago for treatment but were unable to produce documentation from a visit. The owners admitted that they knew the dog was in grave health but that they were unable to pay for her treatment. Authorities also removed four additional animals from the home. Authorities took the dog to a veterinarian for treatment but she died en route. The dog’s owners were both charged with felony animal cruelty.

While it is hard to read about a dog in this sort of condition, we may all understand that when a family feels funds are tight, it can make decisions that lead to these sorts of circumstances. If you are wondering what may happen to this couple, this article will provide you with key information about Florida’s animal cruelty laws.  

What is Animal Cruelty?

The term animal cruelty refers to three main types of crimes under Florida law. The three basic charges include animal neglect, felony, and misdemeanor animal cruelty. Animal fighting is different charge often associated with the mistreatment of animals. All four animal abuse charges come with serious repercussions including prison time and fine.

  • Misdemeanor Animal Cruelty: You may be charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty if you unlawfully and unnecessarily overload, torment, mutilate, or kill an animal – a charge punishable with up to one year in prison and a $5,000.
  • Felony Animal Cruelty: You maybe charged with this if your actions result in the cruel death or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on an animal. This crime is punishable with up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • Animal Neglect: You could be charged with animal neglect if you deprive an animal of necessities like food, water, or shelter. Florida requires animal owners provide their animals with a reasonable amount of exercise and a change of air for confined animals. This crime is punishable with up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Animal Fighting

Unfortunately, animal fighting is common in the United States and in South Florida. Florida law prohibits the “baiting, breeding, transporting, selling, owning, possessing, or using any wild or domestic animal for the purpose of fighting.” Dog fighting and cock fighting are the most common types of animal fighting Florida. Knowingly attending or betting on animal fights is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.

Let an Attorney Help

Intentional and unintentional animal abuse charges are serious crimes under Florida law. If you have been accused of animal cruelty, it is important that you speak with an attorney to discuss your case. Let Moses & Rooth help you deal with an animal abuse charge. We can review the circumstances of your charge and develop a strategy for you. Please contact us today at 407-377-0150 to schedule an appointment.

Posted Under: Criminal Defense

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