Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law
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What are Connecticut’s animal cruelty laws?

Most people think about assaults against other humans when the topic of violent crimes comes up. However, cruelty to animals can also be violent, and many people might not realize that neglecting or harming an animal can result in serious criminal charges. You and other Connecticut residents should understand the state’s animal cruelty laws.

According to the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research, most instances of animal cruelty are considered misdemeanors by law enforcement, although some cases are felonies. First, what is considered animal cruelty, you may wonder? Overworking, beating, torturing, intentionally injuring, poisoning and deliberately killing or mistreating an animal to the point of death are actions that can result in animal cruelty charges. The same is true for failing to provide a pet or livestock with proper care, depriving an animal of food or water, maliciously teasing or abandoning an animal that is legally under one’s care.

Additionally, it is a felony to maliciously or intentionally torture, mutilate, maim or kill an animal, as well as to participate in animal fighting or to injure or kill a police animal. You can face jail time of up to one year and a fine of $1,000 for misdemeanor animal cruelty charges, as well as $5,000 in fines and up to five years in prison for felony animal cruelty.

You might not have intended for an animal in your care to be harmed, or someone may have falsely accused you of neglecting or mistreating a pet. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your charges, you are entitled to a fair defense. This information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.

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