In Michigan, when there are allegations that a person has committed cruelty to animals, there is often a reaction of shock and anger across the spectrum. Even though these crimes are negatively perceived by society and can result in various penalties if there is a conviction, it is important for those who have been accused to understand they have the right to a strong criminal defense.
Understanding the law and penalties for cruelty to animals
When facing charges for cruelty to animals, it is wise to know the law. When in custody of an animal in any capacity as an owner, breeder or for any other reason, that animal is required to be given adequate care. That includes food, water, shelter, veterinary care, that there be a sanitary environment, and the shelter be sufficient based on the weather. The animal must be kept in good health and free from beatings or other forms of abuse.
When a person is arrested and convicted of violating this law, it is a misdemeanor provided it involved a single animal. There can be incarceration for up to 93 days; a fine of up to $1,000; and 200 hours of community service. If there were two or three animals or an animal died, it is misdemeanor with jail for up to one year; a $2,000 fine; and up to 300 hours of community service.
For four to 10 animals or with a previous conviction for animal cruelty, it is a felony with up to two years in jail; a fine of up to $2,000; and up to 300 hours of community service. For 10 or more animals but fewer than 25 or two previous convictions, it is a felony with up to four years in jail; a fine for up to $5,000; and as much as 500 hours of community service. With 25 or more animals or three previous convictions, it is a felony with up to seven years in jail; a fine for as much as $10,000; and community service for up to 500 hours.
Legal representation is needed for charges of cruelty to animals
Given the implications accompanying allegations of animal abuse, a strong defense is imperative. There could be extenuating circumstances or the person might not be guilty of the allegations. Given the harsh penalties and the possibility that other requirements such as a psychological evaluation will be part of a sentence, it is wise to consult with a legal professional experienced in all areas of criminal defense to craft a strategy and seek a satisfactory resolution.
At the Law Office of John Freeman, we can help.