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Animal Cruelty Laws in Nevada

The American Society for the Protection of Animals recently made national headlines in their rescue of hundreds of dogs chained up in horrible conditions and used in illegal dogfighting competitions.

Most people love their pets and would never do anything to harm them. Pets are members of the family, but like children they require care and attention. Sometimes a pet owner, acting out of ignorance or a mistake in judgment, ends up charged with animal cruelty because Nevada holds you responsible for your pet’s welfare.

What is “animal cruelty”?

In their definition of “animal cruelty”, the Nevada statutes cover almost every conceivable situation:

  • Torturing an animal ― this includes allowing an animal to be tortured even if you aren’t directly engaged in the torture yourself
  • Abandoning animals, both healthy and disabled
  • Mistreatment of show dogs
  • Use of improper restraints
  • Poisoning animals
  • Mistreatment of police animals and interfering with their duties
  • Failure to provide proper shelter, air, food, or water to an impounded animal
  • Sale of disabled horses
  • Running horses on a highway
  • Carrying an animal in a cruel manner
  • Leaving a dog or cat unattended in a vehicle during extreme heat or cold conditions
  • Dogfighting and cockfighting, whether as an organizer, participant or attendee

How serious are the punishments for animal cruelty?

Nevada takes animal cruelty seriously. While a first offense is usually charged as a misdemeanor with penalties of up to six months in the county jail, repeat offenses may result in a state prison sentence of up to five years. You may also have to pay restitution for the veterinary and boarding expenses incurred in caring for the animal. If the animal is your pet, you may also lose custody of that pet.

Some animal cruelty laws, like those governing organized animal fighting or mistreating a police animal, are mandatory felonies, so even on a first offense you are looking at up to four years’ confinement in state prison.

If you are facing some form of animal cruelty charge in Nevada, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who vigorously defends against overreaching prosecutions.

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