Cruelty to animals in Muskogee, Oklahoma is against the law. Oklahoma law governs the well being of animals within its jurisdiction. If you have animals or are concerned about the well being of animals you encounter, here is information regarding what constitutes cruelty to animals in Oklahoma.
Cruelty to Animals in Oklahoma Encompasses More Than You Might Think
Oklahoma law governs all animals, domesticated and wild, and includes animals that belong to you as well as animals that belong to others, this includes mammals, fish, reptiles and the like. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1680.1.
We can readily understand that cruelty to animals laws prohibit the torture and maiming of animals, but the laws cover other things as well.
In Oklahoma, animal cruelty is defined as the willful or malicious torturing, destruction, beating, maiming, mutilation, or killing of any animal, regardless of ownership, both wild and domesticated, or causing, procuring or allowing that to happen to an animal. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1685.
But the law also covers depriving an animal of necessary food, drink, shelter, or veterinary care to prevent suffering. In addition, the law prohibits willfully instigating, engaging in, or furthering any act of cruelty to an animal. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1685. This means that even if you did not directly cause cruelty to an animal, you can still be prosecuted under the law if you acted in such a way as to help another person engaged in animal cruelty.
Cruelty to animals is a felony count in Oklahoma. In addition to harsh penalties, felony convictions can haunt you for life, impeding your ability to obtain gainful employment and desirable housing situations.
Courts have a great deal of discretion in sentencing and sentences for cruelty to animals can vary quite a bit depending on the nature of the situation and the harm inflicted upon the animal.
A conviction in Oklahoma could mean as many as five years in prison or one year in the county jail. And you could be fined as much as $5,000.
What Does Cruelty to Animals Look Like?
Animal cruelty can occur when an animal is beaten. That is the scenario we normally think of. But there are many kinds of scenarios that the statutes can cover. Neglect is one way that animals can suffer. This can happen if an animal is chained up outside in extreme weather of any kind or without food to adequate water.
While this is a crime of intent – the cruelty must be done willfully or maliciously – intent can often be proven from looking to the condition of the animal. Severe malnourishment, mange, open sores, bruising, and the like may all be used to prove intent.
Willfully administering poison to any animal is also considered to be cruelty to animals. The crime is a felony punishable by as many as three years in prison, or as much as one year in county jail. And you could be fined as much as $250. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1681.
Abandoning an animal along a road, or any other place, is a misdemeanor. This law is aimed at those people who think that it is fine to dump an animal thinking that it can survive in the wild. Any form of animal abandonment is against the law in Oklahoma outside of surrendering an animal to a shelter. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1691. The crime is punishable by as much as one year in county jail. And you could be fined from as little as $100 to as much as $500. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1692.
If it is determined that an animal is being abused, animal control officials may remove the animal from an owner and provide necessary medical care at the owner’s expense. The animal will then be returned only if certain conditions are met. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1680.4.
If you have questions or concerns about your animals or the animals belonging to another, or if you are facing charges for animal cruelty, contact an experienced Muskogee criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
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