Bill Status

Previous full text revisions: 01/10/00 , 02/03/00 , 02/10/00 , 02/29/00 , 03/15/00 , 03/24/00

    
SB 297
    
Cruelty to Animals -
revise laws
    
1. Brown  26th            2. Ladd  41st              3. Polak  42nd
    
Senate Comm: Nat R      /         House Comm: Ag         /        
Senate Vote: Yeas 54    Nays 0
           ---------------------------------------------
              Senate          Action          House
           ---------------------------------------------
             1/11/00   Read 1st time          2/14/00
             2/4/00    Favorably Reported     2/29/00
             Sub       Committee Amend/Sub    Sub
             2/7/00    Read 2nd Time          2/15/00
             2/10/00   Read 3rd Time          3/15/00
             2/10/00   Passed/Adopted         3/15/00
             CS        Comm/Floor Amend/Sub   CS/FA
             3/20/00   Amend/Sub Disagreed To  
                       Insists                3/22/00
             3/22/00   Conf Comm Appointed    3/22/00
             3/22/00   Conf Comm Rep Adopted  3/22/00
             3/29/00   Sent To Governor       
             4/27/00   Signed by Governor     
             686       Act/Veto Number        
             5/01/00   Effective Date         
           ---------------------------------------------
           ---------------------------------------------
    
CC# SENATE CONFEREES         HOUSE CONFEREES       SENATE    HOUSE
----Brown - 26th             Reichert - 126th      Adopted   Adopted
----Egan - 40th              Crawford - 129th
----Meyer von Bremen/12th    Greene - 158th
    
Code Sections amended: 4-1-6, 4-8-7, 4-11-2, 4-11-9.2, 4-11-9.3, 4-11-9.4,
4-11-9.5, 4-11-9.6, 4-11-10, 4-11-15, 4-11-15.1, 4-11-16, 4-11-17, 4-13-10,
16-12-4

First Reader

1. Brown  26th            2. Ladd  41st              3. Polak  42nd
    
SB 297
    
A bill to be entitled an Act to amend Title 4 of the Official Code of
Georgia Annotated, relating to animals, so as to change certain
references relating to cruelty to animals; to include a certain
reference relating to animal fighting; to amend Title 16 of the
Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to crimes and offenses,
so as to revise comprehensively the law relating to the offense of
cruelty to animals; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other
purposes.

Full Text

    
SB 297 00                                            SB297/AP
      
      SENATE BILL 297
      
      By:  Senators Brown of the 26th, Ladd of the 41st,
           Polak of the 42nd and others
      
                        A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
                               AN ACT
    
    
 1  To prohibit animal abuse and the abandonment of certain
 2  animals; to provide for a short title; to amend Title 4 of
 3  the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to animals,
 4  so as to make it unlawful to obstruct the Commissioner of
 5  Agriculture and other officials acting under said title; to
 6  provide for penalties; to provide for definitions; to
 7  provide for the appointment of animal control officers; to
 8  provide for inspection warrants; to provide procedures for
 9  the impounding of certain animals under certain
10  circumstances; to provide for notices and hearings; to make
11  it unlawful to abandon a domestic animal; to provide for
12  injunctions; to provide for reports of animal cruelty or dog
13  fighting by veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and other
14  persons; to provide immunity from civil or criminal actions
15  for persons making such reports; to amend Article 1 of
16  Chapter 12 of Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia
17  Annotated, relating to general provisions relative to
18  offenses against public health and morals, so as to define
19  the offenses of cruelty to animals and aggravated cruelty to
20  animals; to provide for definitions; to provide for
21  penalties; to provide for exemptions; to provide for other
22  matters relative to the foregoing; to provide for an
23  effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other
24  purposes.
    
25       BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
    
26                           SECTION 1.
    
27  This Act shall be known and may be cited as the "Animal
28  Protection Act of 2000."
    
29                           SECTION 2.
    
30  Title 4 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating
31  to animals, is amended by inserting after Code Section 4-1-5
32  a new Code Section 4-1-6 to read as follows:
    
    
    
    
33                              S. B. 297
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 1    "4-1-6.
    
 2    It shall be unlawful for any person to obstruct,
 3    interfere, or hinder the Commissioner, his or her
 4    designated agents and employees, an animal control
 5    officer, or a dog control officer in the lawful discharge
 6    of his or her official duties pursuant to this title.  Any
 7    person convicted of a violation of this Code section shall
 8    be punished as provided in subsection (b) of Code Section
 9    16-10-24."
    
10                           SECTION 3.
    
11  Said title is further amended by striking Code Section
12  4-8-7, relating to penalties, and inserting in lieu thereof
13  the following:
    
14    "4-8-7.
    
15    Any Except as provided in Code Sections 16-12-4 and
16    16-12-37, any person who violates any provision of this
17    article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor."
    
18                           SECTION 4.
    
19  Said title is further amended by striking Code Section
20  4-11-2, relating to definitions, and inserting in lieu
21  thereof the following:
    
22    "4-11-2.
    
23    As used in this article, the term:
    
24      (1) 'Adequate food and water' means food and water which
25      is sufficient in an amount and appropriate for the
26      particular type of animal to prevent starvation,
27      dehydration, or a significant risk to the animal's
28      health from a lack of food or water.
    
29      (1.1) 'Animal control officer' means an individual
30      authorized by local law or by the governing authority of
31      a county or municipality to carry out the duties imposed
32      by this article or imposed by local ordinance.
    
33      (2) 'Animal shelter' means any facility operated by or
34      under contract for the state, a county, a municipal
35      corporation, or any other political subdivision of the
36      state for the purpose of impounding or harboring seized,
37      stray, homeless, abandoned, or unwanted dogs, cats, and
38      other animals; any veterinary hospital or clinic
39      operated by a veterinarian or veterinarians which
40      operates for such purpose in addition to its customary
    
41                              S. B. 297
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 1      purposes; and any facility operated, owned, or
 2      maintained by a duly incorporated humane society, animal
 3      welfare society, or other nonprofit organization for the
 4      purpose of providing for and promoting the welfare,
 5      protection, and humane treatment of animals.
    
 6      (3) 'Equine' means any member of the Equidae species,
 7      including horses, mules, and asses.
    
 8      (4) 'Humane care' of animals means, but is not limited
 9      to, the provision of adequate heat, ventilation,
10      sanitary shelter, and wholesome and adequate food and
11      water, consistent with the normal requirements and
12      feeding habits of the animal's size, species, and breed.
    
13      (5) 'Kennel' means any establishment, other than an
14      animal shelter, where dogs or cats are maintained for
15      boarding, holding, training, or similar purposes for a
16      fee or compensation.
    
17      (6) 'Person' means any person, firm, corporation,
18      partnership, association, or other legal entity, any
19      public or private institution, the State of Georgia, or
20      any county, municipal corporation, or political
21      subdivision of the state.
    
22      (7) 'Pet dealer' or 'pet dealership' means any person
23      who sells, offers to sell, exchanges, or offers for
24      adoption dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, or other
25      animals customarily obtained as pets in this state.
26      However, a person who sells only animals that he or she
27      has produced and raised, not to exceed 30 animals a
28      year, shall not be considered a pet dealer under this
29      article unless such a person such person is licensed for
30      a business by a local government or has a Georgia sales
31      tax number. The Commissioner may with respect to any
32      breed of animals decrease the 30 animal per year
33      exception in the foregoing sentence to a lesser number
34      of any animals for any species which that is commonly
35      bred and sold for commercial purposes in lesser
36      quantities.  Operation of a veterinary hospital or
37      clinic by a licensed veterinarian shall not constitute
38      the veterinarian as a pet dealer, kennel, or stable
39      under this article.
    
40      (8) 'Secretary of Agriculture' means the Secretary
41      secretary of the United States Department of
42      Agriculture.
    
    
43                              S. B. 297
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 1      (9) 'Stable' means any building, structure, pasture, or
 2      other enclosure where equines are maintained for
 3      boarding, holding, training, breeding, riding, pulling
 4      vehicles, or other similar purposes and a fee is charged
 5      for maintaining such equines or for the use of such
 6      equines."
    
 7                           SECTION 5.
    
 8  Said title is further amended by inserting after Code
 9  Section 4-11-9.1 new Code Sections 4-11-9.2, 4-11-9.3,
10  4-11-9.4, 4-11-9.5, and 4-11-9.6 to read as follows:
    
11    "4-11-9.2.
    
12    (a) At any time there is probable cause to believe that a
13    violation of this article or any rule or regulation
14    adopted pursuant to this article has occurred, the
15    Commissioner, his or her designated agent, or an animal
16    control officer who is an employee of state or local
17    government may apply to the appropriate court in the
18    county in which the animal is located for an inspection
19    warrant under the provisions of Code Section 2-2-11.
    
20    (b) Any sheriff, deputy sheriff, or other peace officer
21    shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this
22    article and Code Sections 16-12-4 and 16-12-37.
    
23    (c) The Commissioner, his or her designated agent, an
24    animal control officer who is an employee of state or
25    local government, or any sheriff, deputy sheriff, or other
26    peace officer is authorized to impound any animal:
    
27      (1) That has not received humane care;
    
28      (2) That has been subjected to cruelty in violation of
29      Code Section 16-12-4;
    
30      (3) That is used or intended for use in any violation of
31      Code Section 16-12-37; or
    
32      (4) If it is determined that a consent order or other
33      order concerning the treatment of animals issued
34      pursuant to this article is being violated.
    
35    (d) Prior to an animal being impounded pursuant to
36    paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (c) of this Code
37    section, a licensed accredited veterinarian approved by
38    the Commissioner or a veterinarian employed by a state or
39    federal government and approved by the Commissioner,
40    shall, at the request of the Commissioner, his or her
    
    
41                              S. B. 297
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 1    designee, an animal control officer, a sheriff, a deputy
 2    sheriff, or other peace officer, examine and determine the
 3    condition or treatment of the animal.
    
 4    (e) The provisions of this Code section and Code Sections
 5    4-11-9.3 through 4-11-9.6 shall not apply to scientific
 6    experiments or investigations conducted by or at an
 7    accredited college or university in this state or research
 8    facility registered with the Commissioner or the United
 9    States Department of Agriculture.
    
10    4-11-9.3.
    
11    (a) It shall be the duty of any person impounding an
12    animal under Code Section 4-11-9.2 to make reasonable and
13    proper arrangements to provide the impounded animal with
14    humane care and adequate and necessary veterinary
15    services.  Such arrangements may include, but shall not be
16    limited to, providing shelter and care for the animal at
17    any state, federal, county, municipal, or governmental
18    facility or shelter; contracting with a private
19    individual, partnership, corporation, association, or
20    other entity to provide humane care and adequate and
21    necessary veterinary services for a reasonable fee; or
22    allowing a private individual, partnership, corporation,
23    association, or other entity to provide humane care and
24    adequate and necessary veterinary services as a volunteer
25    and at no cost.
    
26    (b) Any person impounding an animal under this article or
27    providing care for an impounded animal shall have a lien
28    on such animal for the reasonable costs of caring for such
29    animal.  Such lien may be foreclosed in any court that is
30    competent to hear civil cases, including, but not limited
31    to, magistrate courts.  Liens shall be foreclosed in
32    magistrate courts only when the amount of the lien does
33    not exceed the jurisdictional limits established by law
34    for such courts.
    
35    (c) Any person impounding an animal under this article is
36    authorized to return the animal to its owner, upon payment
37    by the owner of all costs of impoundment and care and upon
38    the entry of a consent order, unless such owner was, in a
39    prior administrative or legal action in this state or any
40    other state, found to have failed to provide humane care
41    to an animal, committed cruelty to animals, or engaged in
42    dog fighting in violation of the laws of this state or of
43    the United States or any of the several states.  Such
    
    
44                              S. B. 297
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                                                    SB297/AP
    
 1    consent order shall provide conditions relating to the
 2    care and treatment of such animal, including, but not
 3    limited to, the following, that:
    
 4      (1) Such animal will be given humane care and adequate
 5      and necessary veterinary services;
    
 6      (2) Such animal will not be subjected to cruelty; and
    
 7      (3) The owner will comply with this article.
    
 8    (d) The provisions of subsection (c) of this Code section
 9    shall not apply to an animal that was an object or
10    instrumentality of a crime nor shall any such animal be
11    returned to the owner without the approval of the
12    prosecuting attorney.  An agency having custody of an
13    animal that was seized as an object or instrumentality of
14    a crime may, with the consent of the prosecuting attorney,
15    apply to the court having jurisdiction over the offense
16    for an order authorizing such agency to dispose of the
17    animal prior to trial of the criminal case as provided by
18    law.
    
19    4-11-9.4.
    
20    (a) It shall be the duty of any person impounding an
21    animal under this article to notify the owner of such
22    animal immediately upon impoundment.  Such notice shall
23    state the name and business address of the person
24    impounding the animal, the name and address of the state
25    or local government agency having custody of the animal, a
26    description of the animal, the reason why the animal was
27    impounded, and a statement of the time limits for the
28    owner to respond and request a hearing as provided in Code
29    Section 4-11-9.5.  The notice shall be provided by
30    personal service or by registered or certified mail sent
31    to the last known address of the owner.  Service of the
32    notice which complies with subsection (b) of Code Section
33    9-11-5 shall in all cases be sufficient.  If the owner of
34    such animal is unknown or cannot be found, service of the
35    notice on the owner shall be made by posting the notice in
36    a conspicuous place at the location where the animal was
37    impounded and by publishing a notice once in a newspaper
38    of general circulation in the county where the animal was
39    impounded.
    
40    (b) An animal impounded pursuant to this article is deemed
41    to be in the custody of the state or local government
    
    
    
42                              S. B. 297
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 1    agency responsible for enforcement of this article within
 2    said county or municipality.
    
 3    4-11-9.5.
    
 4    (a) If the owner of an animal impounded pursuant to this
 5    article fails to respond in writing within five business
 6    days of the date the notice of impoundment was served, or,
 7    if the owner is unknown or could not be found within 30
 8    days of publication of the notice of impoundment, the
 9    impounded animal may be disposed of pursuant to Code
10    Section 4-11-9.6.
    
11      (b)(1) If the owner of an animal impounded pursuant to
12      this article refuses to enter into a consent agreement
13      with the government agency having custody of the animal
14      that such animal will be given humane care and adequate
15      and necessary veterinary care, the owner may request, in
16      writing, a hearing within five business days of the date
17      the notice of impoundment was served on such owner, or,
18      if the owner is unknown or could not be found, within 30
19      days of the date of publication of the notice of
20      impoundment.  Such request for hearing shall be served
21      upon the government agency having custody of the animal.
22      If no hearing is requested within the time limits
23      specified in this paragraph and the failure to request
24      such hearing is due in whole or in part to the
25      reasonably avoidable fault of the owner, the right to a
26      hearing shall have been waived.
    
27      (2) Within 30 days after receiving a written request for
28      a hearing, the government agency having custody of the
29      animal shall hold a hearing as is provided in Chapter 13
30      of Title 50, the 'Georgia Administrative Procedure Act.'
31      If the animal is in the custody of an agency of local
32      government which has, by local law or ordinance,
33      established a procedure for hearing such matters, the
34      body designated in such local law or ordinance shall
35      conduct the hearing required by this Code section.  If
36      the local government does not have a hearing procedure,
37      the government agency having custody of the animal may
38      refer the matter to the Office of State Administrative
39      Hearings.  If the animal is in the custody of the
40      Department of Agriculture, the Commissioner or his or
41      her designee shall conduct the hearing.  The hearing
42      shall be public and all testimony shall be received
43      under oath.  A record of the proceedings at such hearing
    
    
44                              S. B. 297
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 1      shall be made and maintained by the hearing officer as
 2      provided in Code Section 50-13-13.
    
 3      (3) The scope of the hearing shall be limited to whether
 4      the impounding of the animal was authorized by
 5      subsection (c) of Code Section 4-11-9.2.
    
 6      (4) The hearing officer shall, within five business days
 7      after such hearing, forward a decision to the person who
 8      impounded the animal and the government agency having
 9      custody of the animal.
    
10      (5) If the hearing officer finds that the animal was
11      improperly impounded, the animal shall be returned to
12      the owner and the cost incurred in providing reasonable
13      care and treatment for the animal from the date of
14      impoundment to the date of the order shall be paid by
15      the impounding agency.
    
16      (6) If the hearing officer finds that the animal was
17      lawfully impounded, the hearing officer may:
    
18        (A) Recommend that the government agency having
19        custody of the animal dispose of the animal as
20        provided in Code Section 4-11-9.6; or
    
21        (B) Unless, in a prior administrative or legal action
22        in this state or any other state, the owner has been
23        found to have failed to provide humane care to an
24        animal, committed cruelty to animals, or engaged in
25        dog fighting in violation of the laws of this state or
26        of the United States or any of the several states,
27        recommend conditions under which the animal may, upon
28        payment by the owner of all costs of impoundment and
29        care, be returned to the owner.  Such conditions shall
30        be reduced to writing and served upon the owner and
31        the government agency having custody of the animal.
32        Such conditions may include, but are not limited to,
33        the following, that:
    
34          (i) Such animal will be given humane care and
35          adequate and necessary veterinary services;
    
36          (ii) Such animal will not be subjected to
37          mistreatment; and
    
38          (iii) The owner will comply with this article.
    
39    (c) The provisions of this Code section shall not apply to
40    an animal that was an object or instrumentality of a crime
41    nor shall any such animal be returned to the owner or
    
42                              S. B. 297
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                                                    SB297/AP
    
 1    disposed of without the approval of the prosecuting
 2    attorney.
    
 3    4-11-9.6.
    
 4    (a) The government agency having custody of an animal
 5    impounded pursuant to this article which is not returned
 6    to the owner as provided in Code Sections 4-11-9.3 and
 7    4-11-9.5 may dispose of the animal through sale by any
 8    commercially feasible means, at a public auction or by
 9    sealed bids, or, if in the opinion of a licensed
10    accredited veterinarian or a veterinarian employed by a
11    state or federal government and approved by the
12    Commissioner such animal has a temperament or condition
13    such that euthanasia is the only reasonable course of
14    action, by humanely disposing of the animal.
    
15    (b) Any proceeds from the sale of such animal shall be
16    used first to pay the costs associated with the
17    impoundment, including, but not limited to, removal of the
18    animal from the premises, shelter and care of the animal,
19    notice, hearing, and disposition of the animal.  Any funds
20    remaining shall:
    
21      (1) If the owner is unknown or cannot be found, be paid
22      into the state treasury if the animal was impounded by
23      the Commissioner or his or her designated agent or into
24      the treasury of the local government if the animal was
25      impounded by the sheriff, a deputy sheriff, another law
26      enforcement officer, or an animal control officer; or
    
27      (2) If the owner is known, be paid to the owner.
    
28    (c) The government agency responsible for conducting the
29    sale shall keep a record of all sales, disbursements, and
30    distributions made under this article."
    
31                           SECTION 6.
    
32  Said title is further amended by striking Code Section
33  4-11-10, relating to unlawful acts by licensed persons, and
34  inserting in lieu thereof the following:
    
35    "4-11-10.
    
36    It shall be unlawful for any person licensed under this
37    article or any person employed by a person licensed under
38    this article or under his such person's supervision or
39    control to:
    
    
    
40                              S. B. 297
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 1      (1) Commit a violation of Code Section 16-12-4, relating
 2      to cruelty to animals, when such violation occurs on the
 3      premises of or is related to the operation of the pet
 4      dealership, animal shelter, kennel, or stable for which
 5      the license has been issued or any other such facility
 6      operated by the same person;
    
 7      (2) Fail to keep the pet dealership premises, animal
 8      shelter, kennel, or stable in a good state of repair, in
 9      a clean and sanitary condition, adequately ventilated,
10      or disinfected when needed; 
    
11      (3) Fail to provide adequate food and water;
    
12      (4)(3) Fail to provide adequate and humane care for any
13      dog, cat, equine, or other animal at such facility; or
    
14      (5)(4) Fail to take reasonable care to release for sale,
15      trade, or adoption only those animals which that appear
16      to be free of disease, injuries, or abnormalities."
    
17                           SECTION 7.
    
18  Said title is further amended by striking Code Section
19  4-11-15, relating to injunctions and restraining orders, and
20  inserting in lieu thereof the following:
    
21    "4-11-15.
    
22    In addition to the remedies provided in this article or
23    elsewhere in the laws of this state and notwithstanding
24    the existence of an adequate remedy at law, the
25    Commissioner or, where authorized by the local governing
26    authority, the city or county attorney is authorized to
27    apply to the superior courts court for an injunction or
28    restraining order.  Such courts shall have jurisdiction
29    and The court shall for good cause shown shall grant a
30    temporary or permanent injunction or an ex parte or
31    restraining order, restraining or enjoining any person,
32    partnership, firm, corporation, or other entity from
33    violating and continuing to violate this article or, any
34    rules and regulations promulgated under this article, Code
35    Section 16-12-4, or Code Section 16-12-37.  Such
36    injunction or restraining order shall be issued without
37    bond and may be granted notwithstanding the fact that the
38    violation constitutes a criminal act and notwithstanding
39    the pendency of any criminal prosecution for the same
40    violation."
    
    
    
41                              S. B. 297
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 1                           SECTION 8.
    
 2  Said title is further amended by inserting after Code
 3  Section 4-11-15 a new Code Section 4-11-15.1 to read as
 4  follows:
    
 5    "4-11-15.1.
    
 6    Notwithstanding the provisions of Code Section 4-11-13, it
 7    shall be unlawful for any person knowingly and
 8    intentionally to abandon any domesticated animal upon any
 9    public or private property or public right of way.  This
10    Code section shall not be construed as amending or
11    otherwise affecting the provisions of Chapter 3 of this
12    title, relating to livestock running at large or
13    straying."
    
14                           SECTION 9.
    
15  Said title is further amended by striking Code Section
16  4-11-16, relating to penalties for violations, and inserting
17  in lieu thereof the following:
    
18    "4-11-16.
    
19    Any (a) Except as otherwise provided in Code Section
20    16-12-4 or 16-12-37, any person, partnership, firm,
21    corporation, or other entity violating any of the
22    provisions of this article or any rule or regulation of
23    the Commissioner adopted pursuant to this article shall be
24    guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided
25    in Code Section 17-10-3; provided, however, that if such
26    offense is committed by a corporation, such corporation
27    shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 for
28    each such violation, community service of not less than
29    200 hours nor more than 500 hours, or both.
    
30    (b) Each violation of this article shall constitute a
31    separate offense."
    
32                          SECTION 10.
    
33  Said title is further amended by inserting after Code
34  Section 4-11-16 a new Code Section 4-11-17 to read as
35  follows:
    
36    "4-11-17.
    
37    (a) Notwithstanding Code Section 24-9-29 or any other
38    provision of law to the contrary, any licensed accredited
39    veterinarian or veterinary technician having reasonable
40    cause to believe that an animal has been subjected to
    
41                              S. B. 297
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 1    animal cruelty in violation of Code Section 16-12-4 or dog
 2    fighting in violation of Code Section 16-12-37 may make or
 3    cause to be made a report of such violation to the
 4    Commissioner, his or her designee, an animal control
 5    officer, a law enforcement agency, or a prosecuting
 6    attorney and may appear and testify in any judicial or
 7    administrative proceeding concerning the care of an
 8    animal.
    
 9    (b) Any person participating in the making of a report
10    pursuant to this Code section or participating in any
11    administrative or judicial proceeding pursuant to this
12    article or Title 16 shall, in so doing, be immune from any
13    civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be
14    incurred or imposed, provided such participation pursuant
15    to this Code section or any other law is made in good
16    faith."
    
17                          SECTION 11.
    
18  Said title is further amended by striking Code Section
19  4-13-10, relating to penalties, and inserting in lieu
20  thereof the following:
    
21    "4-13-10.
    
22    Any Except as otherwise provided in Code Section 16-12-4
23    or 16-12-37, any person, partnership, firm, corporation,
24    or other entity violating any of the provisions of this
25    chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor."
    
26                          SECTION 12.
    
27  Article 1 of Chapter 12 of Title 16 of the Official Code of
28  Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions relative
29  to offenses against public health and morals, is amended by
30  striking Code Section 16-12-4, relating to cruelty to
31  animals, which reads as follows:
    
32    "16-12-4.
    
33    (a) A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of cruelty to
34    animals in the second degree when his act, omission, or
35    neglect causes unjustifiable physical pain, suffering, or
36    death to any living animal.
    
37    (b) A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of cruelty to
38    animals in the first degree upon a second or subsequent
39    violation of subsection (a) of this Code section and, upon
40    conviction, may be punished by imprisonment not to exceed
41    12 months or a fine not to exceed $5,000.00 or both.
    
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 1    (c) This Code section does not apply to the killing of
 2    animals raised for the purpose of providing food nor does
 3    it apply to any person who hunts wild animals in
 4    compliance with the game and fish laws of this state.  The
 5    killing or injuring of an animal for humane purposes or in
 6    the furtherance of medical or scientific research is
 7    justifiable.",
    
 8  and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
    
 9    "16-12-4.
    
10    (a) As used in this Code section, the term:
    
11      (1) 'Animal' shall not include any fish nor shall such
12      term include any pest that might be exterminated or
13      removed from a business, residence, or other structure.
    
14      (2) 'Conviction' shall include pleas of guilty or nolo
15      contendere or probation as a first offender pursuant to
16      Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 and any conviction,
17      plea of guilty or nolo contendere, or probation as a
18      first offender for an offense under the laws of the
19      United States or any of the several states that would
20      constitute a violation of this Code section if committed
21      in this state.
    
22      (3) 'Willful neglect' means the intentional withholding
23      of food and water required by an animal to prevent
24      starvation or dehydration.
    
25    (b) A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals
26    when he or she causes death or unjustifiable physical pain
27    or suffering to any animal by an act, an omission, or
28    willful neglect.  Any person convicted of a violation of
29    this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor;
30    provided, however, that:
    
31      (1) Any person who is convicted of a second or
32      subsequent violation of this subsection shall be
33      punished by imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, a fine
34      not to exceed $5,000.00, or both; and
    
35      (2) Any person who is convicted of a second or
36      subsequent violation of this subsection which results in
37      the death of an animal shall be guilty of a misdemeanor
38      of a high and aggravated nature and shall be punished by
39      imprisonment for not less than three months nor more
40      than 12 months, a fine not to exceed $10,000.00, or
    
    
    
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 1      both, which punishment shall not be suspended, probated,
 2      or withheld.
    
 3    (c) A person commits the offense of aggravated cruelty to
 4    animals when he or she knowingly and maliciously causes
 5    death or physical harm to an animal by rendering a part of
 6    such animal's body useless or by seriously disfiguring
 7    such animal.  A person convicted of the offense of
 8    aggravated cruelty to animals shall be punished by
 9    imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five
10    years, a fine not to exceed $15,000.00, or both, provided
11    that any person who is convicted of a second or subsequent
12    violation of this subsection shall be punished by
13    imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five
14    years, a fine not to exceed the amount provided by Code
15    Section 17-10-8, or both.
    
16    (d) Before sentencing a defendant for any conviction under
17    this Code section, the sentencing judge may require
18    psychological evaluation of the offender and shall
19    consider the entire criminal record of the offender.
    
20    (e) The provisions of this Code section shall not be
21    construed as prohibiting conduct which is otherwise
22    permitted under the laws of this state or of the United
23    States, including, but not limited to, agricultural,
24    animal husbandry, butchering, food processing, marketing,
25    scientific, research, medical, zoological, exhibition,
26    competitive, hunting, trapping, fishing, wildlife
27    management, or pest control practices or the authorized
28    practice of veterinary medicine nor to limit in any way
29    the authority or duty of the Department of Agriculture,
30    Department of Natural Resources, any county board of
31    health, any law enforcement officer, dog, animal, or
32    rabies control officer, humane society, veterinarian, or
33    private landowner protecting his or her property.
    
34      (f)(1) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed
35      as prohibiting a person from:
    
36        (A) Defending his or her person or property, or the
37        person or property of another, from injury or damage
38        being caused by an animal; or
    
39        (B) Injuring or killing an animal reasonably believed
40        to constitute a threat for injury or damage to any
41        property, livestock, or poultry.
    
    
    
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 1      (2) The method used to injure or kill such animal shall
 2      be designed to be as humane as is possible under the
 3      circumstances.  A person who humanely injures or kills
 4      an animal under the circumstances indicated in this
 5      subsection shall incur no civil or criminal liability
 6      for such injury or death."
    
 7                          SECTION 13.
    
 8  This Act shall become effective upon the first day of the
 9  month following its approval by the Governor or upon its
10  becoming law without such approval.
    
11                          SECTION 14.
    
12  All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are
13  repealed.
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
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