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
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.
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 -1- SB297/AP 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
AnyExcept 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 -2- SB297/AP 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 personsuch 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 whichthat 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 Secretary41 secretary of the United States Department of 42 Agriculture. 43 S. B. 297 -3- SB297/AP 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 -4- SB297/AP 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 -5- 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 -6- SB297/AP 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 -7- SB297/AP 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 -8- 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 hissuch person's supervision or 39 control to: 40 S. B. 297 -9- SB297/AP 1 (1) Commit a violation of Code Section 16-12-4, relating 2 to cruelty to animals , when such violation occurs on the3 premises of or is related to the operation of the pet4 dealership, animal shelter, kennel, or stable for which5 the license has been issued or any other such facility6 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 andhumane care for any 13 dog, cat, equine, or otheranimal at such facility; or 14 (5)(4) Fail to take reasonable care to release for sale, 15 trade, or adoption only those animals whichthat 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 courtscourt for an injunction or 28 restraining order. Such courts shall have jurisdiction29 andThe court shall for good cause shown shallgrant 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 -10- SB297/AP 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 entityviolating any of the 22 provisions of this article or any rule or regulation of23 the Commissioner adopted pursuant to this articleshall 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 -11- SB297/AP 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 AnyExcept 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. 42 S. B. 297 -12- SB297/AP 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 41 S. B. 297 -13- SB297/AP 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. 42 S. B. 297 -14- SB297/AP 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. 14 S. B. 297 -15-