ANIMAL LEGISLATION


National Legislation:

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Animal Cruelty

Egregious acts of cruelty to an animal:

  • is a felony in all 50 states.

 

Dog Fighting

Dog Fighting:

  • is illegal in all 50 states.
  • is a felony offense in all 50 states.

Possession of dogs for fighting purposes:

  • is illegal in all 50 states.
  • is a felony in 45 states.  (It is a misdemeanor in Texas and West Virginia. It is a crime in Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.)

Being a spectator at a dogfight:

  • is illegal in 49 states.  (It is legal in Montana.)
  • is a federal misdemeanor.
  • is a felony in 28 states.  (It is a misdemeanor in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. It is a crime in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.)

Interstate Transportation of dogs for fighting purposes:

  • prohibited in all 50 states by the federal Animal Welfare Act.

Bringing a minor under the age of 16 to a dogfight:

  • is a federal felony.

 

Cockfighting

Cockfighting:

  • is illegal in all 50 states.
  • is a felony in 41 states. (It is a misdemeanor in Alabama, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.)

Possession of cocks for fighting:

  • is illegal in 38 states.  (It is legal in Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.)
  • is a felony in 33 states.  (It is a misdemeanor in California, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.)

Being a spectator at a cockfight:

  • is illegal in 43 states.  (It is legal in Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana and New Mexico.)
  • is a felony in 20 states, including Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.  (It is a misdemeanor in the other 23 states.)

Possession of Implements:

  • is illegal in 20 states, including California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
  • is a felony in 9 states, including Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia.
  • is a misdemeanor in 10 states, including California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio and Texas.)

Interstate transportation or export of birds for cockfighting purposes:

  • is a felony in all 50 states.

Bringing a minor under the age of 16 to a cockfight:

  • is a federal felony.

 

Companion Animals

Inhumane chaining of dogs:

  • limits are placed in 19 states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Loisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

Inspection of puppy mills:

  • is required by 22 states.
  • is not a requirement in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Lousiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.

Basic humane standards for dogs at puppy mills:

  • are included by 30 states.
  • are not included in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
 

 

INTERNET HUNTING

Internet hunting involves someone signing up on a website for the opportunity to kill an animal located at a remote location using internet technology.  The website customer pays a fee and selects the type of animal he wishes to kill.  Exotic animals are kept at game ranches, and when an animal is selected it is then lured to a penned in feeding station within range of a weapon mounted on a mechanized tripod.  Using their computer mouse, the customer can aim and fire the rifle at close range when the animal approaches the food.  If the shot misses, guides at the game ranch will finish the job.  Trophy mounts are prepared at the ranch and then shipped to the customer.

  • Internet hunting is banned in 39 states.
  • It is allowed in Arizona, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Washington.)
 

 

Captive Hunting/Canned Hunts

Captive hunting or canned hunts are private trophy hunting ranches that offer paying customers an opportunity to hunt animals trapped within fenced enclosures.  Most of the exotic and native animals come from breeders, animal dealers, zoos or circuses.   Many of the animals have been hand raised and bottle fed, and have therefore lost their natural fear of humans.  The HSUS estimates there are approximately 1,000 captive hunting operations in about 24 states; approximately 500 of these are in Texas.

  • Captive hunting is fully or partially banned in 28 states. 
  • It is still allowed in Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia.

 

Fox Penning

A “sport” in which participants wager on their dog’s ability to catch a fox or coyote trapped in a fenced-in area. Dozens of dogs compete to chase down the animal, often tearing it apart once it does.

  • It is prohibited in 28 states.
  • It is still allowed in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennesee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

 

Wildlife

Illegally hunting an endangered species:

  • is a felony in 8 states, including Florida, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Utah and Washington.

 

Exotic Pets

Private posession of a big cat as a pet:

  • is illegal in 32 states.
  • is still allowed in Alabama, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Private posession of a bear as a pet:

  • is illegal in 33 states.
  • is still allowed in Alabama, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Private posession of primates as pets:

  • is illegal in 26 states.
  • is still allowed in Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

 

Farm Animals

Use of battery cages for chickens:

  • are banned in 6 states, including California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon and Washington. 

Use of gestation crates for breeding sows:

  • are banned in 10 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon and Rhode Island.

Use of veal crates for calves:

  • Is only banned in 9 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio and Rhode Island have passed legislation banning veal crates.

Force Feeding Geese:

  • California is the only state in the U.S. to ban the practice of force-feeding birds and the sale of foie gras made from force-fed birds. 

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATION

Animal Cruelty

  • Is a felony offense in California, applicable to all animals.  The felony can apply on the first conviction.  The maximum fine is up to $20,000, with 1 to 3 years of jail time.  Psychological counseling is mandatory.

 

Assistance Dogs

  • Anyone who fraudulently represents themselves to be the owner or trainer of any canine licensed as an assistance dog, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. (CA Penal Code section 365.7)
  • Every individual with a disability has the right to be accompanied by a guide dog, signal dog, or service dog, especially trained for the purpose, in the following places without being required to pay an extra charge or security deposit for the guide dog, signal dog, or service dog: public accommodation, transportation, housing accommodations, places of employment

 

Chaining and Tethering

  • In 2007 California became first state in the nation to pass a law to limit the chaining and tethering of dogs. SB 1578, otherwise known as the tethering law, makes it illegal to tether, fasten, chain, tie or restrain a dog to a doghouse, tree fence or any other stationary object for more than three hours in a 24-hour period. This law works in conjunction with California Penal Code section 597t which states that confined animals must have access to food, water and shelter. Violation of the new law could result in an infraction or misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 per dog and/or six months in county jail.
  • There are some exceptions to the new California law that allow for a dog’s leash to be attached to a pulley line or a trolley run which allows a dog to move in a larger area, as long as the dog is not tethered by means of a choke collar or pinch collar. Dogs may also be tethered on campgrounds or in recreational areas, or in instances where short-term tethering is necessary for the completion of a temporary task that requires the dog to be restrained.

 

Farm Animal Confinement -  Proposition 2

  • This measure ends the practice of confining veal calves, egg laying hens, and breeding pigs in crates and cages too small for the animals to be able to properly move.

 Spay/Neuter:

Since 2008 Los Angeles requires all cats and dogs in the City to be spayed or neutered after the age of four months, with some specific exemptions allowed.  Violations are subject to three levels of increasing fines, starting at $100, to urge compliance.  Upon the second violation, animals are subject to mandatory sterilization. After the third violation, non-compliance is a misdemeanor.

  • Exceptions are permitted if the animal:
  1. is a breed approved by and registered with a registry or association approved by the Animal Services Commission, and does or will actively show or compete.   
  2. has earned or is in the process of earning a special title (i.e. agility, herding).
  3. is used as or in training to be a guide, signal, or service dog.
  4. is a dog trained, or in training, for use in law enforcement, military or rescue activities.
  5. has a letter from a licensed veterinarian certifying that the animal should be    temporarily or permanently deferred due to age or health.  
  6. has a valid breeding permit issued to the owner pursuant to existing City ordinance.

 

Licensing:

  • Dogs and horses (any equine) are required to be licensed in the City of Los Angeles.
  • Cats are not required to be licensed.

 

Animal Abuse and Cruelty:

Abusing or failing to properly care for any animal is against the law and is punishable with fines and possible jail time.  This includes participation in dog and cock fighting.  LA Animal Services is constantly on the lookout for evidence of abuse, and the Animal Cruelty Task Force works with the City Attorney and District Attorney to investigate and prosecute abuse and cruelty cases.  Various State and local laws.

 

Animals Left in Cars:

You may not leave an animal in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions (such as heat, cold, lack of ventilation or water) that endanger the health of the animal or may be expected to cause suffering or death.  State Penal Code 597.7.

 

Barking Dogs

You cannot allow your dog to bother your neighbors with excessive barking.  Failure to control barking that unreasonably interferes with your neighbors could lead to the imposition of strict conditions by LA Animal Services, or eventually you could lose your dog and lose the right to own a dog for one year.  LAMC Section 53.63. If you are experiencing a problem with a barking dog, you must submit a written complaint to the Animal Shelter serving your area. See the LA Animal Services website for details.

 

Breeding

No person shall allow any owned dog or cat kept within the City of Los Angeles to breed without first obtaining a breeding permit. Each breeding permit shall be valid for one year from the date of issuance. The animal must be microchipped as well. The owner of an unaltered female dog or cat shall not allow the whelping of more than one litter in any household within the permit year. Offspring may not be sold or transferred until at least 8 weeks of age, and until immunized against disease. See LA Animal Services for more details. LAMC Section 53.15.

 

Chaining or Tethering Laws

Dog owners who tie up their animals for long periods of time or deny them the proper level of water and shade face stiff financial penalties.  State law specifically sets a limit:  dogs may only be tied, chained, or otherwise restrained to a stationary object because of special conditions, such as construction, outdoor party, or to complete some other short-term task. Under State law, violations could result in an infraction or misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $1,000 per dog and/or six months in jail.  LAMC Section 53.70.

 

Dangerous Dogs

It is illegal to allow your dog to assault, menace or threaten another person or animal.  Failure to control your dog could result in losing your dog and your right to own a dog for three years. LAMC Section 53.33 and/or 53.34.    

 

Dog Poop

Dog owners are required to clean up after their dogs when taking them out in public.  Failure to do so could lead to stiff fines.  LAMC Section 53.49.

 

Leash Law

If you take or allow your dog off your property or place of residence, you must have him or her on a leash.  Failure to do so could result in a stiff fine.  There are a number of dog parks in the City where it is legal to let your dog off-leash, but no beaches at present.  LAMC Section 53.06.

 

Micro-chip

As part of the new law requiring spay or neuter of dogs and cats, any dog or cat that is exempt from the requirement and remains intact must be micro-chipped.  LAMC Section 53.15.2.

 

No Feeding Urban Wildlife

You may not feed “non-domesticated mammalian predators” (for example, coyotes, foxes, possums, raccoons and skunks).  Violating this law is a misdemeanor and can subject you to fines.  LAMC Section 53.06.05, along with State law.

 

Selling Animals

There are laws restricting the selling of animals within the City of Los Angeles on all streets, sidewalks, and other public places. Selling animals usually requires obtaining a Business Tax Registration Certificate (BTRC) from the City of Los Angeles. Pet shops and kennels must also obtain permits for public sales from LA Animal Services.    LAMC Section 53.42, and other LAMC sections.

 

CITY OF
LOS ANGELES