PC 597 – California Animal Abuse and Cruelty Laws

PC 597 - California Animal Abuse and Cruelty Laws

California Animal Abuse and Cruelty Laws – Table of Contents

PC 597 – Overview

What is Animal Abuse and Cruelty as defined under California Penal Code 597?

Any person who maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, kills, beats, or wounds a living animal (basic acts of cruelty); or in the course utilizing an animal for employment causes animal to be overworked by it bring overloaded, or to be over worked, including the deprivation of the sustenance of drink, nutrition and shelter from the seasons or weather conditions (basic acts of cruelty against working animals under working conditions).

PC 597 – Prosecuting

What animals are described and protected as described under California Penal Code 597?

Any animals are subject to the protections involved under the Statute. But so are endangered species but if so, to a higher degree of prosecution.

Endangered Species: or any native species or subspecies of bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, reptile, or plant which is in danger of becoming extinct though any causes that result in a loss of habitat, overexploitation, predation, competition, or disease. Any protected birds: or those in reference to the American Peregrine Falcon, The Brown Pelican, The California Black Rail, The California Clapper Rail, The California Condor, the California Least Tern, The Golden Eagle, The Greater Sandhill Crane, The Light- Footed Clapper Rail, The Southern Bald Eagle, The Trumpeter Swan, The White-tailed Kite, The Yuma Clapper Tail.

Also the following protected mammals requiring a permit such as: The Morro Bay Kangaroo Rat, Bighorn Sheep, Norther Elephant Seal, Guadalupe Fur Seal, Ring-Tailed Cat, Pacific Right Whale, the Salt- Marsh Harvest Mouse, The Southern Sea Otter, The Wolverine. Any of the following protected reptiles: or those in reference to the Blunt-nose leopard Lizard, The San Francisco Garter Snake, The Santa Cruz Long-Toed Salamander, The Limestone Salamander, The Black Toad.

PC 597 – Sentencing

What are the penalties for a violation of California Penal Code 597?

A violation of California Penal Code 597 against any general category animal can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. As a misdemeanor a conviction can warrant confinement not exceeding 1 year in jail with fines not exceeding $20,000. Regarding all mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, or fish on each occasion of cruelty when referring to the conduct occurring on the same date is acquired as one count. As a felony, the same is act to conduct charging is assumed, but a conviction can warrant confinement ranges of 16, months, 2, 3 years in State Prison with fines not exceeding $20,000.

When referring to endangered species the sentencing structure is different. For each endangered species it is mandated by law that each basic act of cruelty or each basic act of cruelty against working animals under working conditions warrants one felony count that is subject to confinement ranges of 16 months, 2, 3 years in State Prison, no matter if it occurred on the same date.

All violations against broad categories of animals and endangered species warrant a forfeiture proceeding of all real and personal property utilized to aid in the violations described in the charging documents. Including the forfeiture proceedings of all animals both general category and endangered that were not subject to any violations.

What are examples of violations of Penal Code 597?

  1. Davita was the business owner of a small petting zoo which was posted on Craigslist concerning petting parties. She offered children the opportunity to engage with animals up close. She catered to adolescents who were child enthusiasts and as a result provided children the chance to engage with endangered species. She hired part-time zookeepers to tend to the animals and make sure they were fed and rested. Bo was recently hired to care for the premium show. That show featured: the Brown Pelican, the California Black Rail, and the California Clapper Rail. Davita hired several temp workers, but Javier was the only one who showed consistent competencies. And as a result he was placed as the brand ambassador for the premium show. Before the show Javier was in the process of setting up the displays and removed the caged birds from the RV displaying the signage of Davita’s company. One of the birds that was in the cages pecked at his finger causing a gash. But this injury could have been prevented had Javier worn his wire gloves as supplied in his training by Davita. Javier got angry and threw the cage with the bird in it across the floor causing the bird to sustain a broken wing. The other birds started to panic and tweet uncontrollably. Javier, still angry, started spraying them with a water hose. Several patrons who witnessed Javier’s treatment of the birds called the police and the department of wildlife services. The police came and asked Javier for the permits to operate the animals. Once the permits were inspected and it became known that the birds being abused were an endangered species. Javier was arrested. Davita was also later arrested and charged with animal cruelty to an endangered species.
  2. Nate was a farmer’s kid. He was and will always be. To him cats and dogs are wasted fur. Nate was walking home from school. On his way home he saw two Labrador puppies resting on the house doorstep. He had nothing to do so he picked up two rocks and threw them at the two puppies cause one of them to yelp. One of the neighbors witnessed the whole act and followed Nate home and called the police. After an investigation, the police arrested Nate, and sent him to a juvenile detention facility.

PC 597 – Defending

What are some of the defenses for a violation of Penal Code 597?

  1. Lack of Identity.
  2. Self Defense.
  3. Diminished Capacity.
  4. Duress.
  5. Necessity.

PC 597 – Hire a Lawyer

If you or your loved one is charged with a violation of Penal Code 597 PC call The Esfandi Law Group, APLC. Contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Seppi Esfandi, principal attorney of The Esfandi Law Group.

Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529

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Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

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We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

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  10. Early Intervention is the key

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