In Louisiana, animals are protected from being mistreated. These crimes against animals are divided into two divisions, simple cruelty to an animal and aggravated cruelty to an animal. The difference in the two is the severity of the crime and the outcome to the animal in question. The penalties associated with each division of these laws are directly related to the divisions. Simply cruelty does not carry as stiff a penalty as aggravated cruelty.
Simple Cruelty to an Animal.
A person or persons can be charged with simple cruelty to animals if they knowingly overdrive, overload, drives when overloaded or overworks a living animal. Simply put, people who overwork an animal, load too many animals into a trailer and/or haul them, or overload them in a confined area can be found guilty of simply cruelty to an animal.
Simple cruelty to an animal also occurs when a person or persons beats, injures intentionally or torments any animal, whether it belongs to them or not.
People who are responsible for caring for an animal, whether they own it or not can also be charged with simple cruelty to an animal if they do not provide proper food, water, shelter and medical care for the animal.
Abandoning an animal is also considered simple cruelty, but if the person takes the animal to an animal control location, they will not be charged with abandoning that animal, especially if they pick one up that has already been abandoned by someone else and is running free.
Any person transporting an animal in a vehicle must do so so that the animal is not being transported in a cruel or inhumane way or they can be charged with simple cruelty.
Anyone who gives a domesticated animal a poisonous or noxious drug can be charged with simple cruelty to an animal.
Any person who injures an animal with out the permission of its owner, can face simple cruelty to an animal charges.
And finally, anyone who mistreats any living animal by an act or omission that is found to cause the animal unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death or allows others to do the same can be charged with simple cruelty to an animal.
The penalty for being found guilty of any of these simple cruelty acts to an animal will face being fined up to one thousand dollars and/or imprisoned for up to six months. Along with this punishment, the person found guilty will also be required to perform 40 hours of community service, which can not be suspended.
Aggravated Cruelty to an Animal.
For a person to be charged with aggravated cruelty to an animal, the person or persons must be charged with torturing, mutilating or maiming a living animal. This animal does not have to belong to the person being charged with this crime.
Any person who tampers with livestock at a public livestock exposition, commonly called a stock show, or at a private sale can be charged with aggravated cruelty to an animal.
Any person who gets someone to commit any of these crimes against animals can also be charged with aggravated cruelty to an animal.
Penalties for aggravated cruelty to an animal includes a fine ranging from five thousand to twenty-five thousand dollars and/or imprisonment of one to ten years. If the perpetrator is charged for more than one animal during the crime, the charge will be separate for each animal.