Cruelty to Animals Definition

Cruelty to Animals - Aggravated Cruelty to Animals - Cruelty to a Service Animal - Restitution, C.R.S. 18-9-202

The Lawyer's Definition of Cruelty to Animals in Colorado is:

(1) (a) A person commits cruelty to animals if he or she knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence overdrives, overloads, overworks, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beats, allows to be housed in a manner that results in chronic or repeated serious physical harm, carries or confines in or upon any vehicles in a cruel or reckless manner, engages in a sexual act with an animal, or otherwise mistreats or neglects any animal, or causes or procures it to be done, or, having the charge or custody of any animal, fails to provide it with proper food, drink, or protection from the weather consistent with the species, breed, and type of animal involved, or abandons an animal.

(b) Any person who intentionally abandons a dog or cat commits the offense of cruelty to animals.

(1.5) (a) A person commits cruelty to animals if he or she recklessly or with criminal negligence tortures, needlessly mutilates, or needlessly kills an animal.

(b) A person commits aggravated cruelty to animals if he or she knowingly tortures, needlessly mutilates, or needlessly kills an animal.

(c) A person commits cruelty to a service animal if he or she violates the provisions of subsection (1) of this section with respect to a service animal as defined in section 18-1.3-602 (3.5), whether the service animal is on duty or not on duty.

(1.6) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) "Serious physical harm" means any of the following:

(I) Any physical harm that carries a substantial risk of death;

(II) Any physical harm that causes permanent maiming or that involves some temporary, substantial maiming; or

(III) Any physical harm that causes acute pain of a duration that results in substantial suffering.

(1.8) A peace officer having authority to act under this section may take possession of and impound an animal that the peace officer has probable cause to believe is a victim of a violation of subsection (1) or (1.5) of this section or is a victim of a violation of section 18-9-204 and as a result of the violation is endangered if it remains with the owner or custodian. If, in the opinion of a licensed veterinarian, an animal impounded pursuant to this subsection (1.8) is experiencing extreme pain or suffering, or is severely injured past recovery, severely disabled past recovery, or severely diseased past recovery, the animal may be euthanized without a court order.

(2) (a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection (2), cruelty to animals is a class 1 misdemeanor.

(a.5) (I) Repealed.

(II) In addition to any other sentence imposed for a violation of this section, the court may order an offender to complete an anger management treatment program or any other appropriate treatment program.

(III) The court shall order an evaluation to be conducted prior to sentencing to assist the court in determining an appropriate sentence. The person ordered to undergo an evaluation shall be required to pay the cost of the evaluation, unless the person qualifies for a public defender, then the cost will be paid by the judicial district. If the evaluation results in a recommendation of treatment and if the court so finds, the person shall be ordered to complete an anger management treatment program or any other treatment program that the court may deem appropriate.

(IV) Upon successful completion of an anger management treatment program or any other treatment program deemed appropriate by the court, the court may suspend any fine imposed, except for a five hundred dollar mandatory minimum fine which shall be imposed at the time of sentencing.

(V) In addition to any other sentence imposed upon a person for a violation of any criminal law under this title, any person convicted of a second or subsequent conviction for any crime, the underlying factual basis of which has been found by the court to include an act of cruelty to animals, shall be required to pay a mandatory minimum fine of one thousand dollars and shall be required to complete an anger management treatment program or any other appropriate treatment program.

(VI) Nothing in this paragraph (a.5) shall preclude the court from ordering treatment in any appropriate case.

(VII) This paragraph (a.5) does not apply to the treatment of pack or draft animals by negligently overdriving, overloading, or overworking them, or the treatment of livestock and other animals used in the farm or ranch production of food, fiber, or other agricultural products when such treatment is in accordance with accepted agricultural animal husbandry practices, the treatment of animals involved in activities regulated pursuant to article 60 of title 12, C.R.S., the treatment of animals involved in research if such research facility is operating under rules set forth by the state or federal government, the treatment of animals involved in rodeos, the treatment of dogs used for legal hunting activities, wildlife nuisances, or to statutes regulating activities concerning wildlife and predator control in the state, including trapping.

(b) (I) A second or subsequent conviction under the provisions of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section is a class 6 felony. A plea of nolo contendere accepted by the court shall be considered a conviction for the purposes of this section.

(II) In any case where the court sentences a person convicted of a class 6 felony under the provisions of this paragraph (b) to probation, the court shall, in addition to any other condition of probation imposed, order that:

(A) The offender, pursuant to section 18-1.3-202 (1), be committed to the county jail for ninety days; or

(B) The offender, pursuant to section 18-1.3-105 (3), be subject to home detention for no fewer than ninety days.

(III) In any case where an offender is committed to the county jail or placed in home detention pursuant to subparagraph (II) of this paragraph (b), the court shall enter judgment against the offender for all costs assessed pursuant to section 18-1.3-701, including, but not limited to, the cost of care.

(c) Aggravated cruelty to animals is a class 6 felony; except that a second or subsequent conviction for the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals is a class 5 felony. A plea of nolo contendere accepted by the court shall be considered a conviction for purposes of this section.

(d) If a person is convicted of cruelty to a service animal pursuant to paragraph (c) of subsection (1.5) of this section, he or she shall be ordered to make restitution to the agency or individual owning the animal for any veterinary bills and replacement costs of the animal if it is disabled or killed as a result of the cruelty to animals incident.

(2.5) It shall be an affirmative defense to a charge brought under this section involving injury or death to a dog that the dog was found running, worrying, or injuring sheep, cattle, or other livestock.

(3) Nothing in this part 2 modifies in any manner the authority of the parks and wildlife commission, as established in title 33, C.R.S., or prohibits any conduct authorized or permitted under title 33, C.R.S.

This is the definition courts and lawyers use in Denver County and across Colorado, when people are charged with this criminal offense.

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