Animal cruelty is a crime in El Paso County, Colorado that covers quite a bit of actions involving the harm of animals. Abandoning a pet, such as a dog or cat, can also lead to criminal charges in Colorado Springs, Fountain, and Manitou Springs. Jail time, fines, and courses are all potential ramifications of conviction for cruelty to animals in Colorado. Consulting an experienced animal cruelty attorney is essential if police have contacted you or charged you for cruelty to animals.
Colorado’s Cruelty to Animals Law
CRS 18-9-202 offers a complex description / definition of Colorado’s cruelty to animals law. Someone commits this offense in El Paso County if they:
- intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently,
- torture, overwork, torment, beat, or abandon an animal,
- or deprive them of necessary sustenance or shelter
Cruelty to animals is also often charged in scenarios where law enforcement believes you’ve recklessly carried or confined an animal in a vehicle. Driving on the interstate at 65+ mph with your dog freely roaming about the open bed of your truck could be considered a danger to the safety of the animal and others. The law surrounding animal cruelty in Colorado is particularly broad and complex, increasing the need for skilled legal assistance from a reputable defense attorney.
Can You Go to Jail for Cruelty to Animals in El Paso County?
An animal cruelty charge in Colorado Springs can range from a class 1 misdemeanor up to class 5 felony. Below is a brief outline of the potential consequences of conviction:
- 1st Cruelty to Animals offense = class 1 misdemeanor (6 – 18 months in county jail, $500 – $5,000 in fines, possible treatment program),
- 2nd Cruelty to Animals offense or 1st Aggravated Cruelty to Animals offense = class 6 felony (up to 18 months in the Colorado Department of Corrections, $1,000 – $100,000 in fines, treatment program),
- 2nd Aggravated Cruelty to Animals offense = class 5 felony (1 – 3 years in prison, up to $100,000 in fines, treatment program)
A strategic defense attorney can sometimes mitigate these consequences depending on facts of the case and prior criminal history.
El Paso County Animal Cruelty Attorney
There are defenses to cruelty to animals charges that may apply to your specific case. Sometimes genuine accidents happen involving animals. Innocent people shouldn’t face significant criminal penalties in these scenarios. Perhaps you didn’t cause any harm to the animal, the animal was sick or injured and your attempt at care caused further injury, or there was police misconduct. Nevertheless, contact our office for a free initial consultation. We will carefully analyze your animal cruelty case and suggest next steps, all while prioritizing the best possible outcome.
If you or someone you know is facing animal cruelty charges in Colorado, be smart. Contact the strategic defense lawyers at O’Malley and Sawyer, LLC at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.
Photo by Tadeusz Lakota