The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is dedicated to pursuing justice for animals through our nation's legal system. Last week ALDF released a list of the top five animal-related crimes prosecuted in the US.
Though details of the laws vary from state to state, animal cruelty is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and these crimes can include felony charges.
The most commonly prosecuted crimes are:
The failure to provide basic care required for an animal to thrive, leading to suffering that results in permanent injury or death. Most commonly dogs and cats, followed by horses. Hoarding, puppy mills, and livestock neglect fall into this category.
2. Affirmative acts of abuse.
Intentionally injuring or killing an animal. Includes beating, poisoning, torture, and setting animals on fire. Affirmative acts of abuse also include cases of domestic violence, when abusing animals is part of the offender's system of maintaining power and control over the human victim.
3. Animal fighting.
A contest in which people cause two animals to fight for the purpose of human entertainment. The most common forms in the US are dogfighting and cockfighting. Animal fighting is regularly accompanied by other crimes, including gambling, money laundering, weapons offenses, and conspiracy.