University of Vermont AAHS

California Cruelty to Animals Statutes


CALIFORNIA CODES
CIVIL CODE
DIVISION 4. GENERAL PROVISIONS
PART 3. NUISANCE
TITLE 4. MOTION PICTURES


3504. Definitions

As used in this title:
(a) "Animal" means any amphibian, bird, mammal or reptile. It does not include any fish or insect.

(b) "Motion picture" means any motion picture, regardless of length or content, which is exhibited in a motion picture theater to paying customers, or is exhibited on television to paying customers or under the sponsorship of a paying advertiser. It shall not include motion pictures made for scientific, research, or educational purposes, or motion pictures exhibited as home movies, or amateur films, which are shown free or at cost to friends, neighbors or civic groups.

(c) "Person" means individuals, corporations, associations, partnerships, limited liability companies, trustees, lessees, agents and assignees.


3505. Exhibition of intentional killing or cruelty; nuisance

(a) The exhibition of any motion picture, if any intentional killing of, or cruelty to, a human being or an animal is shown in the motion picture and such intentional killing of, or cruelty to, a human being or an animal actually occurred in the production of the motion picture for the purpose of such production, is a nuisance, which shall be enjoined, abated, and prevented.

(b) As used in this section, "killing" and "cruelty" mean conduct which both (1) results in the death or the infliction of any physical injury or wound, including, but not limited to, any temporary or permanent physical harm resulting from the administration of any drug or chemical, and (2) is patently offensive to the average person, applying contemporary statewide community standards. It does not include conduct committed against a human being to which the human being has given his or her consent. In determining whether conduct is patently offensive, the trier of fact may consider any or all of the following: (i) the degree or extent of the physical injury inflicted, (ii) the manner in which the injury is inflicted, (iii) the extent to which the injuring or wounding or acts resulting therein are depicted on the screen, (iv) the number of instances of infliction of injury, wound or harm occurring in the making of the motion picture, and (v) whether such conduct is lawful or unlawful under any provision of law other than this title.

(c) For the purposes of this section, it shall not be a requirement that the entire motion picture and all of the conduct resulting therein be taken into account in determining whether a nuisance exists, and to this end, the Legislature finds and declares that any specific conduct which intentionally results in the killing of, or cruelty to, an animal or a human being in the making of a motion picture is unnecessary and is a nuisance, and that if a motion picture cannot be completed in the absence of such conduct, it is, therefore, a nuisance in its entirety.


3506. Commencement of actions; proper showing

Whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that a nuisance as defined in this title is kept, maintained or is in existence in any county, the district attorney or the Attorney General, in the name of the people of the State of California, shall, on a proper showing, commence an action in equity to abate and prevent the nuisance and to perpetually enjoin the person conducting or maintaining it, and the owner, lessee or agent of the building, or place, in or upon which the nuisance exists, from maintaining or permitting it. As used herein, a proper showing to commence an action under this title must be based upon evidence independent of the motion picture itself that intentional killing of, or cruelty to, a human being or an animal actually occurred in the production of the motion picture for the purpose of such production.


3508. Application of title; exceptions; federal supremacy

(a) This title shall not apply to any of the following:

(1) The exhibition of any motion picture, such as a newsreel or documentary, involving acts of killing or cruelty which were not intentionally committed for the purpose of producing the motion picture.

(2) Any motion picture made, in whole or in part, prior to January 1, 1979.

(3) Any motion picture all or part of which has been edited or remade so that any previous conduct which constituted a nuisance under this title no longer appears.

(4) The taking of any animal as permitted by any provision of the Fish and Game Code or pursuant thereto in accordance with regulations adopted by the Fish and Game Commission unless the time, place, or manner of such taking violates any provision of law except this title. This title shall apply to any other animal whether or not the time, place, or manner of the taking is prohibited by any laws other than this title, however, this title shall not apply to the taking of any animal authorized by law in any other jurisdiction unless the time, place or manner of such taking is prohibited by law or regulation.

(5) A motion picture which includes scenes of killing or cruelty to animals if the acts constituting the killing or cruelty were authorized by the laws governing such acts in the jurisdiction where the scenes were filmed.

(6) Any motion picture which bears within its contents a statement from the producer of the motion picture that all scenes depicting animals were filmed without the intentional killing of, or cruelty to an animal or that any killing or cruelty to an animal was authorized by the laws of the jurisdiction where the scenes were filmed or that the film is otherwise exempt under this title.

(7) Any motion picture if the exhibitor thereof has a written signed statement, or a copy thereof, from the producer of the motion picture that all scenes depicting animals were filmed without the intentional killing of, or cruelty to an animal or that any killing or cruelty to an animal was authorized by the laws of the jurisdiction where the scenes were filmed or that the film is otherwise exempt under this title.

(b) This title shall not apply in any case in which it would conflict with federal supremacy in the field of television broadcasting.


1208.5. Satisfaction of liens for acts in prevention of cruelty to animals; action; sale; notice; proceeds

Any person having a lien upon any animal or animals under the provisions of Section 597a or 597f of the Penal Code may satisfy such lien as follows: If such lien is not discharged and satisfied, by the person responsible, within three days after the obligation becomes due, then the person holding such lien may resort to the proper court to satisfy the claim; or he, three days after the charges against the property become due, may sell the property, or an undivided fraction thereof as may become necessary, to defray the amount due and costs of sale, by giving three days' notice of the sale by advertising in some newspaper published in the county, or city and county, in which the lien has attached to the property; or, if there is no paper published in the county, then by posting notices of the sale in three of the most public places in the town or judicial district for three days previous to the sale. The notices shall contain an accurate description of the property to be sold, together with the terms of sale, which must be for cash, payable on the consummation of the sale. The proceeds of the sale shall be applied to the discharge of the lien and the costs of sale; the remainder, if any, shall be paid over to the owner, if known, and if not known shall be paid into the treasury of the humane society of the county, or city and county, wherein the sale takes place; if no humane society exists in the county, then the remainder shall be paid into the county treasury.

CORPORATIONS CODE
TITLE 1. CORPORATIONS
DIVISION 3. NONPROFIT CORPORATION LAW
PART 11.  SOCIETIES FOR PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO CHILDREN AND ANIMALS


14500. Preexisting corporations; application of title


This title extends to all corporations heretofore formed and existing for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, but do not extend or apply to any association, society, or corporation that uses or specifies a name or style of the same, or substantially the same, as that of any previously existing society or corporation in this state organized for a like purpose.


14501. Societies for prevention of cruelty; compensation

Every society, incorporated and organized for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or for the prevention of cruelty to children, may, in each city, or city and county, or county, where the society exists, while actively engaged in enforcing the provisions of laws of this state, now or hereafter enacted, for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or children, or arresting, or prosecuting offenders thereunder or preventing cruelty to animals or children, be paid as compensation therefor, from the city or county, or city and county general fund, by the board of supervisors or other governing body thereof, a sum not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) per calendar month, in the same manner as other claims against said city or county, or city and county, are paid.


14502. Humane officers; appointment; qualifications; records; term; revocation of appointment; training course attendance; authority; arrests; misrepresentation; offenses

(a)(1)(A)(i) On and after July 1, 1996, no entity, other than a humane society or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, shall be eligible to apply for an appointment of any individual as a level 1 or level 2 humane officer, the duty of which shall be the enforcement of the laws for the prevention of cruelty to animals.
(ii) On and after July 1, 1996, only a person who meets the requirements of this section may be appointed as, or perform the duties of, a humane officer.
(iii) Any person appointed as a humane officer prior to July 1, 1996, may continue to serve as a humane officer until the expiration of the term of appointment only if the appointing agency maintains records pursuant to subparagraph (C) documenting that both the appointing agency and the humane officer meet the requirements of this section.
(B) Each humane society or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals that makes application to the court for the appointment of an individual to act as a level 1 or level 2 humane officer for the humane society or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shall provide with the application documentation that demonstrates that the person has satisfactorily completed the training requirements set forth in subdivision (i).
(C) Each humane society or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals for which an individual is acting as a level 1 or level 2 humane officer shall maintain complete and accurate records documenting that the individual has successfully completed all requirements established in this section and shall make those records available, upon request, to the superior court, the Attorney General, or any entity duly authorized to review that information, including the State Humane Association of California. The records shall include the full name and address of each level 1 or level 2 humane officer.
(2) Any corporation incorporated for the purpose of the prevention of cruelty to animals that possesses insurance of at least one million dollars ($1,000,000) for liability for bodily injury or property damage may, six months after the date of its incorporation and by resolution of its board of directors or trustees duly entered on its minutes, appoint any number of persons, who shall be citizens of the State of California, as humane officers, provided that the individuals to be appointed have met the training guidelines set forth in subdivision (i).
(3) Each appointment of a humane officer shall be by separate resolution. The resolution shall state the full name and address of the appointing agency, the full name of the person so appointed, and the fact that he or she is a citizen of the State of California, and shall also designate the number of the badge to be allotted to the officer.

(b) The humane society or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shall recommend any appointee to the judge of the superior court in and for the county or city and county in which the humane society is incorporated, and shall deliver to the judge a copy of the resolution appointing the person, duly certified to be correct by the president and secretary of the corporation and attested by its seal, together with the fingerprints of the appointee taken on standard 8x8-inch cards, proof of the society's proper incorporation in compliance with Part 9 (commencing with Section 10400) of Division 2, a copy of the society's liability for bodily injury or property damage insurance policy in the amount of at least one million dollars ($1,000,000), and documentation establishing that the appointee has satisfactorily completed the training requirements set forth in this section.

(c) The judge shall send a copy of the resolution, together with the fingerprints of the appointee, to the Department of Justice, which shall thereupon submit to the judge, in writing, a report of the record in its possession, if any, of the appointee. If the Department of Justice has no record of the appointee, it shall so report to the judge in writing.

(d) Upon receipt of the report the judge shall review the matter of the appointee's qualifications and fitness to act as a humane officer and, if he or she reaffirms the appointment, shall so state on a court order confirming the appointment. The appointee shall thereupon file a certified copy of the reviewed court order in the office of the county clerk of the county or city and county and shall, at the same time, take and subscribe the oath of office prescribed for constables or other peace officers.

(e) The county clerk shall thereupon immediately enter in a book to be kept in his or her office and designated "Record of Humane Officers" the name of the officer, the name of the agency appointing him or her, the number of his or her badge, the name of the judge appointing him or her, and the date of the filing. At the time of the filing the county clerk shall collect from the officer a fee of five dollars ($5), which shall be in full for all services to be performed by the county clerk under this section.

(f) All appointments of humane officers shall automatically expire if the society disbands or legally dissolves. In addition, all appointments of humane officers shall automatically expire within three years from the date on which the certified copy of the court order was filed with the county clerk. Officers whose appointments are about to expire may only be reappointed after satisfactorily completing the continuing education and training set forth in this section.

(g)(1) The corporation appointing an officer may revoke an appointment at any time by filing in the office of the county clerk in which the appointment of the officer is recorded a copy of the revocation in writing under the letterhead of the corporation and duly certified by its executive officer. Upon the filing the county clerk shall enter the fact of the revocation and the date of the filing thereof opposite the name of the officer in the record of humane officers.(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a revocation hearing may be initiated by petition from any duly authorized sheriff or local police agency or the State Humane Association of California. The petition shall show cause why an appointment should be revoked and shall be made to the superior court in the jurisdiction of the appointment.

(h) The corporation or local humane society appointing the humane officer shall pay the training expenses of the humane officer attending the training required pursuant to this section.
(i)(1)(A) A level 1 humane officer is not a peace officer, but may exercise the powers of a peace officer at all places within the state in order to prevent the perpetration of any act of cruelty upon any animal and to that end may summon to his or her aid any bystander. A level 1 humane officer may use reasonable force necessary to prevent the perpetration of any act of cruelty upon any animal.
(B) A level 1 humane officer may make arrests for the violation of any penal law of this state relating to or affecting animals in the same manner as any peace officer and may also serve search warrants.
(C) A level 1 humane officer is authorized to carry firearms while exercising the duties of a humane officer, upon satisfactory completion of the training specified in subparagraph (D) and the basic training for a level 1 reserve officer by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training pursuant to Section 13510.1 of the Penal Code.
(D) A level 1 humane officer shall, prior to appointment, provide evidence satisfactory to the appointing agency that he or she has successfully completed courses of training in the following subjects:
(i) At least 20 hours of a course of training in animal care sponsored or provided by an accredited postsecondary institution or any other provider approved by the California Veterinary Medical Association, the focus of which shall be the identification of disease, injury, and neglect in domestic animals and livestock.
(ii) At least 40 hours of a course of training in the state humane laws relating to the powers and duties of a humane officer, sponsored or provided by an accredited postsecondary institution, law enforcement agency, or the State Humane Association of California.
(E) A person may not be appointed as a level 1 humane officer until he or she has satisfied the requirements in Sections 1029, 1030, and 1031 of the Government Code. A humane society or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shall complete a background investigation, using standards defined by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training as guidelines for all level 1 humane officer appointments.
(F) In order to be eligible for reappointment, a level 1 humane officer shall complete ongoing weapons training and range qualifications at least every six months pursuant to subdivision (s) of Section 830.3 of the Penal Code and shall, every three years, complete 40 hours of continuing education and training relating to the powers and duties of a humane officer, which education and training shall be provided by an accredited postsecondary institution, law enforcement agency, or the State Humane Association of California.
(G)(i) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a level 1 humane officer may carry firearms only if authorized by, and only under the terms and conditions specified by, his or her appointing agency.
(ii) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a level 1 humane officer shall not be authorized to carry firearms unless and until his or her appointing agency has adopted a policy on the use of deadly force by its officers and the officer has been instructed in that policy.
(2)(A) A level 2 humane officer is not a peace officer, but may exercise the powers of a peace officer at all places within the state in order to prevent the perpetration of any act of cruelty upon any animal and to that end may summon to his or her aid any bystander. A level 2 humane officer may use reasonable force necessary to prevent the perpetration of any act of cruelty upon any animal.
(B) A level 2 humane officer may make arrests for the violation of any penal law of this state relating to or affecting animals in the same manner as any peace officer and may serve search warrants during the course and within the scope of employment, upon the successful completion of a course relating to the exercise of the police powers specified in Section 832 of the Penal Code, except the power to carry and use firearms.
(C) A level 2 humane officer is not authorized to carry firearms.
(D) A level 2 humane officer shall, prior to appointment, provide evidence satisfactory to the appointing agency that he or she has successfully completed courses of training in the following subjects:
(i) At least 20 hours of a course of training in animal care sponsored or provided by an accredited postsecondary institution or any other provider approved by the California Veterinary Medical Association, the focus of which is the identification of disease, injury, and neglect in domestic animals and livestock.
(ii) At least 40 hours of a course of training in the state humane laws relating to the powers and duties of a humane officer, sponsored or provided by an accredited postsecondary institution, law enforcement agency, or the State Humane Association of California.
(E) In order to be eligible for reappointment, a level 2 humane officer shall, every three years, complete 40 hours of continuing education and training relating to the powers and duties of a humane officer, which education and training shall be provided by an accredited postsecondary institution, law enforcement agency, or the State Humane Association of California.

(j) Every humane officer shall, when making an arrest, exhibit and expose a suitable badge to be adopted by the corporation under this title of which he or she is a member which shall bear its name and a number. Uniforms worn by humane officers shall prominently display the name of the appointing agency. Humane officer uniforms shall not display the words "state" or "California," unless part of the appointing agency's incorporated name.

(k) Any person resisting a humane officer in the performance of his or her duty as provided in this section, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Any person who has not been appointed and qualified as a humane officer as provided in this section, or whose appointment has been revoked as provided in this section, or whose appointment, having expired, has not been renewed as provided in this section, who shall represent himself or herself to be or shall attempt to act as an officer shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(l) No humane officer shall serve a search warrant without providing prior notice to local law enforcement agencies operating within that jurisdiction.

(m) Any humane society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or person, who knowingly provides a court with false or forged documentation for the appointment of a humane officer, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

(n) A humane society or a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shall notify the sheriff of the county in which the society is incorporated, prior to appointing a humane officer, of the society's intent to enforce laws for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Humane societies or societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals incorporated and enforcing animal cruelty laws prior to January 1, 1996, that intend to continue to enforce those laws, shall notify the sheriff of the county in which the society is incorporated by March 1, 1996.

(o) Except as otherwise provided by this section, a humane officer shall serve only in the county in which he or she is appointed. A humane officer may serve temporarily in a county other than that in which he or she is appointed if the humane officer gives notice requesting consent to the sheriff of the county in which he or she intends to serve, and acquires consent from the sheriff of the county in which he or she intends to serve, or from a person authorized by the sheriff to give that consent. A sheriff shall promptly respond to any request by a humane officer to serve in his or her jurisdiction and any request shall not be unreasonably denied.


14503. Employees of public pounds and humane officers; issuance of notices to appear in court for violations of animal control laws

The governing body of a local agency, by ordinance, may authorize employees of public pounds, societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, and humane societies, who have qualified as humane officers pursuant to Section 14502, and which societies or pounds have contracted with such local agency to provide animal care or protection services, to issue notices to appear in court pursuant to Chapter 5c (commencing with Section 853.5) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Penal Code for violations of state or local animal control laws. Those employees shall not be authorized to take any person into custody even though the person to whom the notice is delivered does not give his or her written promise to appear in court. The authority of these employees is to be limited to the jurisdiction of the local agency authorizing the employees.

 

FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL CODE
DIVISION 9. ANIMALS GENERALLY
PART 3. SLAUGHTERED ANIMALS
CHAPTER 5. HORSEMEAT AND PET FOOD
ARTICLE 8. GENERAL PROVISIONS


19348.5. Transportation of live horses; food and water; penalty

Every person who transports a live horse or horses to a slaughterhouse subject to licensing under this chapter shall provide such horse or horses with adequate food and water. A violation of this section shall constitute cruelty to an animal within the meaning of Section 597a of the Penal Code.

 

PENAL CODE
PART 1. OF CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS
TITLE 14. MALICIOUS MISCHIEF


597. Cruelty to animals

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (c) of this section or Section 599c, every person who maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a living animal, or maliciously and intentionally kills an animal, is guilty of an offense punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, or by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, or, alternatively, by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (a) or (c), every person who overdrives, overloads, drives when overloaded, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, cruelly beats, mutilates, or cruelly kills any animal, or causes or procures any animal to be so overdriven, overloaded, driven when overloaded, overworked, tortured, tormented, deprived of necessary sustenance, drink, shelter, or to be cruelly beaten, mutilated, or cruelly killed; and whoever, having the charge or custody of any animal, either as owner or otherwise, subjects any animal to needless suffering, or inflicts unnecessary cruelty upon the animal, or in any manner abuses any animal, or fails to provide the animal with proper food, drink, or shelter or protection from the weather, or who drives, rides, or otherwise uses the animal when unfit for labor, is, for every such offense, guilty of a crime punishable as a misdemeanor or as a felony or alternatively punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony and by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000).

(c) Every person who maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, or tortures any mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, or fish as described in subdivision (d), is guilty of an offense punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, or by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, or, alternatively, by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.

(d) Subdivision (c) applies to any mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, or fish which is a creature described as follows:
(1) Endangered species or threatened species as described in Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 2050) of Division 3 of the Fish and Game Code.
(2) Fully protected birds described in Section 3511 of the Fish and Game Code.
(3) Fully protected mammals described in Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 4700) of Part 3 of Division 4 of the Fish and Game Code.
(4) Fully protected reptiles and amphibians described in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 5050) of Division 5 of the Fish and Game Code.
(5) Fully protected fish as described in Section 5515 of the Fish and Game Code.
This subdivision does not supersede or affect any provisions of law relating to taking of the described species, including, but not limited to, Section 12008 of the Fish and Game Code.

(e) For the purposes of subdivision (c), each act of malicious and intentional maiming, mutilating, or torturing a separate specimen of a creature described in subdivision (d) is a separate offense. If any person is charged with a violation of subdivision (c), the proceedings shall be subject to Section 12157 of the Fish and Game Code.

(f)(1) Upon the conviction of a person charged with a violation of this section by causing or permitting an act of cruelty, as defined in Section 599b, all animals lawfully seized and impounded with respect to the violation by a peace officer, officer of a humane society, or officer of a pound or animal regulation department of a public agency shall be adjudged by the court to be forfeited and shall thereupon be awarded to the impounding officer for proper disposition. A person convicted of a violation of this section by causing or permitting an act of cruelty, as defined in Section 599b, shall be liable to the impounding officer for all costs of impoundment from the time of seizure to the time of proper disposition.
(2) Mandatory seizure or impoundment shall not apply to animals in properly conducted scientific experiments or investigations performed under the authority of the faculty of a regularly incorporated medical college or university of this state.

(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if a defendant is granted probation for a conviction under this section, the court shall order the defendant to pay for, and successfully complete, counseling, as determined by the court, designed to evaluate and treat behavior or conduct disorders. If the court finds that the defendant is financially unable to pay for that counseling, the court may develop a sliding fee schedule based upon the defendant's ability to pay. An indigent defendant may negotiate a deferred payment schedule, but shall pay a nominal fee if the defendant has the ability to pay the nominal fee. County mental health departments or Medi-Cal shall be responsible for the costs of counseling required by this section only for those persons who meet the medical necessity criteria for mental health managed care pursuant to Section 1830.205 of Title 7 of the California Code of Regulations or the targeted population criteria specified in Section 5600.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. The counseling specified in this subdivision shall be in addition to any other terms and conditions of probation, including any term of imprisonment and any fine. This provision specifies a mandatory additional term of probation and is not to be utilized as an alternative in lieu of imprisonment in the state prison or county jail when such a sentence is otherwise appropriate. If the court does not order custody as a condition of probation for a conviction under this section, the court shall specify on the court record the reason or reasons for not ordering custody. This subdivision shall not apply to cases involving police dogs or horses as described in Section 600.


597a. Cruelty to animals; transportation; care of animals by arresting
officer; expense

Whoever carries or causes to be carried in or upon any vehicle or otherwise any domestic animal in a CRUEL or inhuman manner, or knowingly and willfully authorizes or permits it to be subjected to unnecessary torture, suffering, or cruelty of any kind, is guilty of a misdemeanor; and whenever any such person is taken into custody therefor by any officer, such officer must take charge of such vehicle and its contents, together with the horse or team attached to such vehicle, and deposit the same in some place of custody; and any necessary expense incurred for taking care of and keeping the same, is a lien thereon, to be paid before the same can be lawfully recovered; and if such expense, or any part thereof, remains unpaid, it may be recovered, by the person incurring the same, of the owner of such domestic animal, in an action therefor.


597f. Failure to care for animals; duty of peace or humane officers; disposal of abandoned, sick or disabled animals; notice to owner; lien; injured cats and dogs in public places

(a) Every owner, driver, or possessor of any animal, who permits the animal to be in any building, enclosure, lane, street, square, or lot, of any city, city and county, or judicial district, without proper care and attention, shall, on conviction, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor. And it shall be the duty of any peace officer, officer of the humane society, or officer of a pound or animal regulation department of a public agency, to take possession of the animal so abandoned or neglected and care for the animal until it is redeemed by the owner or claimant, and the cost of caring for the animal shall be a lien on the animal until the charges are paid. Every sick, disabled, infirm, or crippled animal, except a dog or cat, which shall be abandoned in any city, city and county, or judicial district, may, if after due search no owner can be found therefor, be killed by the officer; and it shall be the duty of all peace officers, an officer of such society, or officer of a pound or animal regulation department of a public agency to cause the animal to be killed on information of such abandonment. The officer may likewise take charge of any animal, including a dog or cat, that by reason of lameness, sickness, feebleness, or neglect, is unfit for the labor it is performing, or that in any other manner is being cruelly treated; and, if the animal is not then in the custody of its owner, the officer shall give notice thereof to the owner, if known, and may provide suitable care for the animal until it is deemed to be in a suitable condition to be delivered to the owner, and any necessary expenses which may be incurred for taking care of and keeping the animal shall be a lien thereon, to be paid before the animal can be lawfully recovered.

(b) It shall be the duty of all officers of pounds or humane societies, and animal regulation departments of public agencies to convey, and for police and sheriff departments, to cause to be conveyed all injured cats and dogs found without their owners in a public place directly to a veterinarian known by the officer or agency to be a veterinarian that ordinarily treats dogs and cats for a determination of whether the animal shall be immediately and humanely destroyed or shall be hospitalized under proper care and given emergency treatment.

If the owner does not redeem the animal within the locally prescribed waiting period, the veterinarian may personally perform euthanasia on the animal; or, if the animal is treated and recovers from its injuries , the veterinarian may keep the animal for purposes of adoption, provided the responsible animal control agency has first been contacted and has refused to take possession of the animal.

Whenever any animal is transferred pursuant to this subdivision to a veterinarian in a clinic, such as an emergency clinic which is not in continuous operation, the veterinarian may, in turn, transfer the animal to an appropriate facility.

If the veterinarian determines that the animal shall be hospitalized under proper care and given emergency treatment, the costs of any services which are provided pending the owner's inquiry to the agency, department, or society shall be paid from the dog license fees, fines, and fees for impounding dogs in the city, county, or city and county in which the animal was licensed or if the animal is unlicensed the jurisdiction in which the animal was found, subject to the provision that this cost be repaid by the animal's owner. No veterinarian shall be criminally or civilly liable for any decision which he or she makes or services which he or she provides pursuant to this section.

(c) An animal control agency which takes possession of an animal pursuant to subdivision (b), shall keep records of the whereabouts of the animal for a 72- hour period from the time of possession and those records shall be available to inspection by the public upon request.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, any officer of a pound or animal regulation department or humane society, or any officer of a police or sheriff's department may, with the approval of his or her immediate superior, humanely destroy any abandoned animal in the field in any case where the animal is too severely injured to move or where a veterinarian is not available and it would be more humane to dispose of the animal.


597g. Poling or tripping a horse; offenses; exceptions

(a) Poling a horse is a method of training horses to jump which consists of (1) forcing, persuading, or enticing a horse to jump in such manner that one or more of its legs will come in contact with an obstruction consisting of any kind of wire, or a pole, stick, rope or other object with brads, nails, tacks or other sharp points imbedded therein or attached thereto or (2) raising, throwing or moving a pole, stick, wire, rope or other object, against one or more of the legs of a horse while it is jumping an obstruction so that the horse, in either case, is induced to raise such leg or legs higher in order to clear the obstruction. Tripping a horse is an act that consists of the use of any wire, pole, stick, rope, or other object or apparatus whatsoever to cause a horse to fall or lose its balance. The poling or tripping of any horse is unlawful and any person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(b) It is a misdemeanor for any person to intentionally trip or fell an equine by the legs by any means whatsoever for the purposes of entertainment or sport.

(c) This section does not apply to the lawful laying down of a horse for medical or identification purposes, nor shall the section be construed as condemning or limiting any cultural or historical activities, except those prohibited herein.


597k. Bristle bur, tack bur, etc.; use on animals

Anyone who, having care, custody or control of any horse or other animal, uses what is known as the bristle bur, tack bur, or other like device, by whatsoever name known or designated, on such horse or other animal for any purpose whatsoever, is guilty of a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 10 days nor more than 175 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.


597n. Docked horses; prohibition of docking; importation or use of unregistered animals

Any person who cuts the solid part of the tail of any horse in the operation known as "docking," or in any other operation performed for the purpose of shortening the tail of any horse, within the State of California, or procures the same to be done, or imports or brings into this state any docked horse, or horses, or drives, works, uses, races, or deals in any unregistered docked horse, or horses, within the State of California except as provided in Section 597r, is guilty of a misdemeanor.


597o. Humane transportation of equine to slaughter; vehicle requirements; segregation of animals; violations

(a) Any person who transports an equine in a vehicle to slaughter shall meet the following requirements:
(1) The vehicle shall have sufficient clearance to allow the equine to be transported in a standing position with its head in a normal upright position above its withers.
(2) Any ramps and floors in the vehicle shall be covered with a nonskid surface to prevent the equine from slipping.
(3) The vehicle shall provide adequate ventilation to the equine while the equine is being transported.
(4) The sides and overhead of the vehicle shall be constructed to withstand the weight of any equine which may put pressure against the sides or overhead.
(5) Any compartments in the interior of the vehicle shall be constructed of smooth materials and shall contain no protrusions or sharp objects.
(6) The size of the vehicle shall be appropriate for the number of equine being transported and the welfare of the equine shall not be jeopardized by overcrowding.
(7) Stallions shall be segregated during transportation to slaughter.
(8) Diseased, sick, blind, dying, or otherwise disabled equine shall not be transported out of this state.
(9) Any equine being transported shall be able to bear weight on all four feet.
(10) Unweaned foals shall not be transported.
(11) Mares in their last trimester of pregnancy shall not be transported.
(12) The person shall notify a humane officer having jurisdiction 72 hours before loading the equine in order that the humane officer may perform a thorough inspection of the vehicle to determine if all requirements of this section have been satisfied.

(b)(1) Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and is subject to a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) per equine being transported.
(2) Any person who violates this section for a second or subsequent time is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined five hundred dollars ($500) per equine being transported.

(c) Whenever a person is taken into custody by an officer for a violation of this section, the officer shall take charge of the vehicle and its contents and deposit the property in some place of custody.

(d)(1) Any necessary expense incurred for taking care of and keeping the property described in subdivision (c) is a lien thereon, to be paid before the property can be lawfully recovered.
(2) If the expense, or any part thereof, remains unpaid, it may be recovered by the person incurring the expense from the owner of the equine in an action therefor.

(e) For the purposes of this section, "equine" means any horse, pony, burro, or mule.

597p. Docked horses; registration; time; fee; certificate

Within 30 days after the passage of this act, every owner, or user of any docked horse, within the State of California, shall register his or her docked horse, or horses by filing in the office of the county clerk of the county in which such docked horse, or horses, may then be kept, a certificate, which certificate shall contain the name, or names of the owner, together with his or her post office address, a full description of the color, age, size and the use made of such docked horse, or horses; which certificate shall be signed by the owner, or his, or her agent. The county clerk shall number such certificate consecutively and record the name in a book, or register to be kept for that purpose only; and shall receive as a fee for recording of such certificate, the sum of fifty cents ($0.50), and the clerk shall thereupon issue to such person so registering such horse or horses a certificate containing the facts recited in this section which upon demand shall be exhibited to any peace officer, and the same shall be conclusive evidence of a compliance with the provisions of Section 597n of this code.


597q. Docked horses; unregistered; prima facie evidence

The driving, working, keeping, racing or using of any unregistered docked horse, or horses, after 60 days after the passage of this act, shall be deemed prima facie evidence of the fact that the party driving, working, keeping, racing or using such unregistered docked horse, or horses, docked the tail of such horse or horses.


597r. Docked horses; exception of imported stock; registration

Any person or persons violating any of the provisions of this act, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor; provided, however, that the provisions of Sections 597n, 597p, and 597q, shall not be applied to persons owning or possessing any docked purebred stallions and mares imported from foreign countries for breeding or exhibition purposes only, as provided by an act of Congress entitled "An act regulating the importation of breeding animals" and approved March 3, 1903, and to docked native-bred stallions and mares brought into this State and used for breeding or exhibition purposes only; and provided further, that a description of each such animal so brought into the State, together with the date of importation and name and address of importer, be filed with the county clerk of the county where such animal is kept, within 30 days after the importation of such animal.


597s. Abandonment of animals

(a) Every person who willfully abandons any animal is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(b) This section shall not apply to the release or rehabilitation and release of native California wildlife pursuant to statute or regulations of the California Department of Fish and Game.


597t. Confined animals

Every person who keeps an animal confined in an enclosed area shall provide it with an adequate exercise area. If the animal is restricted by a leash, rope, or chain, the leash, rope, or chain shall be affixed in such a manner that it will prevent the animal from becoming entangled or injured and permit the animal's access to adequate shelter, food, and water. Violation of this section constitutes a misdemeanor. This section shall not apply to an animal which is in transit, in a vehicle, or in the immediate control of a person.


597x. Disabled equine; sale or transport for commercial slaughter; misdemeanor

(a) Notwithstanding Section 18734 of the Food and Agricultural Code or any other provision of law, it is unlawful for any person to sell, attempt to sell, load, cause to be loaded, transport, or attempt to transport any live horse, mule, burro, or pony that is disabled, if the animal is intended to be sold, loaded, or transported for commercial slaughter out of the state.

(b) For the purposes of this section, "disabled animal" includes, but is not limited to, any animal that has broken limbs, is unable to stand and balance itself without assistance, cannot walk, or is severely injured.

(c) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to the same penalties imposed upon a person convicted of a misdemeanor under Section 597a.


597.1. Failure to care for animals; misdemeanor; powers and duties of local officers and veterinarians; hearings; liability for costs; forfeiture; operative effect

(a) Every owner, driver, or keeper of any animal who permits the animal to be in any building, enclosure, lane, street, square, or lot of any city, county, city and county, or judicial district without proper care and attention is guilty of a misdemeanor. Any peace officer, humane society officer, or animal control officer shall take possession of the stray or abandoned animal and shall provide care and treatment for the animal until the animal is deemed to be in suitable condition to be returned to the owner. When the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that very prompt action is required to protect the health or safety of the animal or the health or safety of others, the officer shall immediately seize the animal and comply with subdivision (f). In all other cases, the officer shall comply with the provisions of subdivision (g). The cost of caring for and treating any animal properly seized under this subdivision shall constitute a lien on the animal and the animal shall not be returned to its owner until the charges are paid, if the seizure is upheld pursuant to this section.

(b) Every sick, disabled, infirm, or crippled animal, except a dog or cat, that is abandoned in any city, county, city and county, or judicial district may be killed by the officer if, after a reasonable search, no owner of the animal can be found. It shall be the duty of all peace officers, humane society officers, and animal control officers to cause the animal to be killed or rehabilitated and placed in a suitable home on information that the animal is stray or abandoned. The officer may likewise take charge of any animal, including a dog or cat, that by reason of lameness, sickness, feebleness, or neglect, is unfit for the labor it is performing, or that in any other manner is being cruelly treated, and provide care and treatment for the animal until
it is deemed to be in a suitable condition to be returned to the owner. When the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that very prompt action is required to protect the health or safety of an animal or the health or safety of others, the officer shall immediately seize the animal and comply with subdivision (f). In all other cases, the officer shall comply with subdivision (g). The cost of caring for and treating any animal properly seized under this subdivision shall constitute a lien on the animal and the animal shall not be returned to its owner until the charges are paid.

(c) Any peace officer, humane society officer, or animal control officer shall convey all injured cats and dogs found without their owners in a public place directly to a veterinarian known by the officer to be a veterinarian who ordinarily treats dogs and cats for a determination of whether the animal shall be immediately and humanely destroyed or shall be hospitalized under proper care and given emergency treatment. If the owner does not redeem the animal within the locally prescribed waiting period, the veterinarian may personally perform euthanasia on the animal. If the animal is treated and recovers from its injuries, the veterinarian may keep the animal for purposes of adoption, provided the responsible animal control agency has first been contacted and has refused to take possession of the animal. Whenever any animal is transferred to a veterinarian in a clinic, such as an emergency clinic that is not in continuous operation, the veterinarian may, in turn, transfer the animal to an appropriate facility. If the veterinarian determines that the animal shall be hospitalized under proper care and given emergency treatment, the costs of any services that are provided pending the owner's inquiry to the responsible agency, department, or society shall be paid from the dog license fees, fines, and fees for impounding dogs in the city, county, or city and county in which the animal was licensed or, if the animal is unlicensed, shall be paid by the jurisdiction in which the animal was found, subject to the provision that this cost be repaid by the animal's owner. The cost of caring for and treating any animal seized under this subdivision shall constitute a lien on the animal and the animal shall not be returned to the owner until the charges are paid. No veterinarian shall be criminally or civilly liable for any decision that he or she makes or for services that he or she provides pursuant to this subdivision.

(d) An animal control agency that takes possession of an animal pursuant to subdivision (c) shall keep records of the whereabouts of the animal from the time of possession to the end of the animal's impoundment, and those records shall be available for inspection by the public upon request for three years after the date the animal's impoundment ended.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, any peace officer, humane society officer, or any animal control officer may, with the approval of his or her immediate superior, humanely destroy any stray or abandoned animal in the field in any case where the animal is too severely injured to move or where a veterinarian is not available and it would be more humane to dispose of the animal.

(f) Whenever an officer authorized under this section seizes or impounds an animal based on a reasonable belief that prompt action is required to protect the health or safety of the animal or the health or safety of others, the officer shall, prior to the commencement of any criminal proceedings authorized by this section, provide the owner or keeper of the animal, if known or ascertainable after reasonable investigation, with the opportunity for a postseizure hearing to determine the validity of the seizure or impoundment, or both.
(1) The agency shall cause a notice to be affixed to a conspicuous place where the animal was situated or personally deliver a notice of the seizure or impoundment, or both, to the owner or keeper within 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays. The notice shall include all of the following:
(A) The name, business address, and telephone number of the officer providing the notice.
(B) A description of the animal seized, including any identification upon the animal.
(C) The authority and purpose for the seizure, or impoundment, including the time, place, and circumstances under which the animal was seized.
(D) A statement that, in order to receive a postseizure hearing, the owner or person authorized to keep the animal, or his or her agent, shall request the hearing by signing and returning an enclosed declaration of ownership or right to keep the animal to the agency providing the notice within 10 days, including weekends and holidays, of the date of the notice. The declaration may be returned by personal delivery or mail.
(E) A statement that the cost of caring for and treating any animal properly seized under this section is a lien on the animal and that the animal shall not be returned to the owner until the charges are paid, and that failure to request or to attend a scheduled hearing shall result in liability for this cost.
(2) The postseizure hearing shall be conducted within 48 hours of the request, excluding weekends and holidays. The seizing agency may authorize its own officer or employee to conduct the hearing if the hearing officer is not the same person who directed the seizure or impoundment of the animal and is not junior in rank to that person. The agency may utilize the services of a hearing officer from outside the agency for the purposes of complying with this section.
(3) Failure of the owner or keeper, or of his or her agent, to request or to attend a scheduled hearing shall result in a forfeiture of any right to a postseizure hearing or right to challenge his or her liability for costs incurred.
(4) The agency, department, or society employing the person who directed the seizure shall be responsible for the costs incurred for caring and treating the animal, if it is determined in the postseizure hearing that the seizing officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe very prompt action, including seizure of the animal, was required to protect the health or safety of the animal or the health or safety of others. If it is determined the seizure was justified, the owner or keeper shall be personally liable to the seizing agency for the cost of the seizure and care of the animal, the charges for the seizure and care of the animal shall be a lien on the animal, and the animal shall not be returned to its owner until the charges are paid and the seizing agency or hearing officer has determined that the animal is physically fit or the owner demonstrates to the seizing agency's or the hearing officer's satisfaction that the owner can and will provide the necessary care.

(g) Where the need for immediate seizure is not present and prior to the commencement of any criminal proceedings authorized by this section, the agency shall provide the owner or keeper of the animal, if known or ascertainable after reasonable investigation, with the opportunity for a hearing prior to any seizure or impoundment of the animal. The owner shall produce the animal at the time of the hearing unless, prior to the hearing, the owner has made arrangements with the agency to view the animal upon request of the agency, or unless the owner can provide verification that the animal was humanely destroyed. Any person who willfully fails to produce the animal or provide the verification is guilty of an infraction, punishable by a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).
(1) The agency shall cause a notice to be affixed to a conspicuous place where the animal was situated or personally deliver a notice stating the grounds for believing the animal should be seized under subdivision (a) or (b). The notice shall include all of the following:
(A) The name, business address, and telephone number of the officer providing the notice.
(B) A description of the animal to be seized, including any identification upon the animal.
(C) The authority and purpose for the possible seizure or impoundment.
(D) A statement that, in order to receive a hearing prior to any seizure, the owner or person authorized to keep the animal, or his or her agent, shall request the hearing by signing and returning the enclosed declaration of ownership or right to keep the animal to the officer providing the notice within two days, excluding weekends and holidays, of the date of the notice.
(E) A statement that the cost of caring for and treating any animal properly seized under this section is a lien on the animal, that any animal seized shall not be returned to the owner until the charges are paid, and that failure to request or to attend a scheduled hearing shall result in a conclusive determination that the animal may properly be seized and that the owner shall be liable for the charges.
(2) The preseizure hearing shall be conducted within 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, after receipt of the request. The seizing agency may authorize its own officer or employee to conduct the hearing if the hearing officer is not the same person who requests the seizure or impoundment of the animal and is not junior in rank to that person. The agency may utilize the services of a hearing officer from outside the agency for the purposes of complying with this section.
(3) Failure of the owner or keeper, or his or her agent, to request or to attend a scheduled hearing shall result in a forfeiture of any right to a preseizure hearing or right to challenge his or her liability for costs incurred pursuant to this section.
(4) The hearing officer, after the hearing, may affirm or deny the owner's or keeper's right to custody of the animal and, if reasonable grounds are established, may order the seizure or impoundment of the animal for care and treatment.

(h) If any animal is properly seized under this section, the owner or keeper shall be personally liable to the seizing agency for the cost of the seizure and care of the animal. Furthermore, if the charges for the seizure or impoundment and any other charges permitted under this section are not paid within 14 days of the seizure, or, if the owner, within 14 days of notice of availability of the animal to be returned, fails to pay charges permitted under this section and take possession of the animal, the animal shall be deemed to have been abandoned and may be disposed of by the impounding officer.

(i) If the animal requires veterinary care and the humane society or public agency is not assured, within 14 days of the seizure of the animal, that the owner will provide the necessary care, the animal shall not be returned to its owner and shall be deemed to have been abandoned and may be disposed of by the impounding officer. A veterinarian may humanely destroy an impounded animal without regard to the prescribed holding period when it has been determined that the animal has incurred severe injuries or is incurably crippled. A veterinarian also may immediately humanely destroy an impounded animal afflicted with a serious contagious disease unless the owner or his or her agent immediately authorizes treatment of the animal by a veterinarian at the expense of the owner or agent.

(j) No animal properly seized under this section shall be returned to its owner until, in the determination of the seizing agency or hearing officer, the animal is physically fit or the owner can demonstrate to the seizing agency's or hearing officer's satisfaction that the owner can and will provide the necessary care.

(k) Upon the conviction of a person charged with a violation of this section, or Section 597 or 597a, all animals lawfully seized and impounded with respect to the violation shall be adjudged by the court to be forfeited and shall thereupon be transferred to the impounding officer or appropriate public entity for proper adoption or other disposition. A person convicted of a violation of this section shall be personally liable to the seizing agency for all costs of impoundment from the time of seizure to the time of proper disposition. Upon conviction, the court shall order the convicted person to make payment to the appropriate public entity for the costs incurred in the housing, care, feeding, and treatment of the seized or impounded animals. Each person convicted in connection with a particular animal may be held jointly and severally liable for restitution for that particular animal. The payment shall be in addition to any other fine or sentence ordered by the court.
The court may also order, as a condition of probation, that the convicted person be prohibited from owning, possessing, caring for, or having any contact with, animals of any kind and require the convicted person to immediately deliver all animals in his or her possession to a designated public entity for adoption or other lawful disposition or provide proof to the court that the person no longer has possession, care, or control of any animals. In the event of the acquittal or final discharge without conviction of the arrested person, the court shall, on demand, direct the release of seized or impounded animals upon a showing of proof of ownership. Any questions regarding ownership shall be determined in a separate hearing by the court where the criminal case was finally adjudicated and the court shall hear testimony from any persons who may assist the court in determining ownership of the animal. If the owner is determined to be unknown or the owner is prohibited or unable to retain possession of the animals for any reason, the court shall order the animals to be released to the appropriate public entity for adoption or other lawful disposition. This section is not intended to cause the release of any animal, bird, reptile, amphibian, or fish, seized or impounded pursuant to any other statute, ordinance, or municipal regulation. This section shall not prohibit the seizure or impoundment of animals as evidence as provided for under any other provision of law.

(l) It shall be the duty of all peace officers, humane society officers, and animal control officers to use all currently acceptable methods of identification, both electronic and otherwise, to determine the lawful owner or caretaker of any seized or impounded animal. It shall also be their duty to make reasonable efforts to notify the owner or caretaker of the whereabouts of the animal and any procedures available for the lawful recovery of the animal and, upon the owner's and caretaker's initiation of recovery procedures, retain custody of the animal for a reasonable period of time to allow for completion of the recovery process. Efforts to locate or contact the owner or caretaker and communications with persons claiming to be the owner or caretaker shall be recorded and maintained and be made available for public inspection.


597.2. Equines; abandoned or relinquished; auction and adoption programs

(a) It shall be the duty of an officer of a pound, humane society, or animal regulation department of a public agency to assist in a case involving the abandonment or voluntary relinquishment of an equine by the equine's owner. This section does not require a pound, humane society, or animal regulation department of a public agency to take actual possession of the equine.

(b) If a pound, humane society, or animal regulation department of a public agency sells an equine at a private or public auction or sale, it shall set the minimum bid for the sale of the equine at a price above the current slaughter price of the equine.

(c)(1) This section does not prohibit a pound, humane society, or animal regulation department of a public agency from placing an equine through an adoption program at an adoption fee that may be set below current slaughter price.
(2) A person adopting an equine under paragraph (1) shall submit a written statement declaring that the person is adopting the equine for personal use and not for purposes of resale, resale for slaughter, or holding or transporting the equine for slaughter.


599b. Words and phrases; imputation of knowledge to corporation

In this title the word "animal" includes every dumb creature; the words "torment," "torture," and "cruelty" include every act, omission, or neglect whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering is caused or permitted; and the words "owner" and "person" include corporations as well as individuals; and the knowledge and acts of any agent of, or person employed by, a corporation in regard to animals transported, owned, or employed by, or in the custody of, such corporation, must be held to be the act and knowledge of such corporation as well as such agent or employee.


Amended in 1997, 1998.
Reviewed by AAHS in September 2001.


Return to Top of This Page
Return to Cruelty to Animals Page