University of Vermont AAHS

Iowa Cruelty to Animals Statutes


IOWA STATUTES
TITLE XVI. CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE
SUBTITLE 1. CRIME CONTROL AND CRIMINAL ACTS
CHAPTER 717. INJURY TO LIVESTOCK


717.1. Definitions

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

1. "Law enforcement officer" means a regularly employed member of a police force of a city or county, including a sheriff, who is responsible for the prevention and detection of crime and the enforcement of the criminal laws of this state.

2. "Livestock" means an animal belonging to the bovine, caprine, equine, ovine, or porcine species, ostriches, rheas, emus; farm deer, as defined in section 481A.1; or poultry.

3. "Livestock care provider" means a person designated by a local authority to provide care to livestock which is rescued by the local authority pursuant to section 717.2A.

4. "Local authority" means a city as defined in section 362.2 or a county as provided in chapter 331.

5. "Maintenance" means to provide on-site or off-site care to neglected livestock.

6. "Sustenance" means food, water, or a nutritional formulation customarily used in the production of livestock.


717.1A. Livestock abuse

A person is guilty of livestock abuse if the person intentionally injures or destroys livestock owned by another person, in any manner, including, but not limited to, intentionally doing any of the following: administering drugs or poisons to the livestock, or disabling the livestock by using a firearm or trap. A person guilty of livestock abuse commits an aggravated misdemeanor. This section shall not apply to any of the following:

1. A person acting with the consent of the person owning the livestock, unless the action constitutes livestock neglect as provided in section 717.2.

2. A person acting to carry out an order issued by a court.

3. A licensed veterinarian practicing veterinary medicine as provided in chapter 169.

4. A person acting in order to carry out another provision of law which allows the conduct.

5. A person reasonably acting to protect the person's property from damage caused by estray livestock.

6. A person reasonably acting to protect a person from injury or death caused by estray livestock.

7. An institution, as defined in section 145B.1, or a research facility, as defined in section 162.2, provided that the institution or research facility performs functions within the scope of accepted practices and disciplines associated with the institution or research facility.


717.2. Livestock neglect

1. A person who impounds or confines livestock, in any place, and does any of the following commits the offense of livestock neglect:

a. Fails to provide livestock with care consistent with customary animal husbandry practices.

b. Deprives livestock of necessary sustenance.

c. Injures or destroys livestock by any means which causes pain or suffering in a manner inconsistent with customary animal husbandry practices.

2. A person who commits the offense of livestock neglect is guilty of a simple misdemeanor. A person who intentionally commits the offense of livestock neglect which results in serious injury to or the death of livestock is guilty of a serious misdemeanor. However, a person shall not be guilty of more than one offense of livestock neglect punishable as a serious misdemeanor, when care or sustenance is not provided to multiple head of livestock during any period of uninterrupted neglect.

3. This section does not apply to an institution, as defined in section 145B.1, or a research facility, as defined in section 162.2, provided that the institution or research facility performs functions within the scope of accepted practices and disciplines associated with the institution or research facility.


717.2A. Rescue of neglected livestock

1. a. A law enforcement officer may rescue livestock neglected as provided in section 717.2 on public or private property, as provided in this subsection.

b. The officer may enter onto property of a person to rescue neglected livestock if the officer obtains a search warrant issued by a court, or enters onto the premises in a manner consistent with the laws of this state and the United States, including Article I, section 8, of the Constitution of the State of Iowa, or the fourth amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

c. Livestock neglected as provided in section 717.2 may be rescued pursuant to the following conditions:

(1) If a criminal proceeding has not been commenced against the person owning or caring for the livestock, the following shall apply:

(a) The local authority shall receive a written statement from a veterinarian licensed pursuant to chapter 169, providing that, in the veterinarian's opinion, the livestock is neglected.

(b) The local authority shall provide written notice to the person owning or caring for the livestock by delivery at the last known address of the person. The local authority shall deliver the notice by certified mail or make a good faith effort to personally deliver the notice to the person owning or caring for the livestock. The notice shall include all of the following:

(i) The name and address of the local authority.

(ii) A description of the livestock subject to rescue.

(iii) A statement informing the person that the livestock may be rescued pursuant to this chapter within one day following receipt of the notice by the person. The statement must specify a date, time, and a location for delivery of the response designated by the local authority, as provided in this subsection.

(iv) A statement informing the person that in order to avoid rescue of the livestock, the person must respond to the notice in writing signed by a veterinarian licensed pursuant to chapter 169. The veterinarian must state that, in the opinion of the veterinarian, the livestock is not neglected, or the person is taking immediate measures required to rehabilitate the livestock.

(c) A law enforcement officer may rescue the livestock, if the local authority fails to receive a written response by the person owning or caring for the livestock by the end of normal office hours of the next day that the local authority is available to receive the response at the offices of the local authority. However, if the local authority is not available to receive a response at its offices, the local authority may designate another location in the county to receive the response.

(2) If a criminal proceeding has been commenced against the person owning or caring for the livestock, the local authority must receive a written statement from a veterinarian licensed pursuant to chapter 169, providing that, in the veterinarian's opinion, the livestock is neglected.

(3) Regardless of whether a criminal proceeding has commenced, the local authority may immediately rescue livestock without providing notice as otherwise required in this section. However, the local authority must receive a written statement from a veterinarian licensed pursuant to chapter 169, providing that in the veterinarian's opinion, the livestock is neglected. In order to rescue the livestock, the local authority must determine that the livestock has been abandoned or that no person is able or willing to care for the livestock, and the livestock is permanently distressed by disease or injury to a degree that would result in severe and prolonged suffering.

2. If livestock is rescued pursuant to this section, the local authority shall post a notice in a conspicuous place at the location where the livestock was rescued. The notice shall state that the livestock has been rescued by the local authority pursuant to this section. The local authority shall provide for the maintenance of the neglected livestock. The local authority may contract with a livestock care provider for the maintenance of the neglected livestock. The local authority shall pay the livestock care provider for the livestock's maintenance regardless of proceeds received from the sale of the livestock or any reimbursement ordered by a court, pursuant to section 717.5.

3. The livestock shall be subject to disposition pursuant to section 717.5.


717.5. Disposition of neglected livestock

1. A court shall order the disposition of livestock neglected as provided in section 717.2 after a hearing upon application or petition to the court by a local authority or a person owning or caring for the livestock. The matter shall be heard within ten days from the filing of a petition by the local authority or the person. The court may continue the hearing for up to forty days upon petition by the person. However, the person shall post a bond or other security with the local authority in an amount determined by the court, which shall not be more than the amount sufficient to provide for the maintenance of the livestock for forty days. The court may grant a subsequent continuance by the person for the same length of time if the person submits a new bond or security. However, the court shall order the immediate disposition of the livestock if the livestock is permanently distressed by disease or injury to a degree that would result in severe or prolonged suffering.

2. The hearing to determine if livestock has been neglected for purposes of disposition shall be a civil proceeding. If the case is related to a criminal proceeding, the disposition shall not be part of that proceeding and shall not be considered a criminal penalty imposed on a person found in violation of section 717.2.

3. A court may order a person owning the neglected livestock to pay an amount which shall not be more than the expenses incurred in maintaining the neglected livestock rescued pursuant to section 717.2A, and reasonable attorney fees and expenses related to the investigation of the case. The remaining amount of a bond or other security posted pursuant to this section shall be used to reimburse the local authority. If more than one person has a divisible interest in the livestock, the amount required to be paid shall be prorated based on the percentage of interest in the livestock owned by each person. The moneys shall be paid to the local authority incurring the expense. The amount shall be subtracted from proceeds owed to the owner or owners of the livestock, which are received from the sale of the livestock ordered by the court. Moneys owed to the local authority from the sale of neglected livestock shall be paid to the local authority before satisfying indebtedness secured by any security interest in or lien on the livestock. If an owner of the livestock is a landowner, the local authority may submit an amount to the clerk of the county board of supervisors who shall report the amount to the county treasurer. The amount shall equal the balance remaining after the sale of the livestock. If the livestock owner owns a percentage of the livestock, the reported amount shall equal the remaining balance owed by all landowners who own a percentage of the livestock. That amount shall be prorated among the landowners based on the percentage of interest in the livestock attributable to each landowner. The amount shall be placed upon the tax books, and collected with interest and penalties after due, in the same manner as other unpaid property taxes. The county shall reimburse a city within thirty days from the collection of the property taxes.

4. Neglected livestock ordered to be destroyed shall be destroyed only by a humane method, including euthanasia as defined in section 162.2.



717A.0A. Definitions
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

1. "Agricultural animal" means any of the following:
a. An animal that is maintained for its parts or products having commercial value, including but not limited to its muscle tissue, organs, fat, blood, manure, bones, milk, wool, hide, pelt, feathers, eggs, semen, embryos, or honey.
b. An animal belonging to the equine species, including horse, pony, mule, jenny, donkey, or hinny.

2. "Agricultural production" means any activity related to maintaining an agricultural animal at an animal facility or a crop on crop operation property.

3. "Animal" means a warm-blooded or cold-blooded animal, including but not limited to an animal belonging to the bovine, canine, feline, equine, ovine, or porcine species; farm deer as defined in section 189A.2; ostriches, rheas, or emus; an animal which belongs to a species of poultry or fish; mink or other pelt-bearing mammals; any invertebrate; or honey bees.

4. "Animal facility" means any of the following:
a. A location where an agricultural animal is maintained for agricultural production purposes, including but not limited to a location dedicated to farming as defined in section 9H.1, a livestock market, exhibition, or a vehicle used to transport the animal.
b. A location where an animal is maintained for educational or scientific purposes, including an institution as defined in section 145B.1, a research facility as defined in section 162.2, an exhibition, or a vehicle used to transport the animal.
c. A location operated by a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine pursuant to chapter 169.
d. A pound as defined in section 162.2.
e. An animal shelter as defined in section 162.2.
f. A pet shop as defined in section 162.2.
g. A boarding kennel as defined in section 162.2.
h. A commercial kennel as defined in section 162.2.

5. "Consent" means express or apparent assent by a person authorized to provide such assent.

6. a. "Crop" means any plant maintained for its parts or products having commercial value, including but not limited to stalks, trunks and branches, cuttings, grafts, scions, leaves, buds, fruit, vegetables, roots, bulbs, or seeds, if the plant is any of the following:
(1) A plant produced from an agricultural seed or vegetable seed as defined in section 199.1, including any plant producing a commodity listed in section 210.10.
(2) A plant which is a tree, shrub, vine, berry plant, greenhouse plant, or flower.
b. A plant produced from a noxious weed seed as defined in section 199.1 is not a crop unless the plant is produced as a research crop.

7. "Crop operation" means a commercial enterprise where a crop is maintained on the property of the commercial enterprise.

8. "Crop operation property" means any of the following:
a. Real property that is a crop field, orchard, nursery, greenhouse, garden, elevator, seedhouse, barn, warehouse, any other associated land or structures located on the land, and personal property located on the land including machinery or equipment, that is part of a crop operation.
b. A vehicle used to transport a crop that was maintained on the crop operation property.

9. "Deprive" means to do any of the following:
a. For an animal maintained at an animal facility or property belonging to an animal facility, "deprive" means to do any of the following:
(1) Withhold the animal or property for a period of time sufficient to significantly reduce the value or enjoyment of the animal or property.
(2) Withhold the animal or property for ransom or upon condition to restore the animal or property in return for compensation.
(3) Dispose of the animal or property in a manner that makes recovery of the animal or property by its owner unlikely.
b. For crops maintained on crop operation property or for crop operation property, "deprive" means to do any of the following:
(1) Occupy any part of a crop operation property for a period of time sufficient to prevent access to the crop or crop operation property.
(2) Dispose of a crop maintained on the crop operation property or belonging to the crop operation in a manner that makes recovery of the crop or crop operation property by its owner unlikely.

10. "Maintain" means to do any of the following:
a. Keep and provide for the care and feeding of any animal, including any activity relating to confining, handling, breeding, transporting, or exhibiting the animal.
b. Keep and preserve any crop, by planting, nurturing, harvesting, and storing the crop; or storing, planting, or nurturing the crop's seed.

11. "Owner" means any of the following:
a. A person, including a public or private entity, who has a legal interest in an animal or property belonging to an animal facility or who is authorized by the holder of the legal interest to act on the holder's behalf in maintaining the animal.
b. A person, including a public or private entity, who has a legal interest in a crop or crop operation property or who is authorized by the holder of the legal interest to act on the holder's behalf in maintaining the crop.

12. "Research crop" means a crop, including the crop's seed, that is maintained for purposes of scientific research regarding the study or alteration of the genetic characteristics of a plant or associated seed, including its deoxyribonucleic acid, which is accomplished by breeding or by using biotechnological systems or techniques.


717A.1. Animal facilities--civil action--criminal penalties

1. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

a. "Animal" means a warm-blooded or cold-blooded animal, including an animal belonging to the bovine, canine, feline, equine, ovine, or porcine species, or ostriches, rheas, or emus; an animal which belongs to a species of poultry or fish; or an animal which is an invertebrate.

b. "Animal facility" means any of the following:

(1) A location where an animal is maintained for agricultural production, including an operation dedicated to farming as defined in section 9H.1, a livestock market, exhibition, or a vehicle used to transport the animal.

(2) A location where an animal is maintained for educational or scientific purposes, including an institution as defined in section 145B.1, a research facility as defined in section 162.2, an exhibition, or a vehicle used to transport the animal.

(3) A location which is a facility operated by a person licensed to prescribe veterinary medicine pursuant to chapter 169.

(4) A pound as defined in section 162.2.

(5) An animal shelter as defined in section 162.2.

(6) A pet shop as defined in section 162.2.

(7) A boarding kennel as defined in section 162.2.

(8) A commercial kennel as defined in section 162.2.

c. "Consent" means express or apparent assent by a person authorized to provide such assent.

d. "Deprive" means to do any of the following:

(1) Withhold an animal or property belonging to or maintained by an animal facility for a period of time sufficient to significantly reduce the value or enjoyment of the animal or property.

(2) Withhold an animal or property for ransom or upon condition to restore the animal or property in return for compensation.

(3) Dispose of an animal or property of an owner in a manner that makes recovery of the animal or property by the owner unlikely.

e. "Maintain" means to keep, handle, house, exhibit, breed, or offer for sale, or sell an animal.

f. "Owner" means a person who has a legal interest in an animal or property or who is authorized by the holder of the legal interest to act on the holder's behalf.

2. A person shall not, without the consent of the owner, do any of the following:

a. Willfully destroy property of an animal facility, or kill or injure an animal maintained at an animal facility, including by an act of violence or the transmission of a disease including but not limited to any disease designated by the department of agriculture and land stewardship pursuant to section 163.2.

b. Exercise control over an animal facility including property of the animal facility, or an animal maintained at an animal facility, with intent to deprive the animal facility of an animal or property.

c. Enter onto or into an animal facility, or remain on or in an animal facility, if the person has notice that the facility is not open to the public, if the person has an intent to do one of the following:

(1) Disrupt operations conducted at the animal facility, if the operations directly relate to agricultural production, animal maintenance, educational or scientific purposes, or veterinary care.

(2) Kill or injure an animal maintained at the animal facility.

A person has notice that an animal facility is not open to the public if the person is provided notice before entering onto or into the facility, or the person refuses to immediately depart from the facility after being informed to leave. The notice may be in the form of a written or verbal communication by the owner, a fence or other enclosure designed to exclude intruders or contain animals, or a sign posted which is reasonably likely to come to the attention of an intruder and which indicates that entry is forbidden.

3. A person suffering damages resulting from an action which is in violation of subsection 2 may bring an action in the district court against the person causing the damage to recover all of the following:

a. An amount equaling three times all actual and consequential damages.

b. Court costs and reasonable attorney fees.

4. A person violating this section is guilty of the following penalties:

a. A person who violates subsection 2, paragraph "a", is guilty of a class "C" felony if the injury to an animal or damage to property exceeds fifty thousand dollars, a class "D" felony if the injury to an animal or damage to property exceeds five hundred dollars but does not exceed fifty thousand dollars, an aggravated misdemeanor if the injury to an animal or damage to property exceeds one hundred dollars but does not exceed five hundred dollars, a serious misdemeanor if the injury to an animal or damage to property exceeds fifty dollars but does not exceed one hundred dollars, or a simple misdemeanor if the injury to an animal or damage to property does not exceed fifty dollars.

b. A person who violates subsection 2, paragraph "b", is guilty of a class "D" felony.

c. A person who violates subsection 2, paragraph "c", is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor.

5. a. This section does not prohibit any conduct of a person holding a legal interest in an animal or property which is superior to the interest held by a person suffering from damages resulting from the conduct.
b. This section does not apply to  a governmental agency that is taking lawful action against an animal or animal facility.
c. This section does not apply to a licensed veterinarian practicing veterinary medicine as provided in chapter 169 and according to customary standards of care.

Amended in 2001.
Reviewed by AAHS in September 2001.


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