University of Vermont AAHS

Idaho Cruelty to Animals Statutes


IDAHO CODE
TITLE 25. ANIMALS
CHAPTER 35. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS


25-3501 Administration.

The department of agriculture, division of animal industries shall be responsible for the administration of the provisions of this chapter and shall inform the public and animal owners concerning their legal responsibilities, and in cooperation with local law enforcement, investigate and develop cases for prosecution. The division shall be authorized to call upon any peace officer in the state to aid in fulfillment of the requirements of this chapter and refer cases for prosecution to the appropriate authority. The foregoing shall not be construed to preclude county or local officials, acting upon their own authority, from investigating, developing cases and prosecuting violations of this chapter that occur in their jurisdiction. The cost to the department for administering the provisions of this chapter shall be borne by the citizens of this state through the appropriation of general funds for administration, personnel, travel, equipment and supplies.


25-3502 Definitions.

The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

(1) "Abandon" means to completely forsake and desert an animal previously under the custody or possession of a person without making reasonable arrangements for its proper care, sustenance and shelter.

(2) "Animal" means any vertebrate member of the animal kingdom, except man.

(3) "Cruel" or "cruelty" shall mean any or all of the following:

(a) The intentional and malicious infliction of pain, physical suffering, injury or death upon an animal;

(b) To maliciously kill, maim, wound, overdrive, overload, drive when overloaded, overwork, torture, torment, deprive of necessary sustenance, drink or shelter, cruelly beat, mutilate or cruelly kill an animal;

(c) To subject an animal to needless suffering, inflict unnecessary cruelty, drive, ride or otherwise use an animal when same is unfit;

(d) To abandon an animal;

(e) To negligently confine an animal in unsanitary conditions or to negligently house an animal in inadequate facilities; to negligently fail to provide sustenance, water or shelter to an animal.

(4) "Custodian" means any person who keeps or harbors an animal, has an animal in his care or acts as caretaker of an animal.

(5) "Malicious" or "maliciously" means the intentional doing of a wrongful act without just cause or excuse, with an intent to inflict an injury or death.

(6) "Owner" means any person who has a right of property in an animal.

(7) "Person" means any individual, firm, corporation, partnership, other business unit, society, association or other legal entity, any public or private institution, the state of Idaho, or any municipal corporation or political subdivision of the state.

(8) "Pound" means a place enclosed by public authority for the detention of stray animals.


25-3503 Poisoning animals.

Every person who wilfully administers any poisonous substance to an animal, the property of another, or maliciously places any poisonous substance where it would be found by an animal or where it would attract an animal, with the intent that the same shall be taken, ingested or absorbed by any such animal, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not exceeding three (3) years, or in the county jail not exceeding one (1) year, and a fine not less than one hundred dollars ($100) or more than five thousand dollars ($5000).


25-3504 Committing cruelty to animals.

Every person who is cruel to any animal, or causes or procures any animal to be cruelly treated; and whoever, having the charge or custody of any animal, either as owner or otherwise, subjects any animal to cruelty, is, for every such offense, guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be punished in accordance with section 25-3520A, Idaho Code.


25-3505 Carrying in a cruel manner -- Seizure, expenses, lien.

Whoever carries or causes to be carried in or upon any vehicle or otherwise any animal in a cruel manner, or knowingly and wilfully authorizes or permits it to be subjected to cruelty of any kind, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be punished in accordance with section 25-3520A, Idaho Code. 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 animal and deposit them in some place of custody. 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, from the owner of such animal, in an action therefor.


25-3510 Impounding without food or water.

Any person who impounds, or causes to be impounded in any pound, any animal, must supply the same during such confinement with a sufficient quantity of wholesome food and clean water, and in default thereof, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be punished in accordance with section 25-3520A, Idaho Code.


25-3511 Permitting animals to go without care -- Abandoned animals to be humanely destroyed.

Every owner, custodian or possessor of any animal, who shall permit the same to be in any building, inclosure, lane, street, square or lot of any city, county or precinct, without proper care and attention, as determined by an Idaho licensed veterinarian, or a representative of the division, shall, on conviction, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be punished in accordance with section 25-3520A, Idaho Code. And it shall be the duty of any peace officer, or officer of any incorporated association qualified as provided by law, to take possession of the animal so abandoned or neglected, and care for the same until it is redeemed by the owner or claimant, and the cost of caring for such animal shall be a lien on the same until the charges are paid. Every sick, disabled, infirm or crippled animal which shall be abandoned in any city, county or precinct, may if after due search no owner can be found therefor, be humanely destroyed, or other provision made for the animal by or on the order of such officer; and it shall be the duty of all peace officers, or by an officer of said incorporated association, to cause the same to be humanely destroyed, or other provision made therefor, on information of such abandonment. Such officer may likewise take charge of any animal that by reason of lameness, sickness, feebleness or neglect, is unfit for the activity it is performing, or that in any other manner is being cruelly treated; and, if such animal is not then in custody of its owner, such officer shall give notice thereof to such owner, if known, and may provide suitable care for such animal until it is deemed to be in a suitable condition, as determined by an Idaho licensed veterinarian or a representative of the division, to be delivered to such owner, and any necessary expenses which may be incurred for taking care of and keeping the same shall be a lien thereon, to be paid before the same can be lawfully recovered. If, after due process under this section, a responsible owner cannot be found, the animal may be offered for adoption to a responsible person in lieu of destruction.


25-3512 Abandonment of animals left with veterinarian.

(1) Any animal placed in the custody of a veterinarian licensed under the provisions of chapter 21, title 54, Idaho Code, for treatment, boarding or other care, and which is unclaimed by its owner or the agent of the owner for a period of more than ten (10) days after written notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, is given to the addressee only at his last known address, shall be deemed to be abandoned and may be turned over to the nearest pound or to a peace officer, or disposed of as such custodian may deem proper.

(2) The giving of notice to the owner, or the agent of the owner, of such animal by the licensed veterinarian, as provided in subsection (1) of this section, shall relieve the licensed veterinarian and any custodian to whom such animal may be given of any further liability for disposal. Such procedure by the licensed veterinarian shall not constitute grounds for discipline under the provisions of chapter 21, title 54, Idaho Code.

(3) For the purposes of this section, the term "abandoned" means to forsake entirely, or to neglect or refuse to provide or perform the legal obligations for treatment, care and support of an animal by its owner, or the agent of the owner. Such abandonment shall constitute the relinquishment of all rights and claims by the owner to such animal.


25-3513 Prosecutions.

When complaint is made on oath, to any magistrate authorized to issue warrants in criminal cases, that there is probable cause to believe that any provision of law relating to or in any way affecting animals, is being, or is about to be violated in any particular building or place, such magistrate must issue and deliver immediately a warrant directed to any sheriff, police or peace officer, or animal control officer, authorizing him to enter and search such building or place, and to arrest any person there present violating or attempting to violate any law relating thereto, or in any way affecting animals and to bring such person before some court or magistrate of competent jurisdiction, within the city or county within which such offense has been committed or attempted, to be dealt with according to law, and such attempt must be held to be a misdemeanor and persons so convicted shall be punished in accordance with section 25-3520A, Idaho Code.


25-3514 Chapter construed not to interfere with normal or legal practices.

No part of this chapter shall be construed as interfering with or allowing interference with:

(1) Normal or accepted veterinary practices;

(2) The humane slaughter of any animal normally and commonly raised as food or for production of fiber;

(3) Bona fide experiments or research carried out by professionally recognized private or public research facilities or institutions;

(4) The humane destruction of an animal which is diseased or disabled beyond recovery for any useful purpose, or the humane destruction of animals for population control;

(5) Normal or accepted practices of animal identification and animal husbandry;

(6) The killing of any animal, by any person at any time, which may be found outside of the owned or rented property of the owner or custodian of such animal and which is found injuring or posing a threat to any person, farm animal or property;

(7) The killing of an animal that is vicious by an animal control officer, law enforcement officer or veterinarian;

(8) The killing or destruction of predatory animals, vermin or other animals or birds which are injuring or posing a threat to farm or privately owned animals or property, when such killing or destruction is conducted in accordance with laws and rules covering such animals;

(9) Any other exhibitions, competitions, activities, practices or procedures normally or commonly considered acceptable. The practices, procedures and activities described in this section shall not be construed to be cruel nor shall they be defined as cruelty to animals, nor shall any person engaged in these practices, procedures or activities be charged with cruelty to animals.


25-3514A Immunity.

Any Idaho licensed veterinarian shall be held harmless from either criminal or civil liability for any decisions made or services rendered under the provisions of this chapter. Such a veterinarian is, therefore, protected from a lawsuit for his part in an investigation of cruelty to animals. Provided however, that a veterinarian who participates or reports in bad faith or with malice shall not be protected under the provisions of this section.


25-3515 Chapter construed not to interfere with game laws.

No part of this chapter shall be construed as interfering with, negating or preempting any of the laws or rules of the department of fish and game of this state or any law for or against the destruction of certain birds, nor must this chapter be construed as interfering with the right to destroy any venomous reptile, or animal known as dangerous to life, limb, or property, or to interfere with the right to kill, slaughter, bag or take all animals used for food or with properly conducted scientific experiments or investigations performed under the authority of the faculty of a regularly incorporated medical college, or university of this state, or any other recognized research facility or institution.


25-3516 High-altitude decompression chamber prohibited.

No person, peace officer, officer of a humane society, or officer of a pound, or any public agency shall kill any dog or cat by the use of any high-altitude decompression chamber. Every person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be punished in accordance with section 25-3520A, Idaho Code.


25-3518 Beating and harassing animals.

Every person who cruelly whips, beats or otherwise maliciously treats any animal, or maliciously harasses with a dog any cattle, horses, sheep, hogs or other livestock shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be punished in accordance with section 25-3520A, Idaho Code.


25-3519 Authority to enter premises and examine animals.

Representatives of the division are authorized and empowered to enter any field, pasture, feedyard, barn, stable, kennel, cage, yard, vehicle, trailer or other premises in this state where animals are kept, during normal operating hours, when probable cause exists, with the permission of the owner, to investigate alleged violations of the provisions of this chapter. If permission is not granted, said representatives shall be empowered to call on sheriffs, constables and peace officers to assist them in the discharge of their duties and in carrying out the provisions of this chapter.


25-3520 Authority to promulgate rules.

The division shall be authorized and empowered to promulgate and enforce such rules, pursuant to chapter 52, title 67, Idaho Code, as it deems necessary for the administration and enforcement of the provisions of this chapter.


25-3520A Penalty for violations.

(1) Except as provided in section 25-3503, Idaho Code, any person convicted for a first violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be punished, for each offense, by a jail sentence of not more than six (6) months or by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) or more than five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(2) Except as provided in section 25-3503, Idaho Code, any person convicted of a second violation of any of the provisions of this chapter within ten (10) years of the first conviction, shall be punished for each offense, by a jail sentence of not more than nine (9) months or a fine of not less than two hundred dollars ($200) or more than seven thousand dollars ($7,000) or both fine and imprisonment.

(3) Except as provided in section 25-3503, Idaho Code, any person convicted of a third or subsequent violation, within fifteen (15) years of the first conviction, shall be punished for each offense by a jail sentence of not more than twelve (12) months or a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) or more than nine thousand dollars ($9,000) or by both fine and imprisonment.


25-3521 Severability.

The provisions of this chapter are hereby declared to be severable and if any provision of this chapter or the application of such provision to any person or circumstance is declared invalid for any reason, such declaration shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter.


Reviewed by AAHS in September 2001.


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