Were You Charged with Utah Crime 76-9-301 Cruelty to Animals?

According to the Animal Defense Fund, Utah ranks number 45 nationwide for laws against animal cruelty. Reasons for this low rank result from a lack of whistleblower protections to other areas regarding animal protection. However, you don’t have to be a critic of this law to understand that unjust situations can occur in the application of this anti-animal cruelty statute. A seasoned attorney for animal cruelty understands the intricacies and broad level of discretion authorities can have in determining if charges are warranted. This is especially important in Utah, where animals are central to the economic sustenance of some communities. For example, over 3/4 the of Utah’s agricultural income is derived from livestock and livestock products, which includes cattle, chicken, hogs, sheep, turkeys, and lamb.

If you or a loved one was arrested for cruelty to animals, you should consult with an experienced Utah animal cruelty defense attorney today. There are many exceptions as well as situations that can be misunderstood. Attorneys in the law office of Darwin Overson can help you assert your defenses and avoid unjust charges. To schedule your free legal consultation, call us at (801) 515-0883.

Penalties for Animal Cruelty Charges Under Utah Crime 76-9-301

It’s hard to imagine being criminally prosecuted for actions in caring for animals. A lot of times the actions perceived to be “cruel” can seem harmless or are ways traditionally done in your family. For example, there are animal breeding practices that can be regarded as animal cruelty but have been passed on through tradition. An attorney experienced in Utah Crime 76-9-301 defense can help navigate through this process. There are mechanisms and legal exceptions that can be addressed in order to rebut a charge of criminal animal cruelty.

Charges of animal cruelty can be a serious matter. Just as anyone accused of violating a law, the person charged with violating this statute will be called a “defendant.” The charges or “counts” are based on instances of animal cruelty, just as prosecutors generally impose in criminal cases. If found guilty of Cruelty to Animals pursuant to Utah Crime 76-9-301, individuals can be charged with a Class A or Class B misdemeanor or with a felony that can be punishable with fine, jail time as well as fines. There are also somewhat irritating and unsettling penalties, which include:

(a) Issuing an order for a psychological or psychiatric evaluation to determine if the defendant needs professional counseling, and to receive counseling as the court determines to be appropriate in addition to paying the out-of-pocket costs of the evaluation and counseling.

(b) Ordering forfeiture of any rights the defendant has to the animal subjected to a violation and to repay the reasonable costs incurred by any person or agency in caring for each animal subjected to a violation of this section.

(c) Banning the defendant from possessing or retaining custody of any animal during the period of the defendant’s probation or parole or another period as designated by the court.

(d) Ordering the animal to be placed for the purpose of adoption or care in the custody of a county or municipal animal control agency or an animal welfare agency registered with the state to be sold at public auction or humanely destroyed.

Experienced legal representation can make a difference in these cases where there is broad discretion warranted under the statute. It seems patently unfair to be ordered to give up your animals or for a state of mind to be questioned and be ordered to pay for a psychological evaluation and treatment you didn’t seek in the first place.

Exceptions to “Cruel Acts” Under Utah Crime 76-9-301

There are notable exceptions where conduct towards an animal isn’t considered cruel in Utah. Legal representation against animal cruelty charges is likely to require a thorough understanding of these exceptions because criminal liability can be excused under these circumstances. Exceptions are generally situations deemed to be common instances where the conduct towards the animal can be acceptable as a matter of law. For example, if the behavior toward the animal includes:

  • Those actions accepted within the veterinary profession.
  • Conduct directly related to bona fide experimentation for scientific research.
  • Benevolent acts intended to protect the animal from greater suffering and is applied humanely or with care.
  • A kind act to keep from pain an apparently abandoned animal found on the person’s property. A good example is wounded animal that is likely to die down the road.
  • Actions that can be reasonably concluded prevented the animal’s suffering and there is no one else available to assist in providing medical care to the animal. An example is animals hurt on the roads who cannot be transported.
  • Acts in accordance with accepted animal husbandry practices or customary farming practices.
  • The use of electronic technology intended for locating or training collar by the owner of an animal.
  • Actions for the purpose of legal animal training and hunting practices, or protecting against loss of that animal.

If you or someone you know stands accused of animal cruelty, there are ways a seasoned attorney can help you throughout this process.

Utah Animal Cruelty Defense Lawyer Offering Free Consultations

If you’re looking for high-quality and trustworthy representation, call Overson Law today People can be unjustly accused of cruelty to animals, and they deserve aggressive legal representation securing and protecting rights at stake. Darwin Overson is known for his proactive approach to helping clients concerned that an unexpected turn of events and will stand prepared to defend you at every stage. To schedule your free legal consultation, call us at (801) 515-0883., or contact us online.