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Tallahassee Criminal Attorney > Blog > Criminal > Pet Rescue Owner Faces Animal Cruelty Charges

Pet Rescue Owner Faces Animal Cruelty Charges


The owner and operator of a Leon County pet rescue is facing criminal charges for the mistreatment of animals under her care. She appeared in court Friday morning on various animal cruelty charges. She was also granted a $5,000 bond and the judge ordered that she can’t have any animals in her control. Animal Control will seize any remaining dogs on her property.

The pet rescue owner faces 5 criminal charges of animal cruelty and five additional charges of confining animals without sufficient food or water. All 10 of the charges are considered misdemeanors.

The arrest came weeks after Animal Control seized 60 dogs from her animal rescue. Animal Control also filed dozens of civil citations for what it described as “inhumane” care. Dogs were found in filthy conditions. Videos from the pet rescue show dogs squeezed into dirty outdoor cages. In some cases, more than one dog was placed in a cage.

Animal cruelty charges in Florida 

Florida Statute 828.12 defines animal cruelty in the State of Florida. The law divides animal cruelty into two different crimes with different punishments. You can be charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty or felony animal cruelty. The main difference between the two crimes is that misdemeanor animal cruelty involves an isolated incident, while felony animal cruelty involves repeated abuse or a protracted period of inflicting pain.

For a prosecutor to prove a case of animal cruelty, they must establish that the cruelty is unnecessary given the current situation.

What constitutes animal cruelty? 

A pet owner who cuts a dog with a knife to lance a wound is not guilty of animal cruelty. In addition, a pet owner who fails to feed an animal for a number of days because a hurricane destroyed their home is also not guilty of animal cruelty. Animal cruelty is a crime of intent and, as such, the prosecution must establish that you intended to cause actual harm to the animal or allowed conditions to emerge that caused pain and suffering to the animal. Failing to feed an animal when you have food and water at your disposal is an example of animal cruelty as evidenced by the aforementioned case.

Misdemeanor animal cruelty 

Misdemeanor animal cruelty involves isolated incidents of animal abuse. Examples from real cases include:

  • Tormenting an animal or depriving it of food and water
  • Unnecessarily mutilating or killing an animal
  • Carrying an animal in the back of a truck in the cold rain

Felony animal cruelty 

In Florida, it is considered animal cruelty to intentionally act or fail to act in such a manner that results in the death or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal.

Felony animal cruelty is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, 5 years probation, and a fine of $5,000.

Talk to a Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney Today 

Luke Newman, P.A. represents the interests of those charged with serious crimes in Tallahassee, FL. Call our Tallahassee criminal defense lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and learn more about how we can help negotiate a deal that you can live with.



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