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Engrossed Version Senate Bill 588 History

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SB588 SUB1 eng
ENGROSSED


COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE

FOR

Senate Bill No. 588

(By Senators Unger and Hunter)

__________

[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary;

reported March 24, 2005.]

__________


A BILL to amend and reenact the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §49-5- 13f; and to amend and reenact §61-8-19 of said code, all relating to Animal Cruelty Early Intervention Program for juveniles; expanding the definition of cruelty to animals; increased criminal penalties for cruelty to animals; and allowing judges to require that offenders complete an anger management program.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §49-5-13f; and that §61-8-19 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 49. CHILD WELFARE.

ARTICLE 5. JUVENILE PROCEEDINGS.
§49-5-13f. Animal Cruelty Early Intervention Program.

(a) Notwithstanding any provision of this article to the contrary, a juvenile who has been alleged to have committed an act of delinquency which involved causing harm to an animal shall be given the option of proceeding in the Animal Cruelty Early Intervention Program as an alternative to the filing of a formal petition under section seven of this article, as the case may be. The decision to extend the option to enter the Animal Cruelty Early Intervention Program shall be made by the circuit court if the court finds that the offender is a suitable candidate for the program. No juvenile may enter the Animal Cruelty Early Intervention Program unless he or she and his or her parent or guardian consent. Any juvenile who does not successfully cooperate in and complete the Animal Cruelty Early Intervention Program shall be returned to the circuit court for further disposition as provided by section eleven-a or thirteen of this article, as the case may be.
(b)
The Department of Juvenile Services shall establish an Animal Cruelty Early Intervention Program. Services provided by the Department for Juvenile Services in the Animal Cruelty Early Intervention Program shall be consistent with the provisions of article five-b of this chapter and shall be designed to develop skills and supports within families and to resolve problems related to the juveniles who have engaged in animal cruelty. Services may include, but are not limited to, referral of juveniles and parents, guardians or custodians and other family members to services for psychiatric or other medical care, or psychological, welfare, legal, educational or other social services, as appropriate to the needs of the juvenile and his or her family.
(c) The effective date for this section is the first day of July, two thousand six.
CHAPTER 61. CRIMES AND THEIR PUNISHMENT.

ARTICLE 8. CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY AND DECENCY.
§61-8-19. Cruelty to animals; penalties; exclusions.

(a) If any person cruelly mistreats, abandons or withholds proper sustenance, including food, water, shelter or medical treatment, necessary to sustain normal health and fitness or to end suffering or abandons any animal to die, or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly leaves an animal unattended and confined in a motor vehicle when physical injury to or death of the animal is likely to result, or rides an animal when it is physically unfit, or baits or harasses any animal for the purpose of making it perform for a person's amusement, or cruelly chains any animal or uses, trains or possesses any domesticated animal for the purpose of seizing, detaining or maltreating any other domesticated animal, he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than three hundred nor more than one two thousand dollars or confined in the county or regional jail committed to a correctional facility not more than six months, or both so fined and confined committed.
For the purposes of this subsection, "cruelly chains" means attaching an animal to a stationary object or a pulley by means of a chain, rope, tether, leash, cable or other restraint under circumstances that may endanger its health or safety. "Cruelly chains" includes, but is not limited to, the use of a restraint: (1) The weight of which exceeds one-eighth the body weight of the animal; (2) that is too short for the animal to move around or for the animal to be able to urinate or defecate in an area separate from where it must eat, drink or lie down; or (3) that does not permit the animal access to food, water, shade, dry ground or shelter.
(b) If any person intentionally tortures, or mutilates or maliciously kills an animal, or causes, procures or authorizes any other person to torture, mutilate or maliciously kill an animal, he or she is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in a correctional facility not less than one nor more than three five years and be fined not less than one thousand dollars nor more than five thousand dollars. For the purposes of this subsection, "torture" means an action taken for the primary purpose of inflicting pain.
(c) Any person, other than a licensed veterinarian or a person acting under the direction or with the approval of a licensed veterinarian, who knowingly and willfully administers or causes to be administered to any animal participating in any contest any controlled substance or any other drug for the purpose of altering or otherwise affecting said animal's performance is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one five hundred nor more than one two thousand dollars.
(d) Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall forfeit his or her interest in any animal and all interest in the animal shall vest in the humane society or county pound of the county in which said the conviction was rendered and the person shall, in addition to any fine imposed, be liable for any costs incurred or to be incurred by the humane society or county pound as a result.
(e) For the purpose of this section, the term "controlled substance" shall have has the same meaning ascribed to it by subsection (d), section one hundred one, article one, chapter sixty-a of this code.
(f) The provisions of this section do not apply to lawful acts of hunting, fishing, trapping or animal training or farm livestock, poultry, gaming fowl or wildlife kept in private or licensed game farms if kept and maintained according to usual and accepted standards of livestock, poultry, gaming fowl or wildlife or game farm production and management, nor to humane use of animals or activities regulated under and in conformity with the provisions of 7 U. S. C. §2131, et seq., and the regulations promulgated thereunder, as both statutes and regulations are in effect on the effective date of this section.
(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, any person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of said subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be confined in the county or regional jail committed to a correctional facility for a period of not less than ninety days nor more than one year, fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than two three thousand dollars, or both. The incarceration set forth in this subsection shall be mandatory unless the provisions of subsection (h) of this section are complied with.
(h) (1) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, no person who has been convicted of a violation of the provisions of subsection (a) or (b) of this section may be granted probation until the defendant has undergone a complete psychiatric or psychological evaluation and the court has reviewed the evaluation. Unless the defendant is determined by the court to be indigent, he or she shall be responsible for the cost of said evaluation.
(2) For any person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) or subsection (b) of this section, the court may, in addition to the penalties provided in this section, impose a requirement that he or she complete a program of anger management intervention for perpetrators of animal cruelty. Unless the defendant is determined by the court to be indigent, he or she shall be responsible for the cost of the program.
(i) In addition to any other penalty which can be imposed for a violation of this section, a court shall prohibit any person so convicted from possessing, owning or residing with any animal or type of animal for a period of five years following entry of a misdemeanor conviction and fifteen years following entry of a felony conviction. A violation under this subsection is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars and forfeiture of the animal.
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