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Introduced Version Senate Bill 588 History

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sb588 intr
Senate Bill No. 588

(By Senators Unger and Hunter)

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[Introduced March 18, 2005; referred to the Committee

on the Judiciary; and then to the Committee on Finance.]

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A BILL to amend 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, §61-8-19a, §61-8-19b and §61-8-20 of said code, all relating to expanding the definition of "animal cruelty"; instituting stronger penalties for animal cruelty; providing for an early intervention program for youths who engage in animal cruelty; and allowing judges to require that offenders complete an anger management program.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §61-8-19, §61-8-19a, §61-8-19b and §61-8-20 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §49-5-13f, all to read as follows:
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, intentionally, knowingly or recklessly leaves an animal unattended and confined in a motor vehicle and physical injury to or death of the animal is likely to result, or drives, rides, or otherwise uses the animal when unfit for labor, or overdrives, drives when overloaded or overworks such animal or fights with or baits, harasses or worries any animal for the purpose of making it perform for amusement, diversion or exhibition, cruelly chains 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 not more than six months one year, or both so fined and confined.
"Cruelly chains" means attaching an animal to a stationary object or a pulley by means of a chain, rope, tether, leash, cable, or similar restraint under circumstances that may endanger its health, safety, or well-being. "Cruelly chains" includes, but is not limited to, the use of a chain, rope, tether, leash, cable. or similar restraint that: (1) Exceeds one-eighth the body weight of the animal; (2) causes the animal to choke; (3) is too short for the animal to move around or for the animal to urinate or defecate in a separate area from the area where it must eat, drink, or lie down; (4) is situated where it can become entangles; (5) does not permit the animal access to food, water, shade, dry ground, or shelter; or (6) does not permit the animal to escape harm.
(b) If any person intentionally tortures, maims, mutilates, wounds or maliciously kills an animal, intentionally or knowingly harms, interferes with or kills a working or service animal, intentionally or knowingly allows any dog that is under the person's custody or control to interfere with, kill or cause physical injury to a working or service animal, recklessly allows any dog that is under the person's custody or control to interfere with, kill or cause physical injury to a working or service animal, intentionally or knowingly obtains or exerts unauthorized control over a working or service animal with the intent to deprive the service animal handler of the service animal, or causes, procures or authorizes any other person to torture 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. In addition to the penalties set forth above, any person who is convicted of any of the provisions involving working or service animals shall be liable to the owner for the costs of replacing or training the animal if he or she kills it or renders it unusable as well as any veterinary costs incurred as a result of such action and to the owner or agency that owns a working or service animal for the salary of the handler for the period of time that the handler's services are lost to the owner's agency. For the purposes of this subsection: "Torture" means an action taken for the primary purpose of inflicting pain "including the failure to provide food and water to a companion animal resulting in a substantial risk of death or death"; to the definition of torture. "Service animal" means an animal that has completed a formal training program, that assists its owner in one or more daily living tasks that are associated with a productive lifestyle and that is trained to not pose a danger to the health and safety of the general public; "working animal" means a dog or horse that is used by a law- enforcement agency, that is specially trained for law-enforcement work and that is under the control of a handler; "handler" means a law-enforcement officer or any other person who has successfully completed a course of training prescribed by the person's agency or the service animal owner and who used a specially trained animal under the direction of the person's agency or the service animal owner.
(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 hundred nor more than one thousand dollars or confined in jail for not less than ten nor more than sixty days, or both fined and confined.
(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 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 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 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) are complied with.
(h) 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.
(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.
(j) For any person convicted of a violation of this section, on or after the first day of July, two thousand six, 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.
§61-8-19a. Animal fighting ventures prohibited.
(a) It is unlawful for any person to engage in, be employed at, or sell an admission to any animal fighting venture.
(b) Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one hundred thousand dollars and not more than one five thousand dollars, or confined in the county jail imprisoned not exceeding one year not more than five years, or both so fined and confined imprisoned, and may shall be divested of ownership and control of such animals, and be liable for all costs for their care, and maintenance or destruction: Provided, That if the animal is a wild animal, game animal or fur-bearing animal, as defined in section two, article one, chapter twenty of this code, or wildlife not indigenous to West Virginia, or of a canine, feline, porcine, bovine, or equine species whether wild or domesticated, the person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one thousand dollars and not more than five ten thousand dollars, and imprisoned in a state correctional facility for not less than one nor more than five years, or both fined and imprisoned.
§61-8-19b. Attendance at animal fighting ventures prohibited; penalty.

(a) It is unlawful for any person to knowingly attend an animal fighting venture involving animals as provided in subsections (a) and (b), section nineteen-a, article eight of this chapter.
(b) Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one three hundred dollars and not more than one two thousand dollars, or confined in the county or regional jail not more than one year, or both fined and imprisoned.
§61-8-20. Keeping or using live birds to be shot at; penalty.
Whoever keeps or uses a live bird to be shot at either for amusement or as a test of skill in marksmanship, or shoots at a bird kept or used as aforesaid, or is a party to such shooting, or lets any building, room, field, or premises, or knowingly permits the use thereof, for the purpose of such shooting, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than fifty ten dollars per bird or one hundred dollars whichever is greater, or by imprisonment for not more than one month, or by both. Nothing herein contained shall apply to the shooting of wild game.
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) Services provided by the Department for Juvenile Services in the Animal Cruelty Early Intervention Program must 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) If necessary, the Department may petition the circuit court for a valid court order, as defined in section four, article one of this chapter, to enforce compliance with a service plan or to restrain actions that interfere with or defeat a service plan.
(d) The effective date for this section is the first day of July, two thousand six.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to expand the definition of animal cruelty, institute stronger penalties for animal cruelty, and provide for an early intervention program for youths who engage in animal cruelty and allowing judges to require that offenders enter an anger management program.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

§49-5-13f is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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