Senate Bill No. 205
(By Senators Kessler, McKenzie, Edgell, Bowman, Rowe, Prezioso,
Hunter, Unger, Plymale, Sprouse, Minear and White)
[Introduced January 22, 2003; referred to the Committee on the
A BILL to amend and reenact section twelve, article twenty, chapter
nineteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended; and to amend and reenact
section nineteen, article eight, chapter sixty-one of said
code, all relating to modifying the criminal intent
requirement for animal cruelty crimes; increasing the fine
applicable to convicted persons; eliminating the civil
recovery limitation of the assessed value of a dog; creating
a felony offense for intentionally torturing or maliciously
killing animals; and mandating that persons convicted of
animal cruelty be prohibited from possessing, owning or
residing with animals for varying periods depending on whether
the person is convicted of a misdemeanor or felony.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section twelve, article twenty, chapter nineteen of the
code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, be amended and reenacted; and that section nineteen,
article eight, chapter sixty-one of said code be amended and
reenacted, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 19. AGRICULTURE.
ARTICLE 20. DOGS AND CATS.
§19-20-12. Dogs, other animals and reptiles protected by law;
unlawful killing thereof; aggrieved owner's remedy;
penalties; penalties for unlawful stealing of
(a) Any dog which is registered, kept and controlled as
provided in this article or any dog, cat or other animal or any
reptile which is owned, kept and maintained as a
animal by any person, irrespective of age, shall be is protected by
law; and, except as otherwise authorized by law, any person who
shall intentionally, knowingly or recklessly and unlawfully kill,
injure, or poison any such dog, cat, other animal, or any reptile
as specified above, or shall, in any other manner, intentionally
and unlawfully cause the death or injury of any such dog, cat,
other animal or any reptile shall be is guilty of a misdemeanor
and, upon conviction thereof, shall be ordered to provide public
service for not less than thirty nor more than ninety days or fined
not more less than three hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, or both. However, this section does not apply to a dog
who is killed while attacking a person, a companion animal or
livestock. Any person whose dog, cat, other animal or reptile as
specified herein shall be is killed or injured wrongfully or
unlawfully by any other person shall have a right of action against
the person who shall so kill or injure such any dog, cat, animal or
reptile. but in no case involving a dog can recovery be had in
excess of the assessed value of such dog.
(b) Any person who shall intentionally and unlawfully steal a
dog, cat, other animal or reptile as specified in subsection (a) of
shall be is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon
conviction thereof, shall be ordered to provide public service for
not less than thirty nor more than ninety days or fined not less
than three hundred nor more than five hundred dollars, or both.
Any person violating the provisions of this subsection shall, for
second or subsequent offense, be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon
conviction thereof, shall be confined in the county or regional
jail for a period of not less than ninety days nor more than six
months, or shall be ordered to provide public service for not more
than one year, and fined not less than one thousand dollars. In no
case can any action or prosecution relating to a dog under the
provisions of this section be maintained if the dog concerned shall
not have been duly registered pursuant to the provisions of this
article or owned and kept pursuant to the provisions of this section or owned and kept pursuant to the provisions of this
section at the time the cause of action shall have arisen.
(c) The commissioner of agriculture is hereby authorized to
such a reasonable number of his present employees as may
be necessary to investigate alleged incidents of the unlawful
stealing of dogs, other domestic animals or reptiles, alleged
incidents of cruelty to such animals or reptiles and the alleged
incidents of the unlawful stealing of such animals or reptiles for
the purpose of sale to medical or other research companies. Such
The deputies shall make the results of their investigations known
to any law-enforcement officers who have authority to enforce the
provisions of this article.
(d) It shall be the duty of all members of the
public safety West Virginia state police, sheriffs and police
officers to aid in the enforcement of the provisions of this
article and, for services rendered in the enforcement thereof, such
persons shall be entitled to fees in the amounts set forth in
section eight. Such The fees shall be paid by the county
commission from the dog and kennel fund.
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 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
one three hundred nor more than one thousand
dollars or confined in the county or regional jail not more than
six months, or both so fined and confined.
(b) If any person intentionally tortures or maliciously kills
an 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 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.
(b) (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.
(c) (d) Any person convicted of a violation of this section
shall forfeit his or her interest in any such animal and all
interest in such the animal shall vest in the humane society or
county pound of the county in which said conviction was rendered
and such 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.
(d) (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
(e) (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 such statutes and regulations are
in effect on the effective date of this section.
(f) (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 one two thousand dollars, or both.
The incarceration set forth in this subsection shall be mandatory
unless the provisions of subsection (g) (h) are complied with.
(g) (h) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the
contrary, no person who has been convicted of a second or
subsequent 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 such 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.
(h) (i) In addition to any other penalty which can be imposed
for a violation of this section, a court may, as a condition of
probation, shall prohibit any person so convicted from possessing,
or owning or residing with any animal or type of animal during the
period of probation. 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.