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How Does Virginia Define & Punish Crimes Against Animals?

Cows

Virginia law provides a number of protections for the health and safety of animals — from companion pets like dogs or cats to livestock like cows or poultry. Any person who mistreats animals in violation of Virginia law can face severe criminal penalties, including confinement in jail and steep fines. Though the exact nature of the criminal punishment fluctuates based on the type of animal crime in question.

Class 1 Misdemeanor Animal Crimes

As established in Code of Virginia Section 403.1, certain crimes against animals qualify as Class 1 misdemeanors. Any person convicted for this type of misdemeanor can spend 12 months in jail and pay $2,500 in fines.

Animal crimes that rise to the level of Class 1 misdemeanors include:

  • Cruelty to animals in violation of Code of Virginia Section 3.2-6570;
  • Improper transportation of animals in violation of Code of Virginia Section 3.2-6508;
  • False claims of damage to livestock in violation of Code of Virginia Section 3.2-6553;
  • Improper management of animal boarding or grooming establishments in violation of Code of Virginia Section 3.2-6518; or
  • Abandonment of animals in violation of Code of Virginia Section 3.2-6504.

Class 3 Misdemeanor Animal Crimes

As detailed in Code of Virginia Section 403.2, certain crimes against animals qualify as Class 3 misdemeanors. Any person convicted for this type of misdemeanor can expect a maximum punishment of $500 in criminal fines.

Animal crimes that rise to the level of Class 3 misdemeanors include:

  • Failure to provide adequate animal care by shopkeeper or dealer in violation of Code of Virginia Section 3.2-6511;
  • Misrepresentation of animal condition by shopkeeper or dealer in violation of Code of Virginia Section 3.2-6509;
  • Sale of baby fowl(s) in violation of Code of Virginia Section 3.2-6510;
  • Improper treatment of horses in violation of Code of Virginia Section 3.2-6570; or
  • Failure by boarding establishment to provide proper notice in violation of Code of Virginia Section 3.2-6519.

Class 4 Misdemeanor Animal Crimes

As underlined in Code of Virginia Section 403.3, certain crimes against animals qualify as Class 4 misdemeanors. Any person convicted for this type of misdemeanor can expect a maximum punishment of $250 in criminal fines.

Animal crimes that rise to the level of Class 4 misdemeanors include:

  • Shooting pigeons in violation of Code of Virginia Section 3.2-6573;
  • Improper disposal of a deceased companion animal in violation of Code of Virginia Section 3.2-6554;
  • Failure to leash a dog in violation of Code of Virginia Section 3.2-6539;
  • Failure to pay required animal taxes in violation of Code of Virginia Section 3.2-6530.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you need legal help with charges for an animal crime in Virginia, it can be decidedly helpful to consult with an experienced Leesburg criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP have an abundance of legal experience with various criminal charges, including animal crimes. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.

https://www.simmsshowerslaw.com/what-is-the-meaning-of-malicious-wounding-under-virginia-law/

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Simms Showers LLP is conveniently located two blocks from the Loudoun County Courthouse. Our criminal defense firm offers a free phone consultation for criminal or personal injury cases. Se habla español. Call Simms Showers LLP for quality legal counsel today at 703-997-7821 or contact us online.

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