While animal abuse charges are less serious than many crimes against humans, many jury members see the creatures as innocent victims, meaning it is critical anyone facing these types of accusations immediately contact a skilled San Diego animal abuse attorney. This is particularly true considering that California has some of the strictest animal protection laws in the nation, covering not only pets, but also wildlife, strays and farmed animals.
About Animal Abuse Charges in California
Animal neglect charges involve gross negligence in the care of animals, while animal cruelty charges arise from maliciously maiming, wounding or killing an animal. Both charges are wobblers, which means they can be either misdemeanors or felonies and a San Diego animal cruelty attorney may be able to ensure the charges are brought up as misdemeanors to minimize the potential sentence you may face.
In fact, in California, you can even be arrested and charged with animal abuse for leaving your dog in your car without any drinking water -even if you did so in cool weather and only left the vehicle for a few minutes.
Not All Accused Abusers Are Guilty
While these laws are intended to help protect animals, they often neglect the realities of pet ownership, pest control and farm life. In many cases, they result in the prosecution of people who genuinely believe they did nothing wrong.
In many cases, persons accused of animal abuse or neglect are actually loving pet owners who either made a mistake in judgement or were simply caught at a bad time. In some instances, people go on vacation and hire a pet sitter, only to learn later that the person they left in charge of their pets was not actually responsible enough to take care of a pet. Occasionally, pet owners will be accused of leaving an animal without water just because the pet knocked over their own water while the owner was away.
Fighting These Charges
Even if you think the accusations against you are merely misunderstandings though, it is still critical you work with a San Diego animal abuse attorney as soon as police have accused you of abuse or things you may say while attempting to defend yourself may end up being used against you later on.
In some cases, alleged animal abusers were actually acting to protect themselves or their loved ones from a dangerous wild or stray animal. In these cases, your San Diego animal abuse attorney can help you show that you acted in self-defense, which is a strong argument against animal abuse, just as it is against similar acts against humans.
If you have been accused of animal abuse or neglect, whether or not you feel the accusations are legitimate, please contact a San Diego animal abuse attorney as soon as possible in order to ensure your rights are protected. Please schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss by calling (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 today.
Image Courtesy of Juan Pedro Diez