Most people are against animal abuse, especially when it involves a cute puppy or kitty. But many people believe that when it comes to “pest” animals, such as rats, seagulls, pigeons and opossums don’t deserve the same protections under the law. In fact, animal abuse laws in CA allow you to be charged with animal cruelty or even other crimes for harming these animals in many cases. If you have been accused of abusing animals or have any questions about these laws, please call Oceanside animal abuse lawyer Peter M. Liss as soon as possible.
Animal Abuse Laws in CA and Pests
While there are some cases where it is legal to kill bothersome and dangerous animals, this only applies when the animals have been determined to be dangerous to life, limb or property. In other words, if a creature has been known to bite people, kill pets, carry dangerous diseases or destroy personal property, you can probably kill it. This is why almost any Oceanside animal abuse lawyer you ask will say it’s legal to kill rats, gophers and even opossums in California.
Exceptions to the Rule
That being said, most birds in the U.S. are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Act of 1918, which makes it illegal to hunt, capture, sell or kill birds or any part of a bird that is considered to be migratory (including their eggs). Of the just over 1100 bird species in the U.S., 800 are protected by this law, including many species of seagulls and pigeons. It is legal to obtain a permit to be excluded from this law in certain circumstances, for example, if a bird is causing a dangerous situation at an airport, it may be possible to capture or even kill the animals. Failure to obtain a permit before harming a bird protected by the act can open you up to federal criminal charges.
In other words, if you can, it’s best to leave pesty birds alone. If they absolutely can’t be ignored though, you’re best off speaking with a professional who can identify the species and if they’re protected by the Migratory Bird Act, you’ll need to contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to obtain a permit before you take action.
How You Exterminate Pests Matters
Assuming the animal you’re attempting to kill is not protected by the Migratory Bird Act, while you can kill an animal that is considered dangerous to life, limb or property, you can’t do so in a particularly malicious or cruel manner, including starving, beating or dehydrating the creature to death. Additionally, intentionally maiming, mutilating, torturing or wounding the animal without killing it is against the law.
Obviously using a trap or poison to kill the animal is legal even if it fails and hurts the creature, as long as you did not do so on purpose and you act as quickly and humanely as possible to put the creature out of its misery after you notice it is alive and still suffering. Of course, while chances are you won’t be caught for enjoying killing rats in a rat trap that lets them suffer, it’s still worth knowing that it is illegal. That’s especially true if you’re the kind of person who feels inclined to put things on social media that might leave you behind bars.
Both ethically and legally, if you ask almost any Oceanside animal abuse lawyer he or she will agree that it’s generally best to exterminate pests in the most humane way possible. Failure to do so could potentially result in jail or prison time as well as massive fines.
If you have been accused of animal abuse of any type, please call Oceanside animal abuse lawyer Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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