Over the last five weeks, multiple cats have been found injured after being shot with a pellet gun within a two mile radius in Oakland and officials are on the lookout for a serial cat shooter. The news is highly upsetting not just for local cat owners, but for animal lovers everywhere -and that’s why it’s a good time to review the challenges associated with fighting charges like those this individual will face if caught. This is why it is so important to always hire a top Oceanside animal abuse defense lawyer if you have been accused of hurting an animal.
Animal Abuse Charges in California
In California, it is illegal to maliciously, intentionally or cruelly maim, mutilate, torture, wound or kill an animal. Obviously shooting cats with a pellet gun would fit under the definition of animal cruelty. This crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. As a misdemeanor, you can face up to one year in jail and $20,000 in fines. As a felony, the penalties can include up to three years in prison and the same hefty fine.
In many cases, an Oceanside violent crimes attorney can help those facing felony animal abuse charges by negotiating a plea bargain that ensures the defendant only face misdemeanor charges. While some less serious cases of animal abuse are unlikely to result in incarceration, such as when someone negligently leaves their pet without food or water while they go on a short trip, convictions for cases like this one where someone has willingly injured animals will very frequently result in prison terms. That is particularly true in high profile cases like this one when animals lost their lives.
Challenges Involved in Fighting Animal Abuse Accusations
Unfortunately, animal abuse charges can be particularly difficult to fight, which is why it is so important to work with an experienced Oceanside animal cruelty defense attorney. There are many reasons this is the case. For one, people tend to think of most animals as helpless, defenseless and cute. That often means that it can be easier to defend against charges of abuse against a not-so-cute condor or a very-able-to-defend-itself mountain lion than a domestic cat.
Additionally, people often think of their pets like their children, so hurting a cat or dog is often seen by the public in a similar light as hurting a child. This can make it particularly difficult for those going in front of a jury to ensure a fair trial, although judges can be unwittingly affected by these as well. Your chances of a fair trail may be made more difficult if the matter is covered in the news and animal abuse cases often attract media attention drawing public criticism of the alleged offender.
Finally, the fact that animal abuse is frequently a precursor to violence against humans means that prosecutors, juries and judges often believe they may be keeping their communities safer by convicting and issuing lengthy sentences to those accused of animal abuse.
If you have been accused of animal abuse, it is critical you contact an Oceanside violent crimes lawyer with experience handling these types of cases. You can schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss by calling (760) 643-4050 today. Mr. Liss has successfully represented defendants in high profile media cases of animal abuse and he can help you too.
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