Animal Cruelty or Animal Fighting and Baiting Charges

Defending Cruelty to Animals or Animal Fighting and Baiting Criminal Charges in South Carolina

Animal fighting is the act of training animals to fight, usually to the death, for the purposes of entertainment. Frequently, this activity is linked to illegal money-making and gambling.  Several “animal cruelty” laws are designed to protect domesticated pets, stray animals, wild animals and farmed animals.

Until the 19th century, blood sports like bull baiting, bear baying, and cock fighting were common. In the middle of the 19th century, reform movements, which started in England, lobbied for animal welfare laws. These laws dictated animals were entitled to a certain level of care and treatment, and animal cruelty slowly became illegal in most developed countries.

Animal Cruelty Charges in South Carolina

According to South Carolina law Section 47-1-40, cruelty to animals can be defined as maliciously and intentionally maiming, wounding, torturing, mutilating a living animal, or maliciously and intentionally killing an animal.

Intentional and Negligent Mistreatment of Animals

There are two basic types of animal cruelty, the intentional mistreatment of animals and the negligent mistreatment of animals.

Intentionally inflicted cruelty to animals is generally considered violent and deliberate animal abuse, for example:

Negligent cruelty to animals is failing to provide adequate care, for example:

  • Failing to treat a pet’s wounds or illness
  • Failing to provide water or food
  • Failing to providing sanitary living conditions
  • Failing to provide adequate shelter

Penalties for Cruelty to Animals in South Carolina

Depending on whether your action or inaction was negligent or malicious in nature, you could be found guilty of a felony or a misdemeanor.

  • Felony: Jail sentence minimum of 188 days and a max of 5 years, and $5,000 fine.
  • Misdemeanor (first offense): Jail sentence max 90 days, or a fine of minimum $100 or maximum $1,000, or both.
  • Misdemeanor (second and subsequent offense): Jail sentence max 2 years, or a fine of $2,000, or both.

Animal Fighting and Baiting Charges in South Carolina

Dog fighting is now illegal in all 50 states. The federal government also prohibits dog fighting, when the illegal activity occurs over state lines.  While dog fighting is often covered under laws against animal cruelty, it has garnered more attention due to its violent and brutal nature.

Animal cruelty is the most apparent negative aspect of dog fighting, but it is also linked to organized crime and other illegal activities.

According to South Carolina law Section 16-27-30, animal fighting and baiting is defined as any person who: owns an animal for the purpose of fighting or baiting, participates or causes any fighting or baiting of an animal, obtains by any means any structure to be used for the purpose of fighting or baiting any animal, allowing or permitting access to any structure with knowledge that it would be used for the purpose of fighting or baiting any animal.

Penalties for Animal Fighting and Baiting

A person convicted of animal fighting or baiting is guilty of a felony and upon conviction is fined $5,000, or faces a 5 year jail sentence, or both.

You can be charged with animal fighting and baiting if it occurred on your property or if you were even in attendance, even if you had no direct involvement. Dog fighting and other forms of animal fighting can sometimes be pursued in federal court.  The consequences of dog fighting as a federal crime are typically much more severe than a South Carolina charge for the same crime. Give us a call today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800

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Juries can be sensitive and react emotionally when presented evidence of harm to animals, especially domestic animals like dogs or cats. South Carolina judges have not hesitated in sentencing defendants to state prison for the abuse of animals—these cases are taken very seriously.  If you aren’t sure exactly what type of defense will best suit your case, call the Strom Law Firm, LLC to discuss your case.

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