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Simplified Law: Cruelty to Animals Charges in Denver

Posted by Kyle B. Sawyer | Jun 05, 2014 | 0 Comments

In this week's installment of “Simplified Law,” we'll take a look at the crime of Cruelty to Animals – C.R.S. 18-9-202. Whenever people hear about this crime in the news, they think of evil people who abuse animals. Fortunately – this isn't usually the case. Unfortunately – many innocent people face Cruelty to Animals charges in Denver, Adams, and Jefferson County. Let's dig deeper into this crime in order to understand it better.

The Lawyer's Definition of Cruelty to Animals

The legal jargon:

This is the definition of Cruelty to Animals from the Colorado statute. As usual, the law is complicated and confusing:

“A person commits cruelty to animals if he or she knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence overdrives, overloads, overworks, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beats, allows to be housed in or upon any vehicles in a cruel or reckless manner, engages in a sexual act with an animal, or otherwise mistreats or neglects any animal, or causes or procures it to be done, or, having the charge or custody of any animal, fails to provide it with proper food, drink, or protection from the weather consistent with the species, breed, and type of animal involved or abandons an animal.”

The Simplified Definition of Cruelty to Animals

The simplified version:

“Aperson will be charged with Cruelty to Animals if they knowingly or recklessly harm, injure, kill, neglect, or mistreat an animal.”

As you can see, the full definition of Cruelty to Animals leaves no stone left unturned. If law enforcement agencies in Arapahoe, Douglas, or El Paso County believe you are harming an animal (by their definition, which is subjective), they have the right to take the animal away and you will face Cruelty to Animals charges.

Facing Cruelty to Animals charges?

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Examples of Cruelty to Animals Charges

We often see Animal Cruelty cases where a person has left a dog in a car during the summer, when the temperature is too high. We also see these charges when outside dogs have tipped over their water dish or wrapped themselves up on a leash or chain. In some cases, the police are called to a home for another crime, and upon entering they see that an animal is skinny and surmise that it is “not well fed.” Letting an Animal Control officer into your home is unwise. Speaking with them is like giving information to the police. It is always advisable to remain silent, and keep Animal Control officers out of your home or yard.

What is the Sentence for Cruelty to Animals?

A common example of Animal Cruelty charges, is when an owner leaves their dog in the car.

A common example of Animal Cruelty charges, is when an owner leaves their dog in the car.

The sentences for Cruelty to Animals ranges from class 1 misdemeanor (which carries a jail sentence of up to 18 months) to a class 5 felony (which carries a prison sentence of up to 3 years). At the very least, people who are convicted of Cruelty to Animals may face a long probation sentence.

Why You Need an Attorney for Cruelty to Animals Charges

If you have been charged with Cruelty to animals, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Criminal charges, whether misdemeanor or felony, only hurt your future. Don't plead guilty to avoid jail time – work with an attorney who can help you understand the charges you are facing and can create a strong game plan to protect you in court. Don't pay a heavy price because you feel like you can defend yourself or use an over-worked public defender. Your future is worth the investment of a good criminal defense attorney.

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If you or a loved one has been charged with Cruelty to Animals, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the O'Malley Law Office at 303-830-0880 for a free consultation. Together, we can protect your future.Request a Free Consultation

Image courtesy of Photokanok /

About the Author

Kyle B. Sawyer

I have a passion for defending others in criminal cases. I am able to empathize with my clients and understand their emotions and fears. I have a unique perspective on the criminal justice system and I understand what it feels like to be wrongly accused of a crime.


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If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in the Denver area, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact the top criminal defense lawyers at Sawyer Legal Group, LLC at 303-830-0880. Together, we can protect your future. Request a Free Consultation

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