In the State of Florida, “any person who unnecessarily overloads, overdrives, torments, deprives of necessary sustance or shelter, or unnecessarily mutilates, or kills any animal, or causes the same to be done, or carries in or upon any vehicle, or otherwise, any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner, commits animal cruelty”, a misdemeanor of the first degree, which is punishable by up to one year and jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
Furthermore, “a person who intentionally commits an act to any animal, or a person who owns or has the custody or control of any animal and fails to act, which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering, or causes same to be done, commits aggrivated animal cruelty, a felony of the third degree” punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Certain violations under this statute also result in a minimum fine of $2,500 and require the accused to attend counseling sessions. A person convicted of a second violation under this law is subject to a minimum fine of $5,000 and must serve a minimum mandatory sentence of six (6) months in jail.
It is also important to understand that each individual act may be charged as a separate offense under this law.
If you are accused of animal cruelty it is important that you contact an attorney to discuss your case before you go to court. An experienced attorney may be able to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed depending on the facts. This could help you avoid a criminal conviction and avoid the mandatory fines associated with certain convictions under this statute.