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Animal Cruelty in Las Vegas


More than being frowned upon, animal cruelty is actually punishable in most of the world and that does not exclude Las Vegas and the rest of the State. Nevada actually has a stringent focus of curbing animal cruelty. In 2016, there is a significant decrease in cases of animal cruelty in Las Vegas thanks to the efforts of the Metropolitan Police Department and the entire community.

Of course, this is established by the Nevada Revised Statutes which has a dedicated section about animal cruelty and if you are currently facing false accusations regarding the matter, this article should help you understand the penalties it possesses and what steps you can take with your Las Vegas criminal defense attorney to avoid them.

What is animal cruelty in Las Vegas according to the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS)?

According to NRS 574.100, a person shall not torture, abuse, and neglect any animal treated as a companion like a cat or a dog whether it belongs to the particular person or by other people. Forms of cruelty are maiming, mutilating, and killing the animal as well as depriving them of food and shelter, beating them, and abandoning them.

You also cannot restrain a dog for 14 hours in a day and especially not with leashes or collars that will hurt or injure them. Animal fights that involve dogs and birds are also prohibited and not to mention poisoning them or selling them when they are disabled. Interference with police animals like K-9s to the point that they become disabled and killed is similarly illegal.

Domestic violence also has a major link with animal cruelty in Las Vegas. Abusers often start with being cruel to the animals before their family members or vice versa. If there is domestic violence, there could also be animal cruelty.

In short, any form of ill-treatment you could think that can be done to an animal is treated as animal cruelty in Las Vegas and Nevada. Similar to wildlife crimes in the State, it is a complex matter so it is best that you gear yourself with information regarding it.

What are the penalties for animal cruelty in Nevada?

Overloading, torturing, beating, and killing animals, along with using them for unauthorized hunting, having them participate in contests and exhibits that harm them, and overall neglect of their needs is punishable by misdemeanor in Nevada, at least for the first time in seven years. This has penalties of imprisonment in detention facilities like the Clark County Detention Center for two days up to six months, 48 hours to 120 hours of community service, and fines that range from $200 to $1,000.

For a second violation within seven years, it is still misdemeanor albeit with increased penalties: imprisonment of ten days to six months, community service of not less than 100 hours but no more than 200 hours, and fines of $500 to $1,000.

Now it is category C felony if the violation was made for the third time in seven years. The defendant will have to face one to five years in prison and a fine that does not exceed $10,000.

These penalties are only for general animal cruelty violations in Las Vegas. For related offenses such as mistreating police animals, abandonment of a disabled animal, letting a horse run on a highway, and even carrying an animal in a violent way, you can read the official NRS publication.

What are the defenses against false animal cruelty accusations?

First off, you will need the help of a criminal defense attorney to come up with defenses to save you from punishments of animal cruelty in Las Vegas. There are many nooks and crannies in this legal subject and you would be surprised at what is considered animal abuse.

Defenses that you should try to study to justify your innocence are the following:

  • No intention to harm or kill the animal – This is the common case for many defendants. For example, it was an accident that you hit the animal with your car.
  • It was self-defense – The animal was rabid or wild and you have no other choice than to harm or kill it to save yourself or other people.
  • The animal is not covered by the law – You could also argue that the animal is not protected by any of the laws in Nevada.

Chapter 574.050 of the Nevada Revised Statutes defined animals as living creatures meaning there exists Nevada animal rights similar to ours and if you violate them, expect that you will find yourself battling very heavy charges. Conversely, if you do not mean any form of animal cruelty in Las Vegas but is falsely accused of it, it is also your absolute right to defend yourself.

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