Defending Clients Against Federal Charges of Animal Cruelty
While animal cruelty has long been a crime in North Carolina, with the passing of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act in 2019, it is now a criminal act at the federal level, too. If you have been charged with harming an animal, either by the state of North Carolina or you are facing charges at the federal level, you need an experienced animal cruelty defense lawyer to fight on your behalf against these serious allegations.
At Sandman, Finn, and Fitzhugh, we’re dedicated to providing high-quality defense strategies to every client and will fight on your behalf in and out of court to help you get the most favorable outcome in your case. With over 60 years of combined experience and a track record of success on both sides of the aisle as both prosecutors and defense, you can feel confident that we will work tirelessly to get you justice.
If you’re facing a federal investigation into animal cruelty, call (919) 887-8040 to speak to a lawyer 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
Animal Cruelty in North Carolina
Animal cruelty charges in North Carolina are outlined in the General Statute under Chapter 14, Article 47. These laws protect livestock, domestic animals, wild animals, and all mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and other vertebrates.
If a person is found to intentionally harm, injure, or kill an animal, they will be convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor which includes fines and up to 120 days in jail. What constitutes harm or injury is very broad, and can include:
- Overdriving, overloading, or overworking an animal;
- Wounding, injuring, or killing an animal;
- Depriving sustenance;
- Procuring an animal for someone else to injure, harm, or kill it;
- Instigating or promoting injury or harm to an animal;
- Conveying or transporting animals in a cruel or inhumane manor;
- Restraining dogs in a cruel manner, such as using chain or wire in excess of safe restraint.
In the event that an owner or someone with custody of an animal, such as a pet sitter, abandons the animal willfully and without justifiable excuse, they may be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor. In more serious cases in which a person is found to act maliciously to kill, torture, beat, or disfigure an animal, they are guilty of a Class H felony.
Dogfighting and Baiting
Dog fighting and dog baiting is a Class H felony. This includes:
- Allowing your own dog to be used in dog fighting;
- Promoting a dog fight;
- Gambling or profiting on the activity;
- Leasing property for this activity;
- Owning, possessing, or training a dog to be used in baiting or fighting;
- Acting as a spectator;
Federal Animal Cruelty Laws
With the signing of the PACT Act in 2019, animal cruelty can now be tried in federal court. This new law makes it easier for the federal government to prosecute people accused of animal cruelty violations or depicting activities in the videos.
The PACT Act means that those convicted may face up to seven years in federal prison as well as exorbitant fines.
Why Work with a Federal Defense Attorney
The PACT Act now means that the Department of Justice has broad reach over animal cruelty cases, and what may start as a state charge can be turned over to federal prosecutors who have limitless resources to go after people they suspect of violating the PACT Act. Having an experienced, dedicated federal criminal defense attorney on your side means you have someone who can take on the Department of Justice, advocate on your behalf, and fight to ensure fair outcomes. At Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh, we represent clients in the Eastern District of North Carolina, including Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Greenville as well as Robeson County.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Animal Cruelty Defense Attorneys Today
If you’re facing state or federal charges of animal cruelty, you can’t go through this alone. You need experienced legal representation from the team at Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh. Reach out to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to speak with an attorney at (919) 887-8040 or fill out the form below to get started.