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Animal Cruelty – A Growing Problem In West Palm Beach

Animal cruelty covers a wide range of crimes against many different kinds of animals. Basically, there are two categories of animal cruelty – passive (neglect) or active (intentional) – and there are many examples: starvation, dehydration, confinement, inadequate shelter, hoarding, puppy mills, illegal slaughterhouses, untreated wounds and dog fighting and baiting. All kinds of animals can be harmed – dogs, cats, horses, cattle, pigs, goats – even parakeets.

Why is it a growing problem in Palm Beach County? There are several reasons. The bad economy has made it difficult for people to care for their pets so they neglect or abandon them. People have always profited from dog fighting and puppy mills – and it has become more common in tough economic times. There is also a “macho” glamorization with dog fighting – especially with pit bulls. This may be associated with the increase of gangs in Palm Beach County. There is no logical reason for the most serious charge – intentional animal cruelty which may include mutilation, torture or hanging. People in this category usually undergo psychological evaluation.

The MacDonald Triad

Cruelty to animals is one of three main components of the MacDonald Triad. This formula was developed in order to find personality traits in an individual that can lead to more violent crimes against society. The Macdonald Triad (also known as the “Triad of Sociopathy”) is a set of behavioral traits that are associated with sociopathic behavior. It links animal cruelty, obsession with fire setting, and persistent bedwetting after the age of five to future violent behaviors. Last month, police were summoned to a house in Orlando and found several emaciated and injured dogs and one dead dog that had been cut open. Two suspects were charged – they were 10 and 12 year old boys.

Florida Animal Cruelty Laws

Animals are given the same humane treatment and protection from exploitation and abuse that humans are. The animal cruelty laws in Florida vary from civil infractions to felonies. Maximum jail time for animal cruelty in Florida is 5 years and fines can be as high as $10,000.

If there are any doubts about the seriousness of animal cruelty charges – look back at Michael Vick, the NFL football star. In 2007, he pleaded guilty to felony charges of running a dog fighting ring for 6 years. The case drew widespread publicity due to his fame and the gruesome details about the operation, including how underperforming dogs were executed by hanging and electrocution. Michael Vick ended up serving 21 months in prison.

Animal Cruelty Defense

Have you been accused of neglect or cruelty towards an animal in Palm Beach County? You need to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer who will advise you on the statutes and law pertaining to your charges.

Defense in animal cases involves a thorough investigation and expert testimony from veterinarians and other animal owners as to what the community standard is for taking care of animals, or psychological counseling depending on the severity of the charge. Attorneys who have experience in animal cruelty use these basic defense strategies to help clients avoid charges and fines associated with their crime.

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