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Is Hoarding Considered Animal Cruelty?

animal-law-lawyer-south-florida_180x120Florida animal cruelty laws state very specifically that anyone who deprives necessary sustenance or shelter or treats any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. So how does animal hoarding fit into this description? Charging an animal hoarder with animal cruelty can be tricky because people have the right to live the way they want. The issue is proving that the hoarder’s living conditions is a direct threat to the health or life of the animal(s) in question. Several cases have been surfacing recently after the show “Confessions: Animal Hoarding” on Animal Planet has gained the attention of the populous.

Florida Animal Cruelty Laws

According to Statute 828.12: A person who unnecessarily overloads, overdrives, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance 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, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by time in prison, by a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.

Animal Hoarding in Palm Beach County

Several cases of animal hoarding have been surfacing lately in Palm Beach County. According to WPTV News, Animal Care and Control crews spent two weeks removing nearly 50 cats living in a home in Sherwood Lakes.

The article states:

The manicured lawn and a back yard opening onto a lake belied the stacks of garbage bags and stench of urine inside the Sherwood Lakes home. Scores of cats scaled the trash heaps in what investigators are calling the biggest recent case of animal hoarding in Palm Beach County.

The townhome owner’s living conditions were realized when she was hospitalized due to medical problems and she asked authorities to look after them. Authorities found two dead cats and 45 alive. Animal Care and Control Capt. David Walesky said the home’s conditions were “very, very deplorable,” according to the article and that it may be the worst hoarding case every seen in Palm Beach County.

Animal Care and Control is receiving more calls about hoarding as more people learn about the problem.

Animal Cruelty Defense

While animal hoarding is not in itself a crime, it is a mental condition that makes the hoarder believe he or she is not doing anything wrong and is in total control of the situation. The only way animal hoarding can be charged as animal cruelty is if the health or life of the animals is being threatened by the neglect of the owner, or the conditions the owner chooses to have the animals live in. If you have been charged with animal cruelty, contact a criminal defense lawyer today.

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