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Home / New York Criminal Law Articles / New York Animal Cruelty Defense Lawyer

New York Animal Cruelty Defense Lawyer

Animal cruelty is a serious criminal offense in New York. It can even be charged as a felony with a penalty including up to two years in prison. Unfortunately, misunderstandings or overzealous prosecution can lead to someone being unjustly charged and prosecuted for animal cruelty. Before you let that happen to you, contact a skilled and experienced New York criminal defense lawyer at Dupée & Monroe, P.C., in Goshen, providing smart, strong and strategic defense in Orange County and the Hudson Valley.

Section 353: Overdriving, Torturing, and Injuring Animals; Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance

Under NY Agriculture & Markets Law section 353, it is illegal to overdrive, overload, torture, cruelly beat, or unjustifiably injure, maim, mutilate, or kill any animal. This law applies to any animal, whether wild or tame, and whether it belongs to the person or someone else. The law also mandates proper sustenance, including food and water. It’s a crime to deprive an animal of sustenance or neglect or refuse to furnish it.

To secure a conviction under section 353, the prosecution must prove the following elements:

  1. Intentional Act: The defendant’s actions were intentional, willful or reckless. This includes harming the animal personally or otherwise allowing or permitting such harm to occur.
  2. Harm to the Animal: The act resulted in overdriving, torture, injury, or failure to provide proper sustenance to the animal.

Section 353 is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, and a conviction can result in any of the following:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • Probation
  • Community service
  • Mandatory animal cruelty prevention programs

Section 353-a: Aggravated Cruelty to Animals

Section 353-a addresses aggravated cruelty, defined as conduct intended to cause extreme physical pain or the death of a pet (a “companion animal”) carried out in an especially depraved or sadistic manner.

For a conviction under section 353-a, the prosecution must establish:

  1. Intent to Cause Extreme Pain or Death: The defendant acted with the intent to inflict severe pain or kill the animal without any justifiable purpose.
  2. Depraved or Sadistic Manner: The conduct was intended to cause extreme physical pain or was done in an especially depraved or sadistic manner.

A conviction under section 353-a is treated as a Class E felony, carrying more severe consequences, including:

  • Up to two years in state prison
  • Higher fines
  • Lengthier probation periods
  • Permanent ban on owning animals

Defenses to Animal Cruelty Charges

There are several defenses available to those accused of animal cruelty, including challenging the prosecution’s case and raising reasonable doubt that the prosecutor has proved the elements of the charged offense. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help identify and present these defenses effectively:

  • Lack of Intent: Demonstrating that the defendant did not act intentionally or recklessly.
  • Accidental Harm: Proving that the harm to the animal was accidental and not due to malicious conduct.
  • False Accusations: Challenging the credibility of the accuser and presenting evidence that the allegations are unfounded.
  • Insufficient Evidence: Arguing that the prosecution has not met the burden of proof required for a conviction.

How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Facing animal cruelty charges can be overwhelming, but a criminal defense attorney can provide crucial assistance throughout the legal process. Here’s how an attorney can help:

  1. Case Evaluation: An attorney will thoroughly review the details of the case, including evidence and witness statements, to develop a strong defense strategy.
  2. Legal Advice: Providing legal expertise and guidance on the charges, potential penalties, and the best course of action.
  3. Negotiation: Engaging with prosecutors to negotiate plea deals or reduced charges for a favorable outcome when appropriate.
  4. Representation in Court: Defending the accused in court, presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and making persuasive arguments to the judge and jury, including pre-trial and post-trial motions as applicable.
  5. Protecting Rights: Ensuring that the defendant’s legal rights are protected throughout the process, from arrest to trial.

Contact Dupée & Monroe in Goshen for Defense Against Animal Cruelty Charges in Orange County or the Hudson Valley

At Dupée & Monroe, P.C., we understand the gravity of animal cruelty charges and are committed to providing vigorous defense for our clients. Our experienced NY criminal defense attorneys are well-versed in New York’s animal cruelty laws and dedicated to achieving the best possible outcomes for those accused.

If you or someone you know is facing animal cruelty charges in Orange County or the Hudson Valley, contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C. today by calling 845-294-8900 for immediate assistance. Let us help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and protect your rights.

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