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San Diego Animal Cruelty & Abuse Lawyer

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Dogfighting California Penal Code 597.5

Dogfighting is an organized dogfight between two or more dogs that results in one dog killing or severely injuring the other one. Usually the dogs are trained and conditioned for these fights. There are four ways that a person can violate California Penal Code 597.5. They are

  1. 1) The person owns, posses, or trains the dog with the intent to enter into a dogfighting competition.
  2. 2) The person causes any dog to injure or kill another dog for entertainment or to gain money
  3. 3) The person was part of the audience during the dogfight.

There are three defenses to California Penal Code 597.5.


The three defenses to California Penal Code 597.5 are

  1. 1) Illegal search and seizure (An officer arrest a person without a search warrant, probable cause, or is located in an area beyond a warrant)
  2. 2) There was no proof of actual ownership of the dog
  3. 3) The person lacked any criminal intent to train or cause a dog to engage in dogfighting.


If a person is considered to be part of the audience during a dogfight then he or she is subject to a misdemeanor publishable by up to one year in county jail and maximum fine of $5,000. However, a person owning, training and condition a dog to engaging in a fight or cause any dog to be injured is subject to a felony. The person will face 16 months or up to 3 years in prison and maximum penalty of $50,000.

California has the most severe laws in the nation when it comes to animal abuse and cruelty. According to California Penal Code 597, every individual who “maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a living animal, or maliciously and intentionally kills an animal” will be punished for their crime.

Animal abuse and cruelty can include overworking an animal, initiating or attending a dogfight or cockfight, and depriving animals of necessities such as food, water, and shelter. The laws and punishments of Penal Code 597 can be confusing due to their intricacies. If you’ve been charged with animal abuse, a San Diego criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Bradley R. Corbett will help you understand these charges. Our team knows the ins and outs of all California criminal laws, and can help defend your case in a way that results in the best possible outcome.

Punishments for Animal Abuse in San Diego

  • Imprisonment in a county or state prison
  • Hefty fine of up to $20,000
  • Report of your offense on your criminal record

In addition to these potential consequences, you’ll also find yourself with the emotional and psychological stress of having to deal with a criminal charge in court.

Leaving an Animal Unattended in a Vehicle

Intentionally harming or maiming an animal isn’t the only form of animal abuse defined by California state law. California Penal Code 597.7 is very clear on the punishments of leaving an animal unattended in a vehicle under conditions that jeopardizes the well-being and overall health of the animal. This could include conditions that leave the animal without food or water, not providing sufficient ventilation, or other situations that would cause suffering or death to the animal.

Leaving an Animal in an Unattended Vehicle California Penal Code 597.7

Under California Penal Code 597.7 it restricts a person leaving an animal in an unattended vehicle that by doing so would endanger the health or well-being of the animal. The court will look at a balancing test to determine whether the animal’s health was at risk. The factors are 1) The weather (Is it hot or cold?) 2) Lack of sufficient air (Are the windows open?) 3) Insufficient food or water 4) Other circumstances that would cause reasonable person to presume that the animal is expected to suffer harm or may even die.


The most common defense in California is that the person did not endanger the animal’s health or well-being. The court will look at the circumstances during the time when the animal was in the car.


If the animal did not suffer any injury, it then subjects the person to a maximum fine of $100 per animal. However if the animal does suffer injury, then the person will face a misdemeanor. A person will serve a maximum of six-month in country jail and a maximum fine of $500.

How Can the Law Offices of Bradley R. Corbett Help You?

If you’ve found yourself charged with this crime, a San Diego animal abuse defense attorney at the Law Offices of Bradley R. Corbett can help defend your case to get your charges reduced, or in the best scenario, dismissed completely. Our expert legal team possesses the abilities you need to defend your rights against this strict law. We are known by our clients as paying close attention to detail and being very knowledgeable about California’s laws and legal process. If you’re dealing with an animal abuse charge, don’t wait to call one of our San Diego criminal defense attorneys. We’ll provide you with a free case consultation so you can understand your charges, the potential consequences, and how we can help preserve your freedoms.

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Don’t wait until it is too late! Delaying or even denying yourself the counsel and strength we can provide you could have life changing consequences. Call us today and let an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney help you protect your freedoms, life, and family.

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