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Fast Facts About Anti-Cruelty Laws
  • 50 states and DC have anti-cruelty laws that make intentionally killing a cat a crime.  
  • 46 states and DC have felony penalties for aggravated acts of animal cruelty.  
  • Eight states authorize courts to include animals in protective orders in domestic violence cases.  
  • 28 states authorize mental health evaluations or counseling upon conviction of anti-cruelty charges.



Intentionally killing a cat is a criminal offense in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, regardless of ownership. Anti-cruelty laws apply to all cats—companion, abandoned, lost, and feral.

Highlights

Anti-Cruelty Laws Protect All Cats
Anti-cruelty laws apply to all cats—companion, abandoned, lost, and feral. Read more »

Trap-Neuter-Return is Not Abandonment
Trap-Neuter-Return is the only humane and effective approach for feral cats, and it does not constitute animal abandonment. Learn more »

Virginia Anti-Cruelty Law 
The Virginia animal cruelty law protects all cats - pet, stray, feral, or otherwise - from cruel or unncessary killing. Read more »

Company Told All Cats Protected 
A pest control company was put on notice that killing cats can result in criminal convictions for animal cruelty. Read more »

Violence Has Many Victims 
Psychiatric and criminological research has established a relationship between cruelty to animals and a host of other violent behaviors. Read more »

Related Publications

Who Speaks for the Animals? American Bar Association Law Commitee Newsletter: Read more » 

 
Related Multimedia

Galveston Cat Cruelty Case
Video and audio from the case. Learn more »

Anti-Cruelty Campaigns

Go to our Action Center to get involved. Learn more »