What Can You Do If You Are Facing a Federal Animal Cruelty Charges in Texas?
In 2019, President Trump signed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) into law. Although every state previously had felony charges for cruelty to animals, the bill introduced the possibility of federal criminal charges for similar behavior. Now, federal prosecutors have the power and backing of the federal government to prosecute acts such as encouraging dogs or roosters to participate in fights and even selling or distributing videos of animals fighting.
For people in Texas who have been charged with extreme animal abuse, this new law can enhance already existing Texas state laws and bring serious penalties. If you have been accused of state or federal animal cruelty or abuse, it is essential to get competent criminal defense representation right away.
What is Animal Cruelty?
Among other abusive actions, it was already illegal to torture, abandon, overwork, or poison an animal in Texas; abandoning or failing to provide care for an animal is also illegal. Persons convicted under Texas state law of cruelty to animals can lose their animals, pay fines, and face jail time.
PACT now makes it a federal crime to intentionally kill an animal, including by drowning, burning, or crushing. The law covers common household pets as well as birds and reptiles. Encouraging animals to fight is also a federal offense and prosecutors have already busted large rings of dogfighters, with federal prison sentences given to those convicted. Punishments for federal animal cruelty charges can include up to seven years in prison and enormous fines. Eager to make an example out of offenders, federal prosecutors often seek maximum penalties.
What Are Possible Defenses to Animal Cruelty Charges?
While building a great defense will depend on the specifics of your case, there are several possible defenses to charges of animal cruelty. One is that animal cruelty laws may not apply to the animal in question; another defense strategy could focus on the intent of the abuse. For example, most animal cruelty laws focus on the intent of behavior; sometimes the terms describing intent, such as “malicious” or “intentional” can be subject to interpretation. A good criminal defense attorney with experience defending people charged with federal crimes can examine your case and help you build a strong rebuttal of the charges.
Call a Texas Animal Cruelty Criminal Defense Lawyer
Cruelty to animals is a serious crime and charges should not be taken lightly. If you are facing charges of federal or state animal cruelty, get help from an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney. At The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., we will do everything we can to prevent your charge from becoming a conviction. Call us now at 214-303-9600.