Cruelty to Livestock Law
The Animal Services Division has the statutory responsibility to protect livestock (equine, cattle, sheep, goats, and swine) from mistreatment and neglect. Neglect can include failure to provide feed, water, or veterinary care. While mistreatment refers to unnecessary serious physical injury.
Our officers and inspectors respond to thousands of calls each year. These responses start with a site visit and contact with the owner. The department decides the best course of action in order to resolve the situation depending on the specific issues related to the case. While often times these cases are resolved with education, cases where animals’ lives are in imminent danger may result in seizure of those animals.
To report suspected livestock cruelty, contact the Department's Dispatch at (623) 445-0281 or your local law enforcement. Please note that our agency only has jurisdiction over livestock, which includes equine, cattle, sheep, goats, and swine. For complaints regarding dog, cats, or birds, please contact your local animal control agency.
13-2910. Cruelty to animals; interference with working or service animal; classification; definitions
Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly subjects any animal under the person's custody or control to cruel neglect or abandonment.
Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly fails to provide medical attention necessary to prevent protracted suffering to any animal under the person's custody or control.
Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly inflicts unnecessary physical injury to any animal.
Recklessly subjects any animal to cruel mistreatment.
Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly kills any animal under the custody or control of another person without either legal privilege or consent of the owner.
Recklessly interferes with, kills or harms a working or service animal without either legal privilege or consent of the owner.
Intentionally or knowingly subjects any animal under the person's custody or control to cruel neglect or abandonment that results in serious physical injury to the animal.
Intentionally or knowingly subjects any animal to cruel mistreatment.
Intentionally or knowingly interferes with, kills or harms a working or service animal without either legal privilege or consent of the owner.
B. It Is a Defense to Subsection A of This Section If:
- Any person exposes poison to be taken by a dog which has killed or wounded livestock or poison to be taken by predatory animals on premises owned, leased or controlled by the person for the purpose of protecting the person or the person's livestock or poultry, and the treated property is kept posted by the person who authorized or performed the treatment until the poison has been removed, and the poison is removed by the person exposing the poison after the threat to the person, or the person's livestock or poultry has ceased to exist. The posting required shall provide adequate warning to persons who enter the property by the point or points of normal entry. The warning notice which is posted shall be readable at a distance of fifty feet, shall contain a poison statement and symbol and shall state the word "danger" or "warning".
- Any person uses poisons in and immediately around buildings owned, leased or controlled by the person for the purpose of controlling wild and domestic rodents as otherwise allowed by the laws of the state, excluding any fur-bearing animals as defined in section 17-101.
C. This Section Does Not Prohibit or Restrict:
- The taking of wildlife or other activities permitted by or pursuant to title 17.
- Activities permitted by or pursuant to title 3.
- Activities regulated by the Arizona game and fish department or the Arizona department of agriculture.
D. A Person Who Is Convicted of a Violation of Subsection A, Paragraph 6 or 9 Is Liable as Follows:
- If the working or service animal was killed or disabled, to the owner or agency that owns the working or service animal and that employs the handler or to the owner or handler for the replacement and training costs of the working or service animal and for any veterinary bills.
- To the owner or agency that owns a working or service animal for the salary of the handler for the period of time that the handler's services are lost to the owner or agency.
- To the owner for the owner's contractual losses with the agency.
E. An Incorporated City or Town or a County May Adopt an Ordinance With Misdemeanor Provisions at Least as Stringent as the Misdemeanor Provisions of This Section.
F. A Person Who Violates Subsection A, Paragraph 1 Through 6 Is Guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor. a Person Who Violates Subsection A, Paragraph 7 Through 9 Is Guilty of a Class 6 Felony.
G. For the Purposes of This Section:
- "Animal" means a mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian.
- "Cruel mistreatment" means to torture or otherwise inflict unnecessary serious physical injury upon an animal or to kill an animal in a manner that causes protracted suffering to the animal.
- "Cruel neglect" means to fail to provide an animal with necessary food, water or shelter.
- "Handler" means a law enforcement officer or any other person who has successfully completed a course of training prescribed by the person's agency or the service animal owner and who used a specially trained animal under the direction of the person's agency or the service animal owner.
- "Service animal" means an animal that has completed a formal training program, that assists its owner in one or more daily living tasks that are associated with a productive life-style and that is trained to not pose a danger to the health and safety of the general public.
- "Working animal" means a horse or dog that is used by a law enforcement agency, that is specially trained for law enforcement work and that is under the control of a handler.