Oklahoma Animal Cruelty Laws

Oklahoma animal cruelty lawsOklahoma animal cruelty laws protect a variety of animals. The state also prohibits using animals such as dogs for fighting.

Cruelty to Animals

Oklahoma law defines animals as mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and the like, both wild and domesticated. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1680.1

Animal cruelty is defined as the willful or malicious torturing, destruction, beating, maiming, mutilation, or killing of any animal, regardless of ownership and regardless of whether the animal is wild or domesticated.

The statute goes on to add that depriving an animal of necessary food, drink, shelter, or veterinary care to prevent suffering, constitutes animal cruelty.

Animal cruelty is also defined as willfully setting on foot, instigating, engaging in, or furthering any act of cruelty to an animal, or any act which produces cruelty to an animal. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1685

The crime is a felony in Oklahoma. It is punishable by up to a year in the county jail or a prison term of five years, at the court’s discretion. A fine of up to $5,000 may be assessed instead of or in addition to incarceration.

The court has a great deal of discretion in the sentence imposed in order to determine a sentence appropriate to the act of cruelty involved.

Additional Considerations

If a veterinarian suspects that an animal is being abused, the veterinarian is required to report that suspected abuse to law enforcement within 24 hours of examining the animal. The report must include information regarding the animal and the name and address of the owner. Any report made in good faith by the veterinarian exempts the veterinarian from any civil liability. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1680.3

Any abused or neglected animal may be removed by a peace officer or animal control officer. The police officer or animal control officer may specify the terms and conditions under which the animal’s owner or keeper may maintain custody. This is a custody agreement, countersigned by the animal’s owner or keeper. Violation of the custody agreement may result in the impoundment of the animal. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1680.4

If your animal is seized, it may be necessary for you to post a bond for its care. If the animal is returned to you, funds used for its care will not be returned.

Finally, if a seized animal requires euthanasia, the euthanasia will be performed regardless of the owner’s permission or lack thereof.

Poisoning Animals is Prohibited

Anyone who willfully administers poison to any animal belonging to another and any person who maliciously exposes poisonous substances with the intent that an animal is poisoned by them may be convicted of a felony in Oklahoma. The crime is punishable by up to three years in prison or up to a year in the county jail; or a fine of up to $250; or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1681

Abandoning Animals

It is a misdemeanor to abandon any live dog, cat, or other domesticated animal along any road or any other place with the intention of abandoning the animal. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1691

An animal may also be considered abandoned when a person moves away and leaves the animal, stops feeding the animal, or allows it to wander or stray onto another’s property with the intention of surrendering ownership or custody.

When an animal is abandoned, a peace or animal control officer may arrange for the animal to be humanely destroyed.

The crime is punishable by a fine from $100 to $500, or by up to a year in the county jail, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1692

If a person is arrested with an animal, the police may take custody of the animal. A lien may be placed on the arrestee’s property for necessary expenses associated with the animal. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1686

Having an animal taken from your custody can be a traumatic experience. If you have questions or concerns, bring them to an experienced Tulsa criminal law defense attorney. Let us help you when you need it the most.

Free Consultation: Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are being charged with a crime in Oklahoma, it is important that you hire an experienced Tulsa criminal defense attorney. Criminal convictions can carry serious consequences.

Only a local attorney will know the court system and judges in the area. Do not delay. Our initial consultation is free.

Call Wirth Law Office – Tulsa at 918-879-1681 or toll free at 1-888-Wirth-Law (1-888-947-8452). You can also submit the question form at the top right of this page.

We pride ourselves on providing our clients with excellent representation at reasonable prices.

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