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Chapter 7 - Various VT Laws Dealing With Animals

Title 13: Crimes and Criminal Procedure
Chapter 8: Humane and Proper Treatment Of Animals

Title 13: Crimes and Criminal Procedure Chapter 8: Humane and Proper Treatment Of Animals

351. Definitions

As used in this chapter:

  1. "Animal" means all living sentient creatures, not human beings.

  2. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of agriculture, food and markets.

  3. "Horse" means the entire family of equidae.

  4. "Humane officer" or "officer" means any law enforcement officer as defined in 23 V.S.A. 4(11), auxiliary state police officers, deputy game wardens, humane society officer, employee or agent, local board of health officer or agent, or any officer authorized to serve criminal process.

    VACTF Notes: 23 V.S.A. 4(11) defines law enforcement officers as "sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, constables, police officers, state's attorneys, motor vehicle inspectors, state game wardens and state police..."
  5. "Humane society" or "society for prevention of cruelty to animals" means the Vermont Humane Federation, Inc., or its successor, or any incorporated humane society which, through its agents has the lawful authority to interfere with acts of cruelty to animals.

  6. "Local board of health" means the town or city health officer and the boards of selectmen or aldermen.

  7. "Necessary medical attention" shall include but not be limited to medical treatment for illness, injury, disease, excessive parasitism, or malformed or overgrown hoof.

  8. "Person" means any individual, firm, partnership or corporation, or authorized agent or representative of a person, partnership or corporation.

  9. "Sanitation" means the maintenance of clean conditions for indoor and outdoor enclosures to minimize health hazards, including periodic cleanings to remove excretions or other waste materials, dirt and trash.

  10. "Torture" or "torment" means omission, neglect, or an act by an animal owner or other person, whereby physical pain, suffering or death is caused or permitted to be caused to an animal.

    VACTF Notes: Definition 10 provides for the charge of cruelty in cases where neglect or omission of care (not just overt actions) caused "physical pain, suffering or death" to an animal.
  11. "Livestock" means cattle, bison, horses, sheep, goats, swine, cervidae, ratites and camelids.

  12. "Poultry" means meat and egg producing chickens, exhibition (fancy) chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks, geese, pheasants, chicken partridge and cotarnix quail.

  13. "Livestock and poultry husbandry practices" means the raising, management and using of animals to provide humans with food, fiber or transportation in a manner consistent with:

    1. husbandry practices recommended for the species by agricultural colleges and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Extension Service;
    2. husbandry practices modified for the species to conform to the Vermont environment and terrain; and
    3. husbandry practices that minimize pain and suffering.
    VACTF Notes: Husbandry practices mentioned in Definition 13 are a "collected body of knowledge" which may be applied on a case by case basis, rather than a specific set of defined or articulated standards. In all cases involving livestock and poultry, the Department of Agriculture must be consulted prior to proceeding with charges. See Section 354 (a) of this Title and page 212 of Appendix II, Resource Agencies, "Consulting with the Department of Agriculture on Livestock Cruelty".
  14. "Agricultural or sporting association" means an organization or association determined by the commissioner. (Added 1989, No. 270 (Adj. Sess.), 2; amended 1997, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), 4.)

  15. "Living space" means any cage, crate, or other structure used to confine an animal that serves as its principal, primary housing. Living space does not include a structure, such as a doghouse, in which an animal is not confined, or a cage, crate, or other structure in which the animal is temporarily confined. (Added 2004, No. 120)

  16. "Adequate food" means food that is not spoiled or contaminated and is of sufficient quantity and quality to meet the normal daily requirements for the condition and size of the animal and the environment in which it is kept. An animal shall be fed or have food available at least once each day, unless a licensed veterinarian instructs otherwise, or withholding food is in accordance with accepted agricultural or veterinarian practices. (Added 2004, No. 120)

  17. "Adequate water" means fresh, potable water provided at suitable intervals for the species, and which, in no event, shall exceed 24 hours at any interval. The animal must have access to the water. (Added 2004, No. 120)

  18. "Adequate shelter" means shelter which protects the animal from injury and environmental hazards. (Added 2004, No. 120)

351a. Purpose of subchapter

The purpose of this subchapter is to prevent cruelty to animals. In implementing this subchapter, enforcement officers are encouraged to educate the public on requirements of the subchapter and, when appropriate, to seek voluntary resolution of violations. (Added 1997, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), 5.)

VACTF Notes: The purpose of the subchapter emphasizes the role of education in a humane officer's job. Where appropriate, working with pet owners to provide assistance and education about the proper treatment of animals can be an effective response to cases of neglect. Consistent with the statute, a voluntary resolution in some situations may be the sole appropriate response, without a need to have criminal charges brought against a pet owner.

351b. Scope of subchapter

This subchapter shall not apply to:

  1. activities regulated by the department of fish and wildlife pursuant to part 4 of Title 10;

  2. scientific research governed by accepted procedural standards subject to review by an institutional animal care and use committee;

  3. livestock and poultry husbandry practices for raising, management and use of animals;

  4. veterinary medical or surgical procedures; and

  5. the killing of an animal as provided by sections 3809 and 3545 of Title 20. (Added 1997, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), 6.)

    VACTF Notes: Title 20, Chapter 193, Section 3809 allows for the killing of a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid which attacks a person or domestic animal; Section 3545 (a) allows for the killing of a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid that suddenly assaults a person, provided that "the attack or assault does not occur while the (animal) is restrained . . . within an enclosure . . . or on the premises of the owner."; Secton 3545 (b) allows for the killing of a domestic pet or wolf hybrid when it is found "killing or worrying another domestic pet or wolf-hybrid, a domestic animal or fowl . . . when . . . the killing is reasonably necessary to prevent injury to the animal or fowl which is the subject of the attack."
^ Chapter 7 Overview 352. Cruelty to animals »

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