Typical animal protection laws cover general prohibitions, penalties, seizure of animals, veterinary reporting and law enforcement policies, explains the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Specific laws pertain to the use of animals for fighting and sexual purposes.
General prohibitions written into law in most areas within the United States include poisoning, maliciously hurting or killing, abandoning or neglecting, and transporting animals in an unsafe manner, states the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Protection exists for endangered animals, including amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish and mammals, with penalties for injuring, killing or threatening to kill such species.
When making reasonable efforts to carry out animal protection statutes, veterinarians typically receive immunity from civil or criminal liability, notes the Animal Legal Defense Fund. While penalties vary from state to state, it is often a felony to intentionally hurt or disable a service animal, including those used for search and rescue operations. Injuring or killing another person's livestock is also considered a felony throughout the country.
States often prohibit the transfer of stolen pets to research institutions, states the Animal Legal Defense Fund, with penalties increasing with each incidence. People are not permitted to abandon pets without ensuring adequate care for the animal, nor is it acceptable to feed animals food that is not intended for that particular species. Definitions of sexual contact vary between states, but in general, any contact between an animal and a human for the intention of sexual gratification of the human is illegal.