What is animal abuse?

Animal abuse encompasses a range of behaviors harmful to animals, from neglect to malicious killing. A person is guilty of animal abuse when a person:

  • Intentionally or purposely kills an animal in any manner not allowed by or expressly exempted from the provisions of sections 578.005 to 578.023 and 273.030, RSMo;
  • Purposely or intentionally causes injury or suffering to an animal: or
  • Having ownership or custody of an animal knowingly fails to provide adequate care or adequate control. 578.012, RSMo (2000)

Intentional abuse is knowingly depriving an animal of food, water, shelter or veterinary care or maliciously torturing, maiming, mutilating, or killing an animal. Refer to Missouri Revised Statute 578.012 for penalties and 578.005 for definition of “adequate care and control.”