In Pennsylvania, violent crimes such as cruelty to animals is taken very seriously. Thanks to several different statutes, many different types of animals are protected and those who are cruel to them could face criminal prosecution murder cruelty to animals statutes prosecuting violent crimes. A person commits a violent crimes misdemeanor of the second degree if he willfully and maliciously kills, maims or disfigures any domestic animal or any domestic foul of another person; administers poison to or exposes any poisonous substance with the intent to administer such poison to any domestic animal or domestic fowl of another person; or harasses, annoys, injures, assault crimes attempts to injure, molests or interferes with a guide dog for a blind person, a hearing dog for a deaf or audibly impaired person, or a serious dog for a physically limited person. If you are found guilty, you may be sentenced to pay a fine no less than $500.

In addition to cruelty towards domestic animals and domestic fowl, it is a crime to be cruel to zoo animals. A person commits a felony of the third degree if he willfully and maliciously kills, maims, or disfigures any zoo animal in captivity or administers poison to or exposes any poisonous substance with the intent to administer such poison to any zoo animal in captivity. If you commit the same acts but on a dog or a cat, it is a misdemeanor of the first degree. If you are found guilty of performing such acts on cats or dogs, you may be sentenced to pay a fine of $1000 and/or up to two years imprisonment. A subsequent offense is a felony of the third degree.

Along with the acts listed above, there are many different actions that could result in cruelty to animals charges. A person commits cruelty to animals if he wantonly or cruelly illiterates, overloads, beats, otherwise abuses any animal, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, drink, shelter or veterinary care, or access to clean and sanitary shelter which will protect the animal against inclement weather and preserve the animal’s body heat and keep it dry. If you commit this act, you are committing a summary offense. possessing offensive weapons  It is a misdemeanor of the third degree if the person is convicted of a second or subsequent time and if the act or omission for which the person performed on a dog or cat and the dog or cat was seriously injured, suffered severe physical distress or was placed at imminent risk of serious physical harm. Not only do police have the power to enforce animal cruelty laws, individuals employed by non-profit humane societies and organizations that work to prevent animal cruelty also have policing power. ​