Find Animal-related Laws

Read the full, official language of Washington State's RCWs (Revised Codes of Washington) on animal cruelty and summaries of the sentences.

Animal cruelty in the first degree RCW 16.52.205:

  • Class C Felony
  • Fine up to $10,000
  • Imprisonment up to 5 years
  • (changes in 2009) Prohibited permanently from owning or caring for any similar animals for a first conviction.

Animal cruelty in the second degree (includes animal abandonment) RCW 16.52.207:

(except section: (2)(c) see below):

  • Misdemeanor
  • Fine up to $1,000
  • Imprisonment up to 90 days
  • (changes in 2009) Prohibited from owning or caring for any similar animals for up to two years for a first conviction.
  • (changes in 2009) Prohibited permanently from owning or caring for any similar animals for a second or subsequent conviction of animal cruelty (with an ability to petition the sentencing court on the most recent conviction for potential restoration of rights after five years of the last conviction.)

Animal cruelty in the second degree (section (2)(c))—if animal is abandoned and suffers bodily harm or is at substantial risk for suffering bodily harm:

  • Gross Misdemeanor
  • Fine up to $5,000
  • Imprisonment up to 1 year
  • (changes in 2009) Prohibited from owning or caring for any similar animals for up to two years for a first conviction.
  • (changes in 2009) Prohibited permanently from owning or caring for any similar animals for a second or subsequent conviction of animal cruelty (with an ability to petition the sentencing court on the most recent conviction for potential restoration of rights after five years of the last conviction.)

Animal fighting RCW 16.52.117:

  • Class C Felony
  • Fine up to $10,000
  • Imprisonment up to 5 years
  • Prohibits violators from owning animals in the future.

Legal intervention by others to help animals without food or water RCW 16.52.100

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