Can you be charged for animal cruelty if there is no evidence of how the dog died or exactly when?

UPDATED: Aug 24, 2011

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Can you be charged for animal cruelty if there is no evidence of how the dog died or exactly when?

My husband was asked to feed and water his aunt’s dogs. The dogs had injuries previous to his aunt leaving town. They were fine Saturday when they were gone and they returned Sunday and the cops showed up to let them know that 1 of the dogs was dead and the others had been out. They told the cops that my husband was asked to take care of them. There was an autopsy done on the dog and no pictures of it as far as I know.

Asked on August 24, 2011 Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It may be possible to charge someone with animal cruelty in the absence of direct evidence of any acts he did. It works like this: suppose it can be shown, such as with credible testimony, that on Saturday the dogs were fine (i.e. either no injuries or no life threatening injuries). The dogs were in your husband's care. Sometime during his care, when no one else had access to the dogs, a dog was injured or killed. If the dog had been fine, then when the only person with access to it was your husband, it suffered significant injuries; if there was no other way for those injuries to come about, that may be enough to establish your husband as the source of the injuries.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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