Animal Cruelty Defense Attorney | Orange County

For 40+ years, the animal cruelty defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have gone above and beyond in helping their clients who are charged with a violation of PC 597 and other related charges. We understand what it takes to successfully defend our clients facing criminal charges and we fight hard to protect their legal rights. We have the knowledge, skill, and resources to take on tough cases. With offices in Orange County, Torrance, San Bernardino, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, and throughout the greater Los Angeles area, our dedicated team of defense attorneys are waiting to help you. Call us, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for a free phone consultation and get important legal advice from one of our skilled animal abuse defense lawyers.

What is Animal Cruelty? | PC 597

Under California Penal Code Section 597, animal cruelty, often called animal abuse, occurs when an individual maliciously and/or intentionally tortures, maims, wounds, mutilates, or kills an animal. Overworking or depriving an animal of food, water, or shelter is also included under this law. California takes animal cruelty very seriously and has some of the strictest animal abuse laws of any state. If you are charged with animal cruelty in Orange County, prosecutors will aggressively pursue your conviction. 

It is extremely important to contact the experienced animal cruelty defense lawyers at Wallin & Klarich immediately. For over 40 years, we have successfully defended many clients just like you. We understand that many times these charges arise from unintentional circumstances such as leaving your pet unattended in your car for too long, accidental injuries to your pet, or not having a way to care for your pet. If you are charged with animal cruelty, you are facing  severe punishment and risk losing your pet. We will closely look at the details of your case to create the best defense for you. 

Some of the other crimes related to animal abuse include:

  • Leaving Your Animal in the Car – PC 597.7
  • Dog Fighting – PC 597.5
  • Failure to Care for Your Animal – PC 597(f)

Animal Cruelty Penalties & Sentencing | What You’re Facing

If you are convicted of animal cruelty in Orange County, California, you not only face the public humiliation and social stigma attached to a crime of this nature, but you also face very serious legal consequences. Animal cruelty can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of your case. Due to the severity of this crime, you should call an experienced attorney immediately. Our skilled attorneys at Wallin & Klarich will look at all the facts in your case and develop the best defense strategy for your case.

For misdemeanor animal cruelty, you face:

  • Up to a year in county jail
  • Fines up to $5,000

For felony animal abuse, you face: 

  • Up to 3 years in California state prison 
  • A fine of up to $20,000

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony animal abuse, you could also have your animal(s) removed from your care, be required to pay housing costs for the animal, and be banned from owning animals for up to 10 years. No animal lover wants to lose their beloved pets. With so much at risk, there is no time to delay. Contact Wallin & Klarich for your free consultation today!

The penalties for offenses related to animal cruelty are outlined below. 

Leaving Your Animal in The Car – PC 597.7

If you are found guilty of leaving an animal unattended in a motor vehicle without proper ventilation and/or subject to heat, cold, or other dangerous conditions, it is a misdemeanor that carries a fine of $100 per animal for a first violation. For your second violation, you face a fine of up to $500 and a jail sentence of up to 6 months in jail.

Dog Fighting – PC 597.5

Under California Penal Code Section 597.5, you can be found guilty of dogfighting if you own, possess, keep, or train a dog intended for fighting. You can also be found guilty if you cause any dog to fight with another dog, for amusement or gain. Permitting any of the above to be done on the property you own or control, or aid and abet the above is also illegal and warrants a dogfighting charge. If you are found guilty of dogfighting, you face a felony conviction and a range of punishment in custody from 16 months to three years, and a fine not to exceed $50,000, or both the fine and jail time. You will also be prohibited from owning, living around, or having any control of an animal for 10 years. If you are found guilty of attending a dog fight, a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Failure to Care for Your Animal – PC 597(f)

The state of California makes it a  misdemeanor to fail to give an animal proper care and attention. If found guilty of this crime  you could be facing:

  • Up to 180 days in a county jail
  • 72-hour removal of your animal

Fight Back | Possible Defenses to Animal Cruelty Charges

If you are charged with animal abuse in California, it is not something to take lightly. You should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. With the experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich on your side, you can rest assured we will fight for your rights. Throughout our 40+ years of representing numerous clients all over Southern California, our skilled attorneys have identified many effective defenses to help our clients achieve a successful outcome in their cases. We will review the specifics of your case to determine the best defense for you. Some of the defenses that we have identified include:

False Accusations

If you have been falsely accused, your lawyer will argue this defense on your behalf. Unfortunately, we have seen many cases where neighbors or bitter ex-partners have made false accusations to get revenge. Your lawyer will gather evidence to show a history of the individual making false reports or lying, as well as evidence supporting the fact that you didn’t harm the animal. 

Self Defense/Defending Another Person 

If an animal is attacking you or another individual in California, you do have the right to defend yourself or another individual from serious harm or death. For example, you are playing in the yard with your child, and a dog attacks your child seemingly out of nowhere. You grab a stick and hit the dog to get it away from your child. Your neighbor reports you to the police. In this case, your lawyer could raise the legal defense of “defense of others” which would be one way to have the charges dismissed. 

Lack of Intent

Your lawyer may argue that you did not commit the act on purpose. For example, you are carrying in boxes, and your dog gets under your feet causing you to trip and drop the box on top of the dog. Your wife and daughter witnessed the incident. As a result, your dog is seriously injured, your neighbor hears the dog yelping and reports you for animal abuse. Your lawyer would argue this was not a criminal act and would present evidence including the testimony of your wife and child.

Lacked Means for Care of Animal 

If you are charged with animal cruelty for depriving your animal of food, water, and proper shelter, the prosecutor must prove you did this maliciously and on purpose. Your lawyer may argue that you lacked the money to provide proper care for your animal. For example, you got laid off from work, and although you are barely getting by on the money you have, you buy what food you can and share it with your dog. Someone sees the dog outside looking malnourished and reports it to the police. Your lawyer will present your loss of a job to the court along with other evidence to show you lacked the means to properly care for your dog. 

Hiring An Animal Cruelty Defense Attorney | How We Can Help You

When dealing with such serious allegations it is crucial to hire an experienced law firm to help you. At Wallin & Klarich criminal defense firm we believe that there are four (4) key aspects that you, the client, should look for when hiring an attorney. 

  1.   Experience
  2.   Communication
  3.   Track record
  4.   Ethos – Credibility

Wallin & Klarich | 40+ Years of Experience Defending Animal Cruelty Charges

Here at Wallin & Klarich, our team of highly trained attorneys have over 40+ years of experience representing clients accused of animal cruelty. This experience does not only mean that we are competent in the handling of your case, but equally important, we know our way around the local courthouses, and we know the local prosecutors. This sometimes overlooked, and often underappreciated knowledge makes it easier to craft a defense that gives you the highest chance of success possible. 

24/7 Communication With Your Attorney | The Wallin & Klarich Way 

Cases are won in the courtroom but made in the office. At Wallin & Klarich, we believe that communication and transparency are vital to a successful case. With all the paperwork and legality, we have found that when people retain other law firms it is common for the client to get lost in the legal process and only have a vague idea of what is going on in their case. We believe this is why so many people retain our law firm to help them when facing an animal cruelty charge. By keeping an open line of communication with our clients and walking side-by-side with them through the entire legal process we have found that our clients are not only happier but receive a better outcome when communication is kept at the forefront of our efforts. 

Give us a call at (877) 4-NO-JAIL and let’s begin communicating on how we can get the best outcome for your case. 

Track Record of Success | Wallin & Klarich History of Winning Cases

Words mean nothing if the outcome of your case is not what you were looking for. We are confident enough in our abilities to deliver the best possible outcome in a case that we invite you to read about some of our previous big wins in the courtroom!

Reputation & Ethos | Wallin & Klarich A Reputation You Want on Your Side

There are hundreds of lawyers that claim to have extensive experience defending clients throughout California charged with animal cruelty. It is often difficult to determine which law firm to hire to help you in your animal cruelty case. Throughout our 40 years of representing persons facing criminal charges, we have had more happy clients than we can count. Check out some of what our previous clients had to say!

Call Wallin & Klarich Today

Animal Abuse is a serious crime in California and punishment is harsh.. If you have been accused of animal abuse in California, you need to speak to an experienced animal abuse

Wallin & Klarich will be there when you call.
Our criminal defense attorneys can help you now.

defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, we have been successfully defending clients accused of animal abuse for over 40 years. Our attorneys have the skill and experience necessary to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

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Frequently Asked Questions

PC 597.1 states that if an animal is seized to protect its health and safety, you have to right to both a pre and a post-seizure hearing. You must file a request for the pre-seizure hearing, and you must attend that hearing in order to also have a right to the post-seizure hearing. At the post-seizure hearing, the person who ordered the animal seized must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the animal will not be safe in your family member’s custody

If you don’t have the money to pay, you can request a payment plan and the county may allow you to make payments to pay off your bill. Usually, the county will work with you because they want to see the animal is taken care of.

When you’ve been charged with a crime the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed that crime. You need to call an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney to help you plan your defense strategy.

If you can prove somebody slanderously accused you of animal abuse it’s a tort. If you have been cleared in an investigation or found innocent of the charges by a jury, you can file a case in civil court, provided you know the name of the party who accused you of the abuse.

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