More and more states are giving judges the authority to stop convicted animal abusers from owning or possessing other animals. Really, why should anyone be given a second chance to hurt animals?
Update October 12, 2009: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has, however, vetoed AB 243, a bill passed by the California legislature that would have banned ownership or possession of any animal for 5 years upon conviction of misdemeanor animal cruelty and 10 years for felony crimes against animals. Anyone caught owning or possessing an animal in violation of this would have been guilty of only a misdemeanor.
The California bill also provided for an exemption from this prohibition if the defendant proved (1) imposition of the provisions of the section would result in severe or undue economic hardship to the defendant’s livelihood, and (2) the defendant has the ability to properly care for all animals in his or her possession.
Original report: From now on anyone in Washington state who is convicted of animal cruelty in the first degree, RCW 16.52.205, or has a second conviction of 2nd degree animal cruelty shall be permanently banned from owning or possessing an animal similar to the one abused. The animal must have been ordered forfeited for the law to apply.
The new law, S.B. 5402 also bans ownership or possession of animals similar to one abused for those convicted the first time of animal cruelty in the 2nd degree, RCW 16.52.207. Again, the animal must have been ordered forfeited for the law to apply.
Animals kept in violation of this must be seized.
A person who has 2 convictions for animal cruelty in the second degree may petition for restoration of the right to own animals five years after the second conviction. The petition must be to the same court in which the person was convicted the second time. In deciding whether to grant the petition, the court will consider the circumstances including the "harm and violence" inflicted on the animal, whether the person has completed the terms of the sentence and any other information that is "reasonable and material" to determining the likelihood the person will harm another animal.
Oregon has also now enacted SB 299 which bans anyone convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty from possessing a domestic animal for five years. For a felony conviction, the ban is 15 years.
A violation is a Class C misdemeanor and also may mean, of course, removal of the animal from the person’s possession. (Yes, "may"; the court has the discretion not to order removal of the animals.)
Other states that allow judges to ban or limit a convicted animal abuser’s ownership or possession of other animals: Alaska Stat. § 11.61.140(f)(3)(discretionary ban up to 10 years); Delaware, 11 Del. C. § 1325(c), (d)(mandatory 5 year ban upon conviction of misdemeanor and 15 year ban for felony); Maine, 7 M.R.S. § 4016.1C(discretionary period of ban); Michigan, 750 §50b (ban limited to period of probation or parole); Minnesota, § 343.21(ban as deemed appropriate by the court); Montana, MT Code. § 45-8-211(1)(c)(ban during period of probation or parole); New Hampshire, RSA 644:8 IV(a)(ban as deemed necessary by the court for the protection of animals); Tennessee, §§39-14-202(e), 39-14-212(e) (ban as deemed necessary); Utah Code §76-9-301(ban during probation or parole or "other period" as determined by the court); Vermont, 13 VSA § 353(ban as deemed appropriate by court); Virginia, Va. Code §3.2-6569 (G), (H)(ban as determined by the court); West Virginia, W.VA Code § 61-8-19(i) (mandatory ban for 5 years upon misdemeanor conviction and 15 for felony); Wisconsin, § 951.18(4)(c )(ban may be up to 5 years after release from jail); Wyoming, WY Code §6-3-203(j)(ii)(ban as deemed appropriate by court).