|BILL AS INTRODUCED||2007-2008|
Introduced by Senator Campbell of Windsor District and Senator Illuzzi of Essex-Orleans District
Subject: Crimes; humane and proper treatment of animals; civil violation for first offense
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to permit first offense violations of some provisions of the state’s animal cruelty laws to be charged as civil violations, rather than criminal offenses. A state’s attorney would be allowed to withdraw the complaint in the judicial bureau and file in the district court if he or she deemed the case more appropriate for criminal proceedings.
AN ACT RELATING TO CIVIL VIOLATIONS FOR ANIMAL CRUELTY
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 4 V.S.A. § 1102(b) is amended to read:
(b) The judicial bureau shall have jurisdiction of the following matters:
Traffic violations alleged to have been committed on or after July 1,
Civil ordinance violations alleged to have been committed on or after
July 1, 1994 ;.
Minor fish and wildlife violations alleged to have been committed on or
after September 1, 1996 ;.
Violations of subsection 1005(a) of Title 7, relating to possession of
tobacco products by a person less than 18 years of age ;.
Violations of 7 V.S.A. § 1007, relating to furnishing tobacco products
to a person under the age of 18 years ;.
Violations of 24 V.S.A. § 2201, relating to littering, burning of solid
waste, and illegal dumping ;.
Violations of subchapter 9 of chapter 1 of Title 16, relating to hazing ;.
Violations of 20 V.S.A. §§ 2056a, 2056b, and 2056c, relating to
unauthorized disclosure of criminal record information ;.
Violations of 7 V.S.A. § 656, relating to illegal possession of
alcoholic beverages ;.
Violations under subdivision 658(c)(1) of Title 7, relating to an
employee of a second class licensee selling alcohol to a minor during a
compliance check ;.
Violations of 18 V.S.A. § 4234b(b), relating to selling ephedrine base,
pseudoephedrine base, or phenylpropanolamine base.
(12) Violations of 13 V.S.A. § 352(3), (4), and (9), relating to cruelty to animals.
Sec. 2. 13 V.S.A. § 353 is amended to read:
§ 353. DEGREE OF OFFENSE; SENTENCING UPON CONVICTION
(1) Except as provided in subdivision (3) or (4) of this subsection, cruelty to animals under section 352 of this title shall be punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not more than one year, or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both. Second and subsequent convictions shall be punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not more than two years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.
* * *
(4)(A) Notwithstanding subdivision (B) of this subdivision (4), for a violation of subdivision 352(3), (4) or (9) of this title, a law enforcement officer shall issue a civil citation if the person has not been previously adjudicated in violation of this chapter. A person found in violation of subdivision 352(3), (4), or (9) of this title pursuant to this subdivision shall be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $500.00. At any time prior to the person admitting the violation and paying the assessed penalty, the state’s attorney may withdraw the complaint filed with the judicial bureau and file an information charging a violation subdivision 353(3), (4), or (9) of this title in district court.
(B) A person found in violation of subdivision 352(3), (4), or (9) of this title pursuant to this subdivision shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $2,000.00, or both. Second and subsequent convictions shall be punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not more than two years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.
* * *
Sec. 3. 13 V.S.A. § 7251(d) is added to read:
(d) Fines, forfeitures, and penalties imposed by the judicial bureau for violations of subdivisions 352(4), (5), and (9) of this title, relating to animal cruelty that result from the enforcement by villages, towns, and cities within their jurisdiction shall be paid to the respective village, town, or city, except for a $12.50 administrative charge for each violation which shall be retained by the state. The enforcement by villages, towns, and cities shall be by a local law enforcement officer or a law enforcement officer by contract with the village, town, or city. Such law enforcement officer shall be certified according to the provisions of 20 V.S.A. § 2358.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street