A person may be charged with animal cruelty if they intentionally abandon, neglect, physically harm, or mistreat an animal in their control. Purposely leaving an animal in a car alone may also be considered animal cruelty if the animal is likely to be injured or die as a result. Bothering a working service animal or allowing one’s own dog to harm a working service animal is also considered animal cruelty under the law.
ARS 13-2910 does not apply to wildlife activities allowed under other state law, or the poisoning of rodents on personal property.
Cruelty to animals is a class 1 misdemeanor in most scenarios, meaning it is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and fines of up to $2,500. There are however many circumstances where a violation rises to the level of a class 6 felony, punishable by up to 2 years in jail and fines of up to $150,000. An example of felony animal cruelty might be where a person intentionally interrupts or harms a working service animal.
A person convicted of harming or killing a working service animal will also be held responsible for replacement and training costs of the service animal, any vet bills, and any other losses related to the service animal’s work.