Animal Abuse and Cruelty Laws in Nevada

Acts of animal abuse and cruelty are punished severely in Nevada, with those found guilty of breaking any of the state’s long list of animal protection laws facing sentences ranging from fines to prison time. Anyone who has been accused of animal abuse or cruelty should contact an attorney with a thorough understanding of these laws as soon as possible.  In some cases, charges of animal abuse can be lowered to a less serious offense or dismissed, depending on the circumstances of the alleged abuse.

This compilation of the individual Nevada Revised Statutes that relate to crimes of animal abuse or cruelty will provide a larger overview of the way these crimes are defined and enforced in the state.


Animal Abuse and Cruelty Defined

According to NRS 574.100, which is the most general animal abuse law in Nevada, and which covers a very wide range of actions that are considered to be cruel or abusive, it is against the law to do the following to an animal:

●      Torture

●      Unjustifiably Maim

●      Mutilate

●      Kill

●      Overdrive or overload

●      Endanger

●      Neglect

●      Cruelly beat or unjustifiably injure

●      Deprive of sustenance, like food or water

●      Abandon

●      Cause, procure or allow someone else to do any of the above

●      Instigate, further or engage in an act of any of the above or in an act which tends to produce cruelty

In cases which include the prohibited acts listed above, the actual ownership of the animal in question has no bearing – meaning that you do not have to technically be the owner of the animal to be charged and punishable if you abused or allowed that animal to be abused.


Restraining and Outdoor Enclosures for Dogs

NRS 574.100 also contains the legal requirements for outdoor enclosure and restraining methods for dogs.  In regard to restraining a dog, it is illegal to:

●      Restrain a dog for more than 14 hours of a 24 hour period of time

●      Use a choke, prong, or pinch (or comparable) collar

●      Use a pulley/trolley system, chain, tie or tether that doesn’t meet the following requirements: (1) is longer than 12 feet in length,  (2) allows the dog to move at least 12 feet, and (3) is placed somewhere that restrains the dog from being able to reach a fence or other object that may cause their restraint to injure, entangle or strangle them if they are able to jump or climb over it.

If your property is not large enough to comply with the restraint requirements, you may legally keep your dog in a pen or other enclosure without restraint. For outdoor dog enclosures, the law requires any pen or other enclosure must be appropriate for the size and breed characteristics of your dog.

These requirements do not apply to dogs that are under veterinarian care, being lawfully trained for or actively used for hunting during hunting season, attending or participating in dog shows, being boarded at a shelter facility, being cared for at the facility of an animal rescue or welfare organization, or living on land that is an active agricultural operation (commercial farms growing crops or raising livestock or poultry).


Penalties for Conviction of Animal Abuse (NRS 574.100)

Sentences imposed for maiming, mutilating or killing a dog, cat or other animal kept for companionship depend on both the intention and prior offenses of similar nature.

●      The abuse of an animal as a way to threaten, terrorize or intimidate another person is a category C felony with a penalty of one to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

●      An act of abuse committed willfully and maliciously is a category D felony with a penalty of one to four years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

Otherwise, a first-time offense will be categorized as a misdemeanor, with increasingly severe penalties for each successive offense within a span of seven years.  In most cases, the offender will be ordered to surrender their ownership of the animal in question.

The determination of these sentences may also be adjusted by the Judge as needed after taking the condition of the abused animal into account, with more severe sentencing if the animal has sustained a serious injury or died.

First Offense Within Preceding Seven Years

●      Misdemeanor

●      Two days to six months in county jail (can be served intermittently, but with no less than four consecutive hours at a time on weekdays when the offender is not required to be at work)

●      48 to 120 community service hours

●      From $200 to $1,000 in fines

●      Restitution for care, impoundment, veterinary treatment, food and housing of the abused animal

Second Offense Within Seven Years

●      Misdemeanor

●      Ten days to six months in county jail

●      100 to 200 community service hours

●      From $500 to $1,000 in fines

●      Restitution for care, impoundment, veterinary treatment, food and housing of the abused animal

Third or Subsequent Offense Within Seven Years

●      Category C felony

●      One to five years in state prison

●      Up to $10,000 in fines

●      Restitution for care, impoundment, veterinary treatment, food and housing of the abused animal


Animal Cruelty Laws Otherwise Specified in Nevada

In addition to the law described above, Nevada also has the following individual laws that apply to more specific instances of abuse or cruelty to animals. The laws listed here each come with their own set of penalties for conviction.

NRS 574.060 – Commission of certain acts concerning place kept or used for baiting or fighting birds or other animals

NRS 574.070 – Instigating or attending fights between birds or other animals, as well as owning, training, selling or purchasing animals to fight other animals

NRS 574.105 – Mistreatment of police animal and interference with duties of a police animal or handler

NRS 574.107 – Mistreatment of dogs used for certain events

NRS 574.110 – Abandonment of disabled animals

NRS 574.120 – Failure to provide proper air, food, shelter or water to impounded animals

NRS 574.130 – Selling, offering to sell or exposing diseased animals

NRS 574.140 – Sale of disabled horses

NRS 574.150 – Poisoning or attempting to poison animals

NRS 574.160 – Throwing injurious substances to animals in public places

NRS 574.170 – Keeping cows or other milk producing animals in unhealthy places or diseased conditions, as well as feeding that results in impure milk production

NRS 574.180 – Running horses on a highway

NRS 574.190 – Carrying an animal in a cruel manner

NRS 574.195 – Allowing a cat or dog to remain unattended in a motor vehicle during periods of extreme heat or cold

If you or someone you love has been charged with animal abuse or cruelty, contact our offices today. There are circumstances, such as self-defense, that may result in a reduction or dismissal of your charges. We offer free case evaluations and are ready to hear your side of the story.


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