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Law Against Animal Exhibition – California Penal Code PC 597b and PC 597c

Posted by Raoul Severo | Jan 01, 2021 | 0 Comments

Animal Exhibition

Animal fighting matches or animal exhibition is the act of pitting animals against humans or each other. This is a blood sport that resembles gladiator matches involving animals taking severe injuries that may permanently harm or even kill them.

In the U.S., the most common form of animal exhibition matches are:

  • Cockfighting;
  • Dogfighting;
  • Hog-dog fighting; and
  • Illegal Bullfighting.

To discourage people from participating and attending such brutish events, California enacted Penal Codes 597b and 597c as supplementary animal abuse laws.

These laws are crafted to combat the spread of such acts.

California Penal Code PC 597b

Subdivision (a)

Any person who, for amusement or gain, causes any bull, bear, or other animal, not including any dog, to fight with like kind of animal or creature, or causes any animal, including any dog, to fight with a different kind of animal or creature, or with any human being, or who, for amusement or gain, worries or injures any bull, bear, dog, or other animal, or causes any bull, bear, or other animal, not including any dog, to worry or injure each other, or any person who permits the same to be done on any premises under his or her charge or control, or any person who aids or abets the fighting or worrying of an animal or creature, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Subdivision (b)

Any person who, for amusement or gain, causes any cock to fight with another cock or with a different kind of animal or creature or with any human being; or who, for amusement or gain, worries or injures any cock, or causes any cock to worry or injure another animal; and any person who permits the same to be done on any premises under his or her charge or control, and any person who aids or abets the fighting or worrying of any cock is guilty of a misdemeanor.

California Penal Code PC 597c

The statute states that any person who is knowingly present as a spectator at any place, building, or tenement for an exhibition of animal fighting, or who is knowingly present at that exhibition or is knowingly present where preparations are being made for the acts described in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 597b, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Punishments for Attending or Participating in Animal Exhibitions

Punishment for Participating (PC 597b)

  • Subsection (a) – Imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year, by a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
  • Subsection (b) – Imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year, or by a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
  • Subsection (c) – A second or subsequent conviction of this section is a misdemeanor or a felony punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year or the state prison for 16 months, two, or three years, by a fine not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine, except in unusual circumstances in which the interests of justice would be better served by the imposition of a lesser sentence.

Punishment for Attending or Spectating (597c)

Imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed six months, or by a fine of five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

Legal Defense

When facing PC 597b and 957c allegations, here are some of the most commonly used defenses:

  • The defendant did not participate in any animal exhibition events;
  • The defendant did not attend or spectate in any animal exhibition events;
  • The defendant entered the premises or the venue without knowing that an animal exhibition event is taking place; or
  • There is not enough evidence to pin the crime on the defendant.

Legal Support

Participating in or attending animal exhibition matches is a serious crime that can lead to severe consequences. Being charged with committing such a crime would mean facing serious consequences and punishments. That is why if you or anyone you know ever had the misfortune of being accused of such serious legal violations, it would be best to reach out to a California criminal defense lawyer.

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