Animal Cruelty and Abuse

Washington law prohibits the following as animal cruelty:

  • Intentionally (a) inflicting substantial pain on, (b) causing physical injury to, or (c) killing an animal by a means causing undue suffering, or forcing a minor to inflict unnecessary pain, injury, or death on an animal.
  • Knowingly engaging in sexual conduct or contact with an animal or activities related to such behavior (photographs/films, organizes, participates as observer, allows on premises, etc.).
  • Knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence inflicting unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal including:
    • Failure to provide necessary shelter, rest, sanitation, space, or medical attention resulting in unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain to the animal;
    • Abandonment resulting in bodily harm or imminent and substantial risk of substantial bodily harm to the animal.
  • Animal fighting of dogs or male chickens, including spectating or other co-conspiring activities.
  • Using dogs or cats as bait.
  • Intentionally poisoning an animal (not including euthanasia by an animal’s owner, authorized agent or public official in a humane manner or reasonable use of rodenticides, insecticides, slug bait, etc., for their intended purposes).
  • Transporting or accepting delivery of non-ambulatory livestock.
  • Public abandonment of old, maimed or diseased domestic animals.
  • Cutting off more than half the ear of any domestic animal except as a customary husbandry practice; tail docking in horses; use of hook to pierce flesh or mouth of any bird/mammal (misdemeanors).
  • Certain dog breeding and keeping practices as set forth in RCW 16.52.310.
  • Transporting animals on the running board, fenders, hood, or other outside part of any vehicle unless suitable harness, cage or enclosure is provided as set forth in RCW 46.61.660.

RCW 16.52 contains current Washington laws concerning animal cruelty.  Local jurisdictions may have additional laws governing animal cruelty.