Cobb County Government

What is Cruelty?

Georgia law defines Cruelty to Animals as follows:

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

  • (1) "Animal" shall not include any fish nor shall such term include any pest that might be exterminated or removed from a business, residence, or other structure.
  • (2) "Malice" means:
    • a. An actual intent, which may be shown by the circumstances connected to the act, to cause the particular harm produced without justification or excuse; or
    • b. The wanton and willful doing of an act with an awareness of a plain and strong likelihood that a particular harm may result.

(b) A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals when he or she:

  • (1) Causes physical pain, suffering, or death to an animal by any unjustifiable act or omission; or
  • (2) Having intentionally exercised custody, control, possession, or ownership of an animal, fails to provide to such animal adequate food, water, sanitary conditions, or ventilation that is consistent with what a reasonable person of ordinary knowledge would believe is the normal requirement and feeding habit for such animal's size, species, breed, age, and physical condition.

Georgia law further defines Aggravated Cruelty to Animals as follows:

(d) A person commits the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals when he or she:

  • (1) Maliciously causes the death of an animal;
  • (2) Maliciously causes physical harm to an animal by depriving it of a member of its body, by rendering a part of such animal's body useless, or by seriously disfiguring such animal's body or a member thereof;
  • (3) Maliciously tortures an animal by the infliction of or subjection to severe or prolonged physical pain;
  • (4) Maliciously administers poison to an animal, or exposes an animal to any poisonous substance, with the intent that the substance be taken or swallowed by the animal; or
  • (5) Having intentionally exercised custody, control, possession, or ownership of an animal, maliciously fails to provide to such animal adequate food, water, sanitary conditions, or ventilation that is consistent with what a reasonable person of ordinary knowledge would believe is the normal requirement and feeding habit for such animal's size, species, breed, age, and physical condition to the extent that the death of such animal results or a member of its body is rendered useless or is seriously disfigured.