Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to subnav
Searching 2019-2020 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online


Title 13 : Crimes and Criminal Procedure


Subchapter 001 : CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

(Cite as: 13 V.S.A. § 351)
  • § 351. Definitions

    As used in this chapter:

    (1) "Animal" means all living sentient creatures, not human beings.

    (2) "Secretary" means the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

    (3) "Horse" means the entire family of equidae.

    (4) "Humane officer" or "officer" means any law enforcement officer as defined in 23 V.S.A. § 4(11); auxiliary State Police officers; deputy game wardens; humane society officer, employee, or agent; animal control officer appointed by the legislative body of a municipality; local board of health officer or agent; or any officer authorized to serve criminal process.

    (5) "Humane society" or "society for prevention of cruelty to animals" means the Vermont Humane Federation, Inc., or its successor, or any incorporated humane society that, through its agents, has the lawful authority to interfere with acts of cruelty to animals.

    (6) "Local board of health" means the town or city health officer and the selectboard members or aldermen.

    (7) "Necessary medical attention" shall include medical treatment for illness, injury, disease, excessive parasitism, or malformed or overgrown hoof.

    (8) "Person" means any individual, firm, partnership, or corporation, or authorized agent or representative of a person, partnership, or corporation.

    (9) "Sanitation" means the maintenance of clean conditions for indoor and outdoor enclosures to minimize health hazards, including periodic cleanings to remove excretions or other waste materials, dirt, and trash.

    (10) "Torture" or "torment" means omission, neglect, or an act by an animal owner or other person, whereby physical pain, suffering, or death is caused or permitted to be caused to an animal.

    (11) "Livestock" means cattle, bison, horses, sheep, goats, swine, cervidae, ratites, and camelids.

    (12) "Poultry" means meat and egg producing chickens, exhibition (fancy) chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks, geese, pheasants, chicken partridge, and cotarnix quail.

    (13) "Livestock and poultry husbandry practices" means the raising, management and using of animals to provide humans with food, fiber, or transportation in a manner consistent with:

    (A) husbandry practices recommended for the species by agricultural colleges and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Extension Service;

    (B) husbandry practices modified for the species to conform to the Vermont environment and terrain; and

    (C) husbandry practices that minimize pain and suffering.

    (14) "Agricultural or sporting association" means an organization or association determined by the Secretary.

    (15) "Living space" means any cage, crate, or other structure used to confine an animal that serves as its principal, primary housing and that provides protection from the elements. Living space does not include a structure, such as a doghouse, in which an animal is not confined, or a cage, crate, or other structure in which the animal is temporarily confined.

    (16) "Adequate food" means food that is not spoiled or contaminated and is of sufficient quantity and quality to meet the normal daily requirements for the condition and size of the animal and the environment in which it is kept. An animal shall be fed or have food available at least once each day, unless a licensed veterinarian instructs otherwise, or withholding food is in accordance with accepted veterinary practices or livestock and poultry husbandry practices.

    (17) "Adequate water" means potable water that is either accessible to the animal at all times or is provided at suitable intervals for the species and in sufficient quantity for the health of the animal. In no event shall the interval when water is not provided exceed 24 hours. Snow or ice is not an adequate water source unless provided in accordance with livestock and poultry husbandry practices.

    (18) "Adequate shelter" means shelter that protects the animal from injury and environmental hazards.

    (19) "Enclosure" means any structure, fence, device, or other barrier used to restrict an animal or animals to a limited amount of space.

    (20) "Livestock guardian dog" means a purpose-bred dog that is:

    (A) specifically trained to live with livestock without causing them harm while repelling predators;

    (B) being used to live with and guard livestock; and

    (C) acclimated to local weather conditions.

    (21) "Sexual conduct" means:

    (A) any act between a person and animal that involves contact between the mouth, sex organ, or anus of a person and the mouth, sex organ, or anus of an animal; or

    (B) without a bona fide veterinary or animal husbandry purpose, the insertion, however slight, of any part of a person's body or of any instrument, apparatus, or other object into the vaginal or anal opening of an animal. (Added 1989, No. 270 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1997, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2003, No. 120 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2009, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2013, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 72; 2013, No. 162 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2017, No. 58, § 1; 2017, No. 62, § 10.)