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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 13 : Crimes and Criminal Procedure

Chapter 008 : Humane and Proper Treatment of Animals

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:

    (A) any enforcement officer as defined in 23 V.S.A. § 4(11)(A) or investigator employed by the Office of the Attorney General or State’s Attorney; or

    (B) an individual who has received the training required by section 356 of this title who is:

    (i) a designated humane society employee; or

    (ii) an animal control officer appointed by the legislative body of a municipality who is authorized by the legislative body to perform the duties and functions of a humane officer.

    (5) “Humane society” or “society for prevention of cruelty to animals” means a private, nonprofit animal care facility registered and in good standing with the Vermont Secretary of State.

    (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 or surgical treatment for injury, disease, excessive parasitism, dehydration, malnutrition, pain, or impaired locomotive function.

    (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 fully accredited 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 nutritional content 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) [Repealed.]

    (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.

    (22) “Adequate constructed shelter” means a well-drained and structurally sound building with a waterproof roof that is of sufficient size to provide a windbreak and protection from exposure to prevailing winds, rain, hail, sleet, snow, and sun and that provides enough space to accommodate at one time all livestock and animals comfortably. The building opening size and height shall, at a minimum, allow six inches of clearance above the largest animal’s ears when the animal is standing in a normal position, and the clearance shall be maintained at that level even with manure and litter buildup.

    (23) “Adequate natural shelter” means a natural structure or formation, which may include a stand of trees that:

    (A) is a well-drained area of sufficient size to provide a windbreak and protection from exposure to prevailing winds, rain, hail, sleet, sun, and snow; and

    (B) provides enough space to accommodate at one time all livestock or animals maintained out-of-doors in the area.

    (24) “Adequate ventilation” means that ventilation in an enclosed or confined area shall be sufficient to control excessive ambient temperatures and humidity and to prevent the accumulation of toxic gases, such as ammonia. (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; 2019, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2021, No. 38, § 1.)