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Question: My husband died, I was ill when he died. My daughter brought me back to Iowa to get health care and live with her. Gila County is going to charge me with a Class 6 felony for abandoning feral cats if I do not return. I have no car or drivers license.

Answer: Although Arizona State Statutes specify Class 6 Felonies for certain types of mistreatment of animals, the state and city laws more relevant to this situation (abandoning pet cats) are as follows.  Animal abandonment constitutes “Cruelty” (ARS 13-2910. Cruelty to animals) where the penalty is a criminal MISDEMEANOR.
 
 
Local governments also punish Animal abandonment as “Cruelty”, but with varying (non-felony) penalties.  For example, the city of Globe, AZ (Gila County) provides for civil penalties in the form of fines, but which accumulate daily. (Section 7-1-3 Cruelty It is unlawful for any person to cruelly treat any animal in the City in any way. Any person who inhumanely …fails to adequately feed or water…to provide shelter, abandons [any animal] shall be deemed guilty of a violation of this Section.; Section 7-5-1 Penalties  A. Any person, owner,…found to have violated any provisions of this Chapter 7 shall be cited for a civil violation and shall be punished as provided in Section 1-5-1(A) of this Code.B. Each day a violation continues shall be a separate offense punishable as hereinabove described.)
 
There are many animal rescue and protection organizations throughout Arizona who, by a telephone call will retrieve cats and take them to shelters.  Making such arrangements could avoid the risk of owner’s legal penalties, and danger to the felines.
 
You can start by calling Gila County’s Humane Society listings (928) 368-5295 (White Mountain Road), Humane Society of Southern Gila County (Globe): 480-202-5400 or check yellow page listings.

QUESTIONS

  • My husband died, I was ill when he died. My daughter brought me back to Iowa to get health care and live with her. Gila County is going to charge me with a Class 6 felony for abandoning feral cats if I do not return. I have no car or drivers license.

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  • State Bar of Arizona
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    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
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    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
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