When a San Francisco resident (name withheld for privacy) set out for an excursion at Pier 14, it is certain that she never imagined being robed, much less losing two beloved pets. Strangely and suddenly, a man approached her and proceeded to grab all of her belongings away from her, including the two cat carriers she was holding. The man, said to have been wearing a black hoodie, then in a random gesture threw all of her possessions into the San Francisco Bay.
In the state of California, animal abuse and/or cruelty is against the law. According to (CA Penal Code 597), every type of animal is protected under this measure, from farm animals to strays. As long as the animal in question has been the victim of either abuse or neglect, an individual may be prosecuted on these charges. The mysterious man could eventually be arrested for robbery by ‘maliciously, intentionally, or cruelly killing of an animal’ for having thrown her beloved pets into the Bay.
Charges of animal cruelty are a wobbler in California, meaning that they may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or as a felony. If the man is eventually found and convicted of a misdemeanor charge, he could face a maximum fine of $20,000 and 1 year in county jail. However, if the case is prosecuted as a felony, he could face up to 3 years in state prison, $20,000 fine, in addition to possibly forced to seek counseling.