Harming, Interfering With, or Obstructing a Peace Officer’s Horse or Dog – California Penal Code section 600
It is a common sight to see peace officers on horses at major events and protests, or bomb and drug sniffing dogs in front of stadiums, buildings, and transit hubs. In fact, K-9 units are utilized in all types of situations, including security checkpoints, perimeter controls, and surveillance. These animals are not pets and should be left alone and not interfered with. It is a crime in and of itself to harm, interfere, or obstruct a peace officer’s horse or dog. California Penal Code section 600 prohibits this type of conduct. California Penal Code section 600 is a wobbler, which means, depending on the circumstances, including the severity of the alleged conduct, a person can be charged with a felony or misdemeanor, which could result in severe consequences including collateral consequences.California Penal Code section 600
California Penal Code section 600 states in pertinent part that:
“(a) Any person who willfully and maliciously and with no legal justification strikes, beats, kicks, cuts, stabs, shoots with a firearm, administers any poison or other harmful or stupefying substance to, or throws, hurls, or projects at, or places any rock, object, or other substance which is used in such a manner as to be capable of producing injury and likely to produce injury, on or in the path of, a horse being used by, or a dog under the supervision of, a peace officer in the discharge of his or her duties, or a volunteer who I acting under the direct supervision of a peace officer in the discharge or attempted discharge of his or her assigned volunteer duties, is guilty of a public offense…”
Accordingly, to be found guilty of this crime, the prosecution would have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant struck, beat, kicked, cut, stabbed, shot with a firearm, administered poison or other harmful or stupefying substance to a horse being used by, or a dog under the supervision of, a peace officer or volunteer who is acting under the direct supervision of a peace officer.
- The defendant threw, hurled, projected at, or placed a rock, object or other substance used in such a manner as to be capable of producing injury and likely to produce injury, on or in the path of a horse being used by, or a dog under the supervision of, a peace officer or a volunteer who is acting under the direct supervision.
- The peace officer in question was in the discharge or attempted discharge of his or her duties.
- The defendant acted willfully and maliciously and with no legal justification.
- The defendant’s action caused injury to the horse or dog in question.
If the injury that is inflicted upon the horse or dog is a serious injury, the defendant may be charged with felony and the defendant, upon being found guilty, may be punished by a term of imprisonment of 16 months (low term) – two years (midterm) – three years (high term).
California Penal Code section 600 is a misdemeanor if the injury inflicted is not a serious injury. If charged as a misdemeanor, California Penal Code section 600 is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 and/or imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year.
An allegation of California Penal Code section 600 is serious and could result in serious penalties and other consequences. If you or a family member has been charged with or is being investigated for harming, interfering with, or obstructing a peace officer’s horse or dog in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, or Ventura County, it is imperative that you hire the best attorney that you can. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut knows how to effectively defend clients who have been accused of this type of felony or misdemeanor charge.
For more information about all types of felony and misdemeanor charges and to schedule your free consultation, contact attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.