Intentional Cruelty Towards Animals Considered Third Degree Felony
In Reynolds v. State, 842 So. 2d 46, 49, 51 (Fla. 2002), the Court upheld a statute providing that "[a] person who intentionally commits an act to any animal which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done" commits a third-degree felony. Id. at 47 (quoting 828.12(2), Fla. Stat. (1997)).
The Court acknowledged that this statute required only the general intent to commit an act and not the specific intent to cause the cruel death or unnecessary pain and suffering of an animal. Id. at 48.
The Court concluded that the Legislature had authority to require only general intent, and had "put potential offenders on express notice of the intent required to violate" the statute. Id. at 51.
Further, we found the general intent requirement to be "obviously reasonably related to the harm sought to be avoided." Id.