Cruelty to Animals Georgia Law
OCGA 16-12-4 (b), provides in pertinent part:
"A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals when he or she causes death or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering to any animal by an act, an omission, or willful neglect."
The three counts of the accusation each charged that Ford caused "the unjustifiable physical pain or suffering of a dog by an act or omission to wit by failing to provide adequate food or water or medical care" on a certain date.
In Smith v. State, 160 Ga. App. 26 (285 SE2d 749) (1981), the Court found that the accusation was sufficient in that it "identified the animals by species or breed and by location, and distinguished between similarly described animals on the basis of living and dead animals.
The misconduct by appellants and the harm caused by that conduct was set out in each count." Id. at 28 (3).
Likewise in Sirmans v. State, 244 Ga. App. 252 (534 SE2d 862) (2000), the Court found that the trial court did not err in overruling the special demurrer because the accusation identified the animals by species . . . and distinguished between similarly described animals on the basis of living and dead animals. Also, the misconduct by Sirmans was set out in each count. It strains credulity to assert that Sirmans did not know the specific offense with which he was charged or that such language does not allege criminal misconduct.
Overly technical niceties of pleading are no longer required so long as the accusation is sufficient to be easily understood by the jury or is substantially in the language of the statute.
Thus an accusation is sufficient if it charges the commission of an offense in plain terms and the nature of the offense is sufficiently described to permit both the accused and the jury to understand the crime charged in the accusation. Id. at 256 (5).
In Military Circle Pet Center No. 94 v. State, 181 Ga. App. 657, 658 (1) (a) (353 SE2d 555) (1987), reversed on other grounds, State v. Military Circle Pet Center No. 94, 257 Ga. 388 (360 SE2d 248) (1987), the Court reversed the denial of a special demurrer, holding that "when the definition of an offense includes generic terms, the accusation must state the species of the act charged and must descend to particulars."
In that regard, the Court found that the use of the term "neglect" in an accusation alleging cruelty to animals was too generic, and the accusation must assert the manner in which the defendants were negligent such as failure to provide adequate food and water or physical abuse.