psych evaluation

Laws in favor of psychological evaluations and treatment

2022 U.S. Animal Protection Laws State Rankings

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Psychological evaluations and treatment for animal cruelty offenders

◼︎ Mandatory ◼︎ Permissive ◼︎ None

Psychological evaluations for animal cruelty offenders can help the court identify underlying causes of the offense, and craft more tailored, effective sentences. More effective sentences help reduce the likelihood that the person will reoffend, protecting potential future animal victims.

As of 2022, 18 states, the District of Columbia and the Northern Mariana Islands statutorily authorize the court in its discretion to order psychological evaluation and, if necessary, treatment for convicted animal abusers. An additional 19 states, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands require psychological evaluation/treatment for certain convicted animal abusers. However almost every one of those 19 states limits its mandatory counseling statute to certain abusers — typically people who committed torture or sexual assault of an animal, or those who were a juvenile at the time of the offense. In 2022, Virginia updated its law prohibiting the sexual assault of animals. The new law allows the court to order treatment or cancelling as part of the sentence upon conviction.

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