Animal cruelty can encompass a variety of actions. Each jurisdiction has the right to dictate the laws, as well as the punishments for breaking the laws. In most cases, penalties have been increased and may include jail time and fines. In many cases, individuals found guilty of cruelty to animals, are often prohibited from having any pets, at least for a certain number of years.
Animal cruelty can include neglect. Neglect may be the result if misinformation in cases were people are unsure how to properly care for their pet. For instance, an animal may be malnourished because an individual was unsure of the proper feeding schedule.
There are also many cases of extreme animal abuse. Cases in which individuals simply drop of pets in the woods or in a public place and drive away, can be charged with animal cruelty as most pets are not very adept at surviving on their own. In addition, these animals can quickly multiply in numbers if they have not been spayed and neutered, posing a health risk to the community.
Animal cruelty may include community service in addition to fines. In cases where the individual is charged with neglect, the penalties may be less harsh than those that have inflicted harm on animals. For example, animal cruelty in which the animal suffered death or injury, would likely include much more harsh penalties than those crimes in which an individual was simply unsure of how to properly care for an animal.