2005 Missouri Revised Statutes - § 578.012. — Animal abuse--penalties.
578.012. 1. A person is guilty of animal abuse when a person:
(1) Intentionally or purposely kills an animal in any manner not allowed by or expressly exempted from the provisions of sections 578.005 to 578.023 and 273.030, RSMo;
(2) Purposely or intentionally causes injury or suffering to an animal; or
(3) Having ownership or custody of an animal knowingly fails to provide adequate care or adequate control.
2. Animal abuse is a class A misdemeanor, unless the defendant has previously plead guilty to or has been found guilty of animal abuse or the suffering involved in subdivision (2) of subsection 1 of this section is the result of torture or mutilation, or both, consciously inflicted while the animal was alive, in which case it is a class D felony.
(L. 1983 S.B. 211 § 4, A.L. 1994 S.B. 545, A.L. 1996 S.B. 491, A.L. 2001 S.B. 462)
(1989) "Willfully" is an essential element of the offense of animal abuse and distinguishes it from the offense of animal neglect. State v. Price, 772 S.W.2d 9 (Mo.App.E.D.).
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