Poisoned Meatballs Give San Francisco Pet Owners Cause to Worry (CA Penal Code §596)

Poisoned Meatballs Give San Francisco Pet Owners Cause to Worry (CA Penal Code §596)

Rabin Nabizadeh
July 4, 2013

It sounds like the beginning of a bad B-horror movie or a cruel prank.  Poisoned meatballs have evidently been left in various public areas in Diamond Heights and Twin Peaks – ostensibly with the purpose of causing serious harm to local pups and other pets.  One dog even had a close brush with death after having ingested one of these meatballs on its morning walk.

No one yet knows what kind of poison will be found in the cooked meatballs – some of which were found near Crestline Drive and others at Burnett Avenue – or why someone seems to be attempting to harm neighborhood pets.  Is this someone who simply hates dogs or a scheme to eliminate one pet that has gotten out of control? We may never know the answer to that question, but what is sure is that this kind of behavior is absolutely against California law.

Willfully poisoning animals – or, in this case, leaving a poisoned substance with the intent that an animal will swallow it – falls under the “Malicious Mischief” section of the CA Penal Code §596.  This makes it a misdemeanor to purposefully give an animal poison without the consent of said pet’s owner.  There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, including the fact that property owners may rid themselves of “predatory animals” or dogs who are attempting to kill livestock.  Even in this last case, however, it is necessary to post the appropriate warning signs before setting out poisoned bait for predatory animals.

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