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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

It is Illegal to Dye Live Chicks, Rabbits, and Ducklings in California

So says subsection (b) of California Penal Code section 599. The section in full states:

599. Every person is guilty of a misdemeanor who: 
(a) Sells or gives away, any live chicks, rabbits, ducklings, or other fowl as a prize for, or as an inducement to enter, any contest, game or other competition or as an inducement to enter a place of amusement or place of business; or 
(b) Dyes or otherwise artificially colors any live chicks, rabbits, ducklings or other fowl, or sells, offers for sale, or gives away any live chicks, rabbits, ducklings, or other fowl which has been dyed or artificially colored; or 
(c) Maintains or possesses any live chicks, rabbits, ducklings, or other fowl for the purpose of sale or display without adequate facilities for supplying food, water and temperature control needed to maintain the health of such fowl or rabbit; or (d) Sells, offers for sale, barters, or for commercial purposes gives away, any live chicks, rabbits, ducklings, or other fowl on any street or highway. This section shall not be construed to prohibit established hatchery management procedures or the display, or sale of natural chicks, rabbits, ducklings, or other fowl in proper facilities by dealers, hatcheries, poultrymen, or stores regularly engaged in the business of selling the same.
I have not had a chance to look into the legislative history behind this section, but I thought that it was interesting enough to share. Section 599 is located amid a number of other laws prohibiting other animal-related conduct, It is also worth pointing out that this conduct is a misdemeanor, meaning that somebody who carries out this conduct may face a maximum sentence of six months in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.

A final note: this particular section is limited to "chicks, rabbits, ducklings, or other fowl," and does not cover dogs, cats, or other household pets. As I have mentioned before, however, California's laws relating to animals can be a tangled and complicated subject to research. While I do not see any bans on dying dogs or cats in the statutory vicinity of Penal Code section 599, there may indeed be other laws elsewhere that prohibit that sort of conduct.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fair law to me. Animals should not be given away as prizes or presents, because the recipient might not take proper care of them. And it should go without saying not to dye the poor creatures. But some people have done worse and it's good to have a law in place that holds them accountable.