UCMJ ARTICLE 134: ANIMAL ABUSE
At Bilecki Law Group, believe every service member has earned their right to an aggressive defense on their day in court. We specialize in taking the fight to the prosecution and winning cases that others said were unwinnable.
Animal abuse of any kind is strictly forbidden by the U.S. Military. Service members who have been accused of cruelty, abuse, or the abandonment of an animal while employed by the military may face charges under Article 134 of the UCMJ.
Article 134 of the UCMJ is a blanket article defining dozens of unique criminal offenses not mentioned anywhere else in the Manual for Court Martial. Animal abuse is one such criminal charge. Should you be convicted, the military may see fit to punish you severely, which could include, but may not be limited to:
- A punitive discharge, leading to a forfeiture of all military pay, bonuses, and salaries.
- Up to a year in confinement for charges related to the abuse or abandonment of an animal. This could extend out for up to 5 years in the case of animal sexual abuse.
- The loss of all military benefits, including your retirement and healthcare. This alone could be worth tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Animal cruelty is considered a serious offense by the U.S. Military. Do not let them throw the book at you. Fight back TODAY by making one call to Bilecki Law Group.
Article 134 (Animal Abuse) Elements
Every article of the UCMJ requires prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a handful of critical assumptions—known as elements—to convict you of a crime. Article 134 contains two separate criminal offenses related to animal abuse, each with its own set of elements:
- Abuse, neglect, or abandonment of an animal.
- That the accused wrongfully abused, neglected, or abandoned a certain (public) animal (and the abused caused the serious injury or death of the animal), and;
- That, under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.
2. Sexual act with an animal
- That the accused engaged in a sexual act with a certain animal; and
- That, under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was
- That the accused held a position of authority over the person maltreated
Summary of the Elements of Article 134 (Animal Abuse): There are two offenses under article 134 (Animal Abuse). Both offenses concern cruelty, abuse, and abandonment of an animal while in the service of the U.S. Armed Forces. Animal abuse as defined by the Manual for Court Martial concerns any animal publicly or privately owned, or any animal that is traditionally “raised by people,” regardless of whether the animal is currently owned or not.
Military Animal Abuse Defense
Securing the best outcome possible in your case will require planning, preparation, and a full appreciation of what you’re up against. Service members who walk into their court-martial unprepared will be decimated by the military’s experienced prosecutors. Therefore, the first step to a positive outcome is hiring an attorney that understands how to win animal abuse cases.
Since we founded the practice, Bilecki Law Group has been giving U.S. service members a chance to fight back against the military’s conviction machine. To do so, we rely on a mixture of tenacity, experience, and a dedicated in-house team to even our client’s odds in court.
You are up against a system which convicts 90% of the accused Soldiers. Fighting back means playing by a different set of rules. And to accomplish that, you need Bilecki Law Group at your side on your day in court.
- We are tenacious advocates for our clients. Prosecutors want to paint you as a violent criminal who harms innocent animals. But events and actions are never that black and white. We will defend your side of the story relentlessly during your court-martial, ensuring that the judge and jury know all the facts about what happened and why.
- We understand the UCMJ and its take on animal abuse. Decades of experience working with the UCMJ and the Manual for Court Martial gives us a head start in preparing your defense. No detail of the Article 134 offenses is small enough to escape our notice.
- We employ a dedicated in-house team of experts. From our skilled private investigator to our knowledgeable paralegal staff, we have support behind our attorneys that few military law firms can match.
A conviction could mean prison, a punitive discharge, and the loss of all your benefits. Do not take the risk. Contact our team today!
Maximum Possible Punishment
The most punishing criminal offense under Article 134 governing animal abuse is the sexual abuse of an animal. This could put a service member behind bars for half a decade and is the only animal abuse charge which warrants a dishonorable discharge.
The abuse, neglect, or abandonment of an animal carries a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison and a bad-conduct discharge.
What Does the Military Define as an Abandoned Animal?
The UCMJ describes animal abandonment as the “intentional, knowing, reckless or negligent leaving of an animal at a location without providing minimum care while having the charge or custody of that animal.”
Experienced Military Defense Lawyers for Article 134 Charges
Have you been accused of animal abuse by the U.S. Military?
Bilecki Law Group has been helping service members just like you protect themselves against the worst-case scenario for decades. Do not wait a minute longer to seek support. Our law firm is one of the most experienced in the country, with hundreds of courts-martial cases under our belts.
Bilecki Law Group will help you fight back against charges under Article 134: Animal Abuse.