SB 63 - This act modifies various provisions relating to dog fighting.
This act increases the penalty for being a spectator at a dog fighting event from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony for a second or subsequent offense.
Any authorized public health official or law enforcement officer may seek a warrant to allow him or her to enter private property to inspect, care for, or impound dogs that are the subject of a dogfighting violation. The county sheriff, or a designee, shall be notified when a public health official or law enforcement officer is seeking a warrant to enter property because of a dog fighting violation. The sheriff shall participate in serving the warrant.
Any law enforcement officer or public health official, who has probable cause to believe a violation of the dog fighting provisions has occurred and who has the authority to make a lawful seizure, shall take possession of the dogs and other property used in the violation.
The officer or official taking possession of the dog or property shall file with the court an affidavit verifying certain information relating to the violation and stating that he or she has reason to believe a violation has or was about to occur.
A person performing a lawful seizure because of a dog fighting violation, whether acting under the authority of a warrant or not, shall be given a disposition hearing within 30 days of the filing of the request in order to grant immediate disposition of the impounded dog. The person seizing the dog shall place it in the care of a veterinarian, animal shelter, or animal control authority. If such people are not available, the dog shall not be impounded unless diseased or disabled. The dog shall be humanely killed if a veterinarian determines the dog is diseased or disabled beyond recovery. No person who lawfully seizes a dog shall be liable for necessary property damage.
Owners of an impounded dog may prevent disposition of the dog by posting bond in an amount sufficient to cover the dog's care for 30 days. The authority with custody may dispose of the dog at the end of such time unless there is a court order prohibiting it. The court order shall provide for a bond or other security in an amount to cover the cost of care, keeping, or disposal of the dog.
The owner of a dog humanely killed under this act shall not be entitled to recover damages for the value of the dog if it was found by a veterinarian to be diseased or disabled or if the owner failed to post bond for its care and disposition after being notified of the impoundment.
This act repeals provisions requiring dogs that are subject to a dog fighting violation be kept until a conviction or final discharge occurs with the case.
This act is similar to SB 819 (2008), HB 889 (2009), and SB 201 (2009).
SUSAN HENDERSON MOORE