SB 331 - This act modifies provisions relating to the confiscation of animals.
Currently, any authorized public health or law enforcement official may seek a warrant to enter property in order to impound neglected or abused animals. Under this act, only law enforcement officials may seek such warrant to enter property in order to confiscate neglected or abused animals as set forth in the warrant.
Currently, a person acting under the authority of a warrant shall be given a disposition hearing within 30 days of the filing request for the purpose of granting disposition of the animal. Under this act, a person acting under the authority of a warrant shall appear at a disposition hearing within 10 days of confiscation. This act also allows a person acting under the authority of a warrant to place animals in the care or custody of a third party approved by the court if such third party is available. The owner of any animal that has been confiscated shall not be responsible for the animal's care prior to the disposition hearing if the owner is acquitted.
Currently, the owner of an impounded animal may prevent disposition of the animal by posting bond in an amount to cover such animal's care and keeping. Under this act, after completion of a disposition hearing, the owner may prevent disposition of the animal after the disposition hearing and until the final judgment by posting reasonable bond within 72 hours of the disposition hearing in an amount consistent with the fair market cost of boarding such animal.
Currently, the authority taking custody of an animal shall give notice of the bond posting option and animal impoundment provisions of law by posting a copy of the law at the place where the animal was taken into custody or by delivering a copy to a person residing on the property where the animal was obtained. Under this act, the provision allowing notice to be served by posting a copy of the law at the place where the animal was taken into custody is repealed.
All animals confiscated under this act shall receive proper care. Any facility or organization shall be liable to the animal owner for any abuse while the animal was in the care of such facility or organization. Under this act, if the confiscated animal's owner is not liable for the costs and care of the animal while charges were pending, such costs shall be paid by the confiscating agency and the owner may demand return of the animal held in custody.
This act creates the crime of animal euthanasia if he or she intentionally euthanizes or sterilizes an animal prior to a disposition hearing or during any period for which reasonable bond was secured for the animal's care under this act. The crime of animal euthanasia is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor for the first offense, and a Class A misdemeanor for any subsequent offenses.
This act is similar to HB 384 (2017).