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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 7, 2013 03:02 PM
From: Representative Brian L. Ellis
To: All House members
Subject: Cosponsor–Legislation providing for actions for costs of care of seized animals
Every year, hundreds of animals which have been abused are seized by law enforcement and are placed in shelters pending prosecution of the responsible persons for animal cruelty. Most often, the shelters are run by private non-profit organizations which rely on donations to operate. Our current law provides that the costs of keeping, care and destruction (if necessary) of seized animals is the responsibility of the owner, but there is no specific cost recovery process outlined, unless a court orders costs paid after a conviction. In the meantime, the cost of shelter, veterinary care and other expenses accrue and are borne by the shelter, not the owner or defendant. Even though there are often individuals willing to adopt the animal, until the court orders forfeiture after conviction, or the owner consents, the animal must remain in shelter.

I plan to introduce legislation which will fix this inequity by permitting either the prosecutor or the shelter to petition the court for an order requiring the defendant to pay the cost of care of the animal pending prosecution. My bill would require the court to enter an order quickly and if the defendant or owner thereafter does not pay the court ordered amount, forfeiture would enter and the animal would be available for placement in a loving home.

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Introduced as HB82