1Providing for actions for costs of care of seized animals.

2The General Assembly finds and declares that:

3(1)  Owners of animals have a duty of care.

4(2)  Because of this duty of care, owners of animals are
5responsible for the costs of caring for those animals and
6that responsibility continues if those animals are duly

8(3)  The General Assembly has enacted 18 Pa.C.S. § 5511
9(relating to cruelty to animals) relating to cruelty to
10animals which can lead to seizure of animals.

11(4)  Neither 18 Pa.C.S. § 5511 nor this act pertains to
12activity undertaken in normal agricultural operations.

13The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
14hereby enacts as follows:

15Section 1.  Short title.

16This act shall be known and may be cited as the Costs of Care

1of Seized Animals Act.

2Section 2.  Definitions.

3The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
4have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
5context clearly indicates otherwise:

6"Costs order."  A court order to pay reasonable costs of care
7issued under section 5(e).

8"Defendant."  A person charged with a violation of 18 Pa.C.S.
9§ 5511 (relating to cruelty to animals).

10"Normal agricultural operation."  As defined under 18 Pa.C.S.
11§ 5511(q) (relating to cruelty to animals).

12"Petition."  A petition for reasonable costs of care for any
13animal seized under 18 Pa.C.S. § 5511 (relating to cruelty to

15"Petitioner."  A person or entity that files a petition under
16this act.

17"Reasonable costs of care."  As follows:

18(1)  The reasonable costs of caring for seized animals,
19including the provision of food, water, shelter and medical
20care, beginning at the date of the seizure and continuing
21until the earlier of one of the following:

22(i)  At least 30 days following a hearing on a
23petition for costs of care.

24(ii)  The seized animals are no longer under the
25control of the petitioner.

26(iii)  The owner and defendant have relinquished all
27interests in the seized animals.

28(2)  Reasonable costs of care shall be limited to $15 per
29day per animal, in addition to necessary medical care, as
30determined by a licensed veterinarian and documented by


2"Respondent."  Any of the following:

3(1)  A defendant.

4(2)  An owner of a seized animal.

5"Society or association."  A nonprofit society or association
6duly incorporated under 15 Pa.C.S. Ch. 53 Subch. A (relating to
7incorporation generally) for the purpose of the prevention of
8cruelty to animals.

9Section 3.  Petition for reasonable costs of care.

10(a)  Filing.--If animals are seized under 18 Pa.C.S. § 5511
11(relating to cruelty to animals), a petition may be filed, with
12the same magisterial district court where related criminal
13charges have been filed, by any of the following:

14(1)  A county or municipal official.

15(2)  A society or association or other incorporated
16nonprofit organization providing care for the animals.

17(b)  Time.--A petition may not be filed later than the entry
18of final judgment on the related criminal charge for a violation
19of 18 Pa.C.S. § 5511.

20Section 4.  Respondents.

21(a)  Defendant.--Not later than five days after filing a
22petition under section 3, the petitioner shall serve the
23petition on the defendant by personal service or by registered
24mail to any of the following:

25(1)  The defendant's mailing address.

26(2)  The place of business of the defendant's counsel.

27(3)  The detention facility where the defendant is

29(b)  Owner.--The petitioner shall serve the petition on the
30owner of a seized animal if all of the following apply:

1(1)  The petitioner is aware that the defendant is not
2the owner of the seized animals.

3(2)  The petitioner is aware of the owner's location.

4Section 5.  Hearing.

5(a)  Date.--Upon receipt of a petition, the court shall set a
6date for a hearing to determine the responsibility of a
7respondent for reasonable costs of care.

8(b)  Time.--A hearing under subsection (a) shall be scheduled
9not less than seven days but not more than 14 days from the
10service of the petition on the respondent.

11(c)  Evidence.--At the hearing, the petitioner shall present
12evidence that demonstrates the amount of reasonable costs of
13care for the seized animals and that the seizure was warranted.

14(d)  Objection.--All respondents shall have the opportunity
15at the hearing to object to the petition.

16(e)  Costs order.--

17(1)  Not later than five days after the commencement of
18the hearing, the court shall issue an order granting or
19denying the petition. If the court grants the petition, the
20order shall include the amount of reasonable costs of care to
21be paid by the respondent.

22(2)  The costs order shall include a schedule of monthly
23payments for costs of care to be paid by the respondent
24beginning 30 days after the initial payment designated in the
25order under paragraph (1). Payments shall continue until
26termination under section 7. The respondents' ability to pay
27shall not affect the court's determination as to the amount
28of the reasonable costs of care.

29Section 6.  Payment of reasonable expenses.

30(a)  General rule.--Not later than five days after service of

1the costs order, the respondent shall deposit the ordered amount
2with the clerk of courts. The respondent shall make payments
3thereafter under the costs order until termination under section

5(b)  Nonpayment.--If a respondent subject to a costs order
6fails to timely pay any of the amounts ordered, the following
7shall apply:

8(1)  A seized animal for which reasonable costs of care
9were ordered shall be automatically forfeited, by operation
10of law, to the petitioner.

11(2)  The petitioner shall obtain all rights and
12privileges in and over the animals.

13(c)  Adjustment.--The court, upon motion by a petitioner or
14respondent and after a hearing consistent with section 5, may
15adjust the amount of reasonable costs of care.

16(d)  Disbursement.--After deposit of the funds under
17subsection (a), the clerk of the courts shall disburse the funds
18to the petitioner. Disbursement of the funds shall not prevent
19the petitioner from doing any of the following:

20(1)  Providing necessary medical care, including
21euthanizing any seized animal. The petitioner may euthanize a
22seized animal if the petitioner obtains a written opinion
23from a licensed veterinarian who states it is necessary to
24alleviate the animal's suffering.

25(2)  Transferring a seized animal if any of the following

27(i)  The court orders the transfer.

28(ii)  The defendant or owner of the animal surrenders
29all rights to the animal.

30Section 7.  Termination of costs order.

1(a)  Time.--A costs order shall be terminated upon the
2occurrence of any of the following:

3(1)  The issuance of a final judgment on the criminal
4charge for a violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 5511 (relating to
5cruelty to animals).

6(2)  The defendant or owner of the animals surrendering
7all rights to the animals.

8(3)  The seized animals being no longer under the control
9of the petitioner.

10(b)  Remittance.--No earlier than the issuance of the final
11order on the related criminal charge for a violation of 18
12Pa.C.S. § 5511, any unused portion of reasonable costs of care
13remaining after full payment in accordance with a costs order
14shall be remitted to the defendant or owner.

15Section 8.  Examination.

16Notwithstanding any other rights under 18 Pa.C.S. § 5511
17(relating to cruelty to animals) and not later than the
18commencement of the hearing under section 5, the defendant or
19owner of the animal shall have one opportunity to examine the
20seized animal for the purposes of preserving evidence. The
21examination shall be completed in the presence of a law
22enforcement officer.

23Section 9.  Immunity.

24A petitioner shall be immune from civil liability for damages
25alleged by a defendant or owner concerning the care provided by
26the petitioner.

27Section 10.  Applicability.

28Nothing in this act shall apply to animals used for
29activities undertaken in a normal agricultural operation.

30Section 30.  Effective date.

1This act shall take effect in 60 days.