Agriculture & Markets - Animals - Seizure of animals lost, strayed, homeless, abandoned or improperly confined or kept


Published: 2018-10-05

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§ 373. Seizure of animals lost, strayed, homeless, abandoned or
improperly confined or kept. 1. Any police officer or agent or officer
of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or any
duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, may
lawfully take possession of any lost, strayed, homeless or abandoned
animal found in any street, road or other public place.

1-a. Any police officer in Lewis county may lawfully take possession
of any lost, strayed, homeless or abandoned domestic animal, as defined
in section one hundred eight of this chapter, found in any street, road
or other public place.

2. Any such police officer or agent or officer may also lawfully take
possession of any animal in or upon any premises other than a street,
road or other public place, which for more than twelve successive hours
has been confined or kept in a crowded or unhealthy condition or in
unhealthful or unsanitary surroundings or not properly cared for or
without necessary sustenance, food or drink, provided that a complaint
stating just and reasonable grounds is made under oath or affirmation to
any magistrate authorized to issue warrants in criminal cases, and that
such warrant authorizing entry and search is issued and delivered by
such magistrate; if just and reasonable cause is shown, the magistrate
shall immediately issue such warrant.

3. Any such police officer or agent or officer may also lawfully take
possession of any unwanted animal from the person in possession or
custody thereof.

4. When any person arrested is, at the time of such arrest, in charge
of any animal or of any vehicle drawn by or containing any animal, any
agent or officer of said society or societies or any police officer may
take charge of such animal and of such vehicle and its contents, and
deposit the same in a safe place or custody, or deliver the same into
the possession of the police or sheriff of the county or place wherein
such arrest was made, who shall thereupon assume the custody thereof;
and all necessary expenses incurred in taking charge of such property
shall be a charge thereon.

5. Nothing herein contained shall restrict the rights and powers
derived from section one hundred seventeen of this chapter relating to
seizure of unlicensed dogs and the disposition to be made of animals so
seized or taken, nor those derived from any other general or special law
relating to the seizure or other taking of dogs and other animals by a
society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

6. a. If any animal is seized and impounded pursuant to the provisions
of this section, section three hundred fifty-three-d of this article or
section three hundred seventy-five of this article for any violation of
this article, upon arraignment of charges, or within a reasonable time
thereafter, the duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty
to animals, humane society, pound, animal shelter or any authorized
agents thereof, hereinafter referred to for the purposes of this section
as the "impounding organization", may file a petition with the court in
which criminal charges have been filed requesting that the person from
whom an animal is seized or the owner of the animal be ordered to post a
security. The district attorney prosecuting the charges may file and
obtain the requested relief on behalf of the impounding organization if
requested to do so by the impounding organization. The security shall be
in an amount sufficient to secure payment for all reasonable expenses
expected to be incurred by the impounding organization in caring and
providing for the animal pending disposition of the charges. Reasonable
expenses shall include, but not be limited to, estimated medical care
and boarding of the animal for at least thirty days. The amount of the
security, if any, shall be determined by the court after taking into
consideration all of the facts and circumstances of the case including,
but not limited to the recommendation of the impounding organization
having custody and care of the seized animal and the cost of caring for
the animal. If a security has been posted in accordance with this
section, the impounding organization may draw from the security the
actual reasonable costs to be incurred by such organization in caring
for the seized animal.

b. (1) Upon receipt of a petition pursuant to paragraph a of this
subdivision the court shall set a hearing on the petition to be
conducted within ten business days of the filing of such petition. The
petitioner shall serve a true copy of the petition upon the defendant
and the district attorney if the district attorney has not filed the
petition on behalf of the petitioner. The petitioner shall also serve a
true copy of the petition on any interested person. For purposes of this
subdivision, interested person shall mean an individual, partnership,
firm, joint stock company, corporation, association, trust, estate or
other legal entity who the court determines may have a pecuniary
interest in the animal which is the subject of the petition. The
petitioner or the district attorney acting on behalf of the petitioner,
shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that
the person from whom the animal was seized violated a provision of this
article. The court may waive for good cause shown the posting of
security.

(2) If the court orders the posting of a security, the security shall
be posted with the clerk of the court within five business days of the
hearing provided for in subparagraph one of this paragraph. The court
may order the immediate forfeiture of the seized animal to the
impounding organization if the person ordered to post the security fails
to do so. Any animal forfeited shall be made available for adoption or
euthanized subject to subdivision seven-a of section one hundred
seventeen of this chapter or section three hundred seventy-four of this
article.

(3) In the case of an animal other than a companion animal or pet, if
a person ordered to post security fails to do so, the court may, in
addition to the forfeiture to a duly incorporated society for the
prevention of cruelty to animals, humane society, pound, animal shelter
or any authorized agents thereof, and subject to the restrictions of
sections three hundred fifty-four, three hundred fifty-seven and three
hundred seventy-four of this article, order the animal which was the
basis of the order to be sold, provided that all interested persons
shall first be provided the opportunity to redeem their interest in the
animal and to purchase the interest of the person ordered to post
security, subject to such conditions as the court deems appropriate to
assure proper care and treatment of the animal. The court may reimburse
the person ordered to post security and any interested persons any money
earned by the sale of the animal less any costs including, but not
limited to, veterinary and custodial care. Any animal determined by the
court to be maimed, diseased, disabled or infirm so as to be unfit for
sale or any useful purpose shall be forfeited to a duly incorporated
society for the prevention of cruelty to animals or a duly incorporated
humane society or authorized agents thereof, and be available for
adoption or shall be euthanized subject to section three hundred
seventy-four of this article.

(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or restrict in
any way the rights of a secured party having a security interest in any
animal described in this section. This section expressly does not impair
or subordinate the rights of such a secured lender having a security
interest in the animal or in the proceeds from the sale of such animal.

c. In no event shall the security prevent the impounding organization
having custody and care of the animal from disposing of the animal
pursuant to section three hundred seventy-four of this article prior to
the expiration of the thirty day period covered by the security if the
court makes a determination of the charges against the person from whom
the animal was seized prior thereto. Upon receipt of a petition from the
impounding organization, the court may order the person from whom the
animal was seized or the owner of the animal to post an additional
security with the clerk of the court to secure payment of reasonable
expenses for an additional period of time pending a determination by the
court of the charges against the person from whom the animal was seized.
The person who posted the security shall be entitled to a refund of the
security in whole or part for any expenses not incurred by such
impounding organization upon adjudication of the charges. The person who
posted the security shall be entitled to a full refund of the security,
including reimbursement by the impounding organization of any amount
allowed by the court to be expended, and the return of the animal seized
and impounded upon acquittal or dismissal of the charges, except where
the dismissal is based upon an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal
pursuant to section 215.30 of the criminal procedure law. The court
order directing such refund and reimbursement shall provide for payment
to be made within a reasonable time from the acquittal or dismissal of
charges.

7. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the
contrary, the court may order a person charged with any violation of
this article to provide necessary food, water, shelter and care for any
animal which is the basis of the charge, without the removal of the
animal from its existing location, until the charges against the person
are adjudicated. Until a final determination of the charges is made,
any law enforcement officer, officer of a duly incorporated society for
the prevention of cruelty to animals, or its authorized agents, may be
authorized by an order of the court to make regular visits to where the
animal is being kept to ascertain if the animal is receiving necessary
food, water, shelter and care. Nothing shall prevent any law enforcement
officer, officer of a duly incorporated society for the prevention of
cruelty to animals, or its authorized agents, from applying for a
warrant pursuant to this section to seize any animal being held by the
person charged pending the adjudication of the charges if it is
determined that the animal is not receiving the necessary food, water,
shelter or care.