Animals seized in cruelty and blood sports cases must often be held for long periods of time until ownership is either voluntarily relinquished or the animals are forfeited as part of the defendant’s criminal sentence. Given the substantial resources that are required for housing and care, these long hold periods can be one of the most significant barriers to a jurisdiction’s ability to enforce its animal cruelty laws. Long hold periods can also have a detrimental impact on the medical and behavioral well-being of animal victims, thereby reducing their chances of adoption. This session provides an overview of pre-conviction dispositional statutes such as bond/security posting and unfit owner laws which are available in many states but remain underutilized. Attendees will learn how these statutes can be used to secure legal ownership of seized animals prior to conviction so that the animals can be placed in new adoptive homes once they are released as evidence in the criminal case. Attendees will also learn practical tips for troubleshooting some of the legal challenges that typically arise in providing care to animals during protracted hold periods, given the animals’ unique status as both evidence in the criminal case and the property of the defendant.
The National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse was established by the National Sheriffs’ Association to provide law enforcement officers information on the realities of animal abuse and to promote their proactive involvement in the enforcement of animal abuse laws in their communities. Through our partners, the Center will serve as an information clearinghouse and forum for law enforcement on the growing problem of animal abuse and its link to other types of crimes, including violence against humans. The Center also promotes officer safety in officer-dog encounters through continuing education and training.
The National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA) was formed in 1978 for the express purpose of assisting its members to perform their duties in a professional manner. We believe only carefully selected and properly trained animal control personnel can correct community problems resulting from irresponsible animal ownership. NACA’s purpose is to preserve the Human/Animal Bond by insisting on responsible animal ownership.