1997 Regular Session
To: Judiciary B
By: Representatives King, Davis (102nd)
House Bill 1384
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE HUMANE SOCIETIES TO RECOVER ANIMALS THAT ARE BEING ABUSED; TO AUTHORIZE HUMANE SOCIETIES TO ARRANGE FOR THE CARE OF ANIMALS; TO AUTHORIZE THE EMPLOYMENT OF VETERINARIANS; TO PROVIDE FOR THE REGISTRATION OF ANIMALS CARED FOR UNDER THIS ACT; TO DETERMINE WHEN ANIMALS MAY LEAVE STABLES; TO PROVIDE FOR THE SALE OF ANIMALS WHEN THE OWNER FAILS TO PAY FOR TREATMENT; TO PROVIDE FOR THE LIABILITY OF A HUMANE SOCIETY FOR VETERINARIAN EXPENSES; TO PROVIDE AN ANIMAL'S OWNER WITH THE FIRST OPPORTUNITY TO PROVIDE PROPER TREATMENT; TO PROVIDE JUDICIAL REVIEW OF A HUMANE SOCIETY'S TREATMENT OF ANIMALS; TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THIS ACT; TO BRING FORWARD FOR PURPOSES OF AMENDMENT SECTIONS 97-41-1, 97-41-3, 97-41-5, 97-41-7, 97-41-9, 97-41-11, 97-41-13, 97-41-15, 97-41-16, 97-41-17 AND 97-41-19, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROHIBIT AND PRESCRIBE PENALTIES FOR CRUELTY TO ANIMALS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. All officers of incorporated humane societies, in municipalities over twenty-five thousand (25,000) and under one hundred thousand (100,000) inhabitants, and all officers of the law in the municipalities, who are hereby made special officers of the societies, when in their judgment cruelty is being practiced towards any animal or the animal is bruised, wounded, crippled, abrased, sick, or diseased, may remove the animal whenever found to any stable designated by the humane society, for care and treatment, there to remain until sufficiently recovered to resume service.
SECTION 2. Before any humane society can avail itself of the provisions of this act, the humane society shall arrange with some stable for the care of animals and charges shall be Fifty Cents (504) per day, provided, however, the medical attendance shall be extra. If the society maintains its own stable the charges shall be as provided in this section.
SECTION 3. The humane society after complying with Section 2 of this act shall arrange with some veterinary surgeon, and agree upon a scale of uniform charges, and the society may employ the surgeons to attend any animals that in their judgment need treatment.
SECTION 4. The stable designated or owned by the humane society shall keep a special book for the purpose of registering any animal entrusted to their care under this act and the book shall be open to inspection at all times.
SECTION 5. Animals removed to stables in accordance with this act shall remain until pronounced suitable to resume service by the humane society's officer, and in case the owner of the animal disagrees with the society's officer on this point, the president of the society shall call in a veterinary surgeon, and if the officer and the surgeon cannot agree, the president shall call in a disinterested experienced person whose decision as to the condition of the animal shall be final.
SECTION 6. After the animal has been cared for and treated the owner of the stable as well as the veterinary treating the animal shall notify the president of the society by sending a statement of their charges, and the president of the society shall cause a registered notice to be sent to the owner of the animal, apprising him of the fact that the animal is ready to resume service and advising him as to the amount of the charges. Should the owner not take the animal and pay the charges within five (5) days after the receipt of the notice the society may sell the animal at public auction in the manner now provided by law for judicial sales; the excess of the charges and expenses shall go to the owner of the animal.
SECTION 7. The humane society shall be liable to the stable or veterinary for their expenses and services under this act, but only as per the scale of charges agreed upon, and the society may remove the animals and change surgeons at its pleasure. A privilege is created upon all animals treated as above set out, in favor of the humane society, and it shall be superior to any other privilege on the animals.
SECTION 8. No officer of any humane society, or other officer, shall remove any animal to their stable or one designated by them, or to engage any veterinary to treat any animals as provided herein, without first giving the owner the privilege of removing the animal to his own stable or a stable designated by him; the owner may furnish his own treatment or veterinary surgeon, at all times, but the officer of the humane society may inspect the animal at all times, and if in his opinion the treatment accorded the animal is not proper or beneficial, the officer may place him in the society's stable or designated stable and under the care of their own surgeon as hereinabove set out. Should there be a disagreement as to the merits of the treatment of the animal it shall be decided as set out in Section 5 of this act.
SECTION 9. Any person feeling himself aggrieved at the action of the humane society or its officers may try the issues before a court of competent jurisdiction, but the issues meant herein shall only be as to whether the animal's condition is such as to warrant action by the society or whether the animal is in condition to be used, before or after treatment, or whether the treatment accorded the animal by the owner, as set out in Section 8 of this act, is proper or beneficial; no damages except the actual court costs shall be assessed against the society.
SECTION 10. Whoever resists the officers empowered by this act, in carrying out the provisions of this act, shall be fined not less than Five Dollars ($5.00) nor more than Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00), or imprisoned not less than five (5) days nor more than twenty-five (25) days, or both.
SECTION 11. Section 97-41-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
97-41-1. If any person shall override, overdrive, overload, torture, torment, unjustifiably injure, deprive of necessary sustenance, food, or drink; or cruelly beat or needlessly mutilate; or cause or procure to be overridden, overdriven, overloaded, tortured, unjustifiably injured, tormented, or deprived of necessary sustenance, food or drink; or to be cruelly beaten or needlessly mutilated or killed, any living creature, every such offender shall, for every offense, be guilty of a misdemeanor.
SECTION 12. Section 97-41-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
97-41-3. Any sheriff, constable, policeman, or agent of a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals may kill, or cause to be killed, any animal found neglected or abandoned, if in the opinion of three (3) respectable citizens it be injured or diseased past recovery, or by age has become useless.
SECTION 13. Section 97-41-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
97-41-5. If any person shall carry, or cause to be carried by hand or in or upon any vehicle or other conveyance, any creature in a cruel or inhuman manner, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
SECTION 14. Section 97-41-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
97-41-7. If any person shall confine, or cause to be confined, in any stable, lot, or other place, any living creature, without supplying the same during such confinement with a sufficient quantity of good and wholesome food and water, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
SECTION 15. Section 97-41-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
97-41-9. If any person be the owner or have the custody of any living creature and unjustifiably neglect or refuse to furnish it necessary sustenance, food, or drink, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
SECTION 16. Section 97-41-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
97-41-11. Any person who shall keep or use, or in any way be connected with or interested in the management of, or shall receive money for the admission of any person to, any place kept or used for the purpose of fighting any bear, cock or other creature, except a dog, or of tormenting or torturing the same, and every person who shall encourage, aid, or assist therein, or who shall permit or suffer any place to be so kept or used, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. It shall be the duty of any policeman or other officer of the law, county or municipal, to enter into any such place kept for such purpose, and to arrest each and every person concerned or participating therein.
SECTION 17. Section 97-41-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
97-41-13. Any person who shall violate any of Sections 97-41-3 to 97-41-11, or Section 97-27-7 on the subject of cruelty to animals shall, on conviction, be fined not less than Ten
Dollars ($10.00) nor more than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), or shall be imprisoned in the county jail not less than ten (10) days nor more than one hundred (100) days or both.
SECTION 18. Section 97-41-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
97-41-15. (1) Any person who shall maliciously, either out of a spirit of revenge or wanton cruelty, or who shall mischievously kill, maim or wound, or injure any livestock, or cause any person to do the same, shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction, shall be committed to the custody of the State Department of Corrections for not less than twelve (12) months nor more than five (5) years, and fined an amount not less than One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500.00), nor more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00).
(2) In addition to any such fine or imprisonment which may be imposed, the court shall order that restitution be made to the owner of any animal listed in subsection (1) of this section. The measure for restitution in money shall be the current replacement value of such loss and/or the actual veterinarian fees, special supplies, loss of income and other costs incurred as a result of actions in violation of subsection (1) of this section.
(3) For purposes of this section, the term "livestock" shall mean horses, cattle, swine, sheep and other domestic animals produced for profit.
SECTION 19. Section 97-41-16, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
97-41-16. (1) Any person who shall maliciously, either out of a spirit of revenge or wanton cruelty, or who shall mischievously kill, maim or wound, or injure any dog, or cause any person to do the same, shall be fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or be imprisoned not exceeding six (6) months.
(2) In addition to such fine or imprisonment which may be imposed, the court shall order that restitution be made to the owner of such dog. The measure for restitution in money shall be the current replacement value of such loss and/or the actual veterinarian fees, special supplies, loss of income and other cost incurred as a result of actions in violation of subsection (1) of this section.
SECTION 20. Section 97-41-17, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
97-41-17. Every person who shall wilfully and unlawfully administer any poison to any horse, mare, colt, mule, jack, jennet, cattle, deer, dog, hog, sheep, chicken, duck, goose, turkey, pea-fowl, guinea-fowl, or partridge, or shall maliciously expose any poison substance with intent that the same should be taken or swallowed by any horse, mare, colt, mule, jack, jennet, cattle, dog, hog, sheep, chicken, duck, goose, turkey, pea-fowl, guinea-fowl, or partridge, shall, upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment in the Penitentiary not exceeding three (3) years, or in the county jail not exceeding one (1) year, and by a fine not exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00).
SECTION 21. Section 97-41-19, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
97-41-19. (1) If any person (a) shall sponsor, promote, stage or conduct a fight or fighting match between dogs, or (b) shall wager or bet, promote or encourage the wagering or betting of any money or other valuable thing upon any such fight or upon the result thereof, or (c) shall own a dog with the intent to wilfully enter it or to participate in any such fight, or (d) shall train or transport a dog for the purposes of participation in any such fight, he shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a term of not less than one (1) nor more than three (3) years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.
(2) If any person shall be present, as a spectator, at any location where preparations are being made for an exhibition of a fight between dogs with the intent to be present at such preparations, or if any person shall be present at an exhibition of a fight between dogs with the intent to be present at such exhibition, he shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a term of not more than one (1) year, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.
(3) Any law enforcement officer making an arrest under subsection (1) of this section may lawfully take possession of all dogs and all paraphernalia, implements, equipment or other property used in violation of subsection (1) of this section. Such officer shall file with the circuit court of the county within which the alleged violation occurred an affidavit stating therein (a) the name of the person charged, (b) a description of the property taken, (c) the time and place of the taking, (d) the name of the person who claims to own such property, if known, and (e) that the affiant has reason to believe, stating the ground of such belief, that the property taken was used in such violation. He shall thereupon deliver the property to such court which shall, by order in writing, place such dogs, paraphernalia, implements, equipment, or other property in the custody of a licensed veterinarian, the local humane society or other animal welfare agency, or other suitable custodian, to be kept by such custodian until the conviction or final discharge of the accused, and shall send a copy of such order without delay to the district attorney of the county. The custodian named and designated in such order shall immediately assume the custody of such property and shall retain same, subject to order of the court.
Upon the certification of a licensed veterinarian or officer of the humane society or animal welfare agency that, in his professional judgment, a dog which has been seized is not likely to survive the final disposition of the charges or that, by reason of the physical condition of the dog, it should be humanely euthanized before such time, the court may order the dog humanely euthanized. The court shall make its finding of whether to issue such an order within seven (7) days from the certification by the veterinarian or officer of the humane society or animal welfare agency. The owner of a dog which is euthanized without an order of the court with such certification of a licensed veterinarian or officer of the humane society or other animal welfare agency shall have a right of action for damages against the department or agency by which the arresting or seizing officer is employed. Upon conviction of the person charged with a violation of subsection (1) of this section, all dogs seized shall be adjudged by the court to be forfeited and the court shall order a humane disposition of the same. In no event shall the court order the dog to be euthanized without the certification of a licensed veterinarian or officer of the humane society or other animal welfare agency that, in his judgment, the dog is not likely to survive or that, by reason of its physical condition, the dog should be humanely euthanized. In the event of the acquittal or final discharge without conviction of the accused, the court shall direct the delivery of the property so held in custody to the owner thereof. All reasonable expenses incurred by the custodian of seized dogs and property shall be charged as costs of court, to be taxed against the owner or county in the discretion of the court.
(4) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall prohibit any of the following:
(a) The use of dogs in the management of livestock, by the owner of such livestock or other persons in lawful custody thereof;
(b) The use of dogs in lawful hunting; and
(c) The training of dogs for any purpose not prohibited by law.
SECTION 22. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.