1997 Regular Session
To: Wildlife and Fisheries
By: Senator(s) Farris
Senate Bill 3019
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; 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, the animal is bruised, wounded, crippled, abraded, sick or diseased, or the provisions of Section 97-41-1 relating to cruelty to animals have been violated, 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 surgeon 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 notice to be sent to the owner of the animal by registered mail, 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 surgeon 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 lien for authorized expenses is created upon all animals treated as above set out in favor of the humane society, and it shall be superior to any other lien 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 surgeon 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. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.