1st Engrossment - 83rd Legislature (2003 - 2004) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am
1.1 A bill for an act 1.2 relating to animals; imposing limits on ownership and 1.3 possession of certain dangerous animals; requiring 1.4 registration; providing criminal penalties; proposing 1.5 coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 346. 1.6 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 1.7 Section 1. [346.155] [OWNING DANGEROUS ANIMALS.] 1.8 Subdivision 1. [DEFINITIONS.] (a) The definitions in this 1.9 subdivision apply to this section. 1.10 (b) "Person" means any person, firm, partnership, 1.11 corporation, or association. 1.12 (c) "Wildlife sanctuary" means a 501(c)(3) nonprofit 1.13 organization that: 1.14 (1) operates a place of refuge where abused, neglected, 1.15 unwanted, impounded, abandoned, orphaned, or displaced wildlife 1.16 are provided care for their lifetime; 1.17 (2) does not conduct any commercial activity with respect 1.18 to any animal of which the organization is an owner; 1.19 (3) does not buy, sell, trade, auction, lease, loan, or 1.20 breed any animal of which the organization is an owner, except 1.21 as an integral part of the species survival plan of the American 1.22 Zoo and Aquarium Association; and 1.23 (4) is accredited by the American Sanctuary Association or 1.24 the Association of Sanctuaries. 1.25 (d) "Possess" means to own, care for, have custody of, or 2.1 control. 2.2 (e) "Prohibited animal" means: 2.3 (1) all members of the Felidae family including, but not 2.4 limited to, lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, cheetahs, ocelots, 2.5 and servals, but not including domestic cats or cats recognized 2.6 as a domestic breed, registered as a domestic breed, and shown 2.7 as a domestic breed by a national or international multibreed 2.8 cat registry association; 2.9 (2) bears; and 2.10 (3) all nonhuman primates, including, but not limited to, 2.11 lemurs, monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, marmosets, 2.12 lorises, and tamarins. 2.13 Prohibited animal includes any hybrid or cross between an 2.14 animal listed in clause (1), (2), or (3) and a domestic animal 2.15 and offspring from all subsequent generations of those crosses 2.16 or hybrids. 2.17 (f) "Local animal control authority" means an agency of the 2.18 state, county, municipality, or other governmental subdivision 2.19 of the state that is responsible for animal control operations 2.20 in its jurisdiction. 2.21 Subd. 2. [POSSESSION OF PROHIBITED ANIMALS.] (a) Except as 2.22 provided in this section, it is unlawful for a person to possess 2.23 a prohibited animal. 2.24 (b) A person who possesses a prohibited animal on the 2.25 effective date of this section has 90 days to come into 2.26 compliance with regulations promulgated by the United States 2.27 Department of Agriculture for prohibited animals under the 2.28 Animal Welfare Act, Public Law 89-544, and its subsequent 2.29 amendments, and the regulations adopted under that act relating 2.30 to facilities and operations, animal health and husbandry, and 2.31 veterinary care for prohibited animals. 2.32 (c) Except as provided in paragraph (e), a person must not 2.33 take possession of a prohibited animal after the effective date 2.34 of this section. 2.35 (d) Except as provided in paragraph (e), a person must not 2.36 allow prohibited animals in their possession to breed after the 3.1 effective date of this section. 3.2 (e) A person who possesses a valid United States Department 3.3 of Agriculture license and is in compliance with the United 3.4 States Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare Act regulations 3.5 and standards on the effective date of this section may breed, 3.6 purchase, or otherwise acquire new prohibited animals after the 3.7 effective date of this section in order to maintain their 3.8 inventory, or to sell prohibited animals to other United States 3.9 Department of Agriculture licensed and compliant facilities, 3.10 persons registered under this section for replacement of animals 3.11 in possession on the effective date of this section, or to 3.12 exempt facilities under subdivision 7. 3.13 (f) It is unlawful for a person in control of real property 3.14 to knowingly permit another person to possess a prohibited 3.15 animal on that property, except in compliance with this section. 3.16 Subd. 3. [REGISTRATION.] (a) Within 60 days after the 3.17 effective date of this section, a person who possesses a 3.18 prohibited animal must notify in writing the local animal 3.19 control authority using a registration form prepared by the 3.20 local animal control authority. The notification shall include 3.21 the person's name, address, telephone number, and a complete 3.22 inventory of each prohibited animal that the person possesses. 3.23 The inventory shall include the following information: number 3.24 and species of each prohibited animal; the microchip number and 3.25 manufacturer for each prohibited animal if available; the exact 3.26 location where each prohibited animal is kept; and age, sex, 3.27 color, weight, scars, and any distinguishing marks of each 3.28 prohibited animal. 3.29 (b) If a person who possesses a prohibited animal has a 3.30 microchip implanted in the animal for identification, the name 3.31 of the microchip manufacturer and the identification number of 3.32 the microchip must be provided to the local animal control 3.33 authority. 3.34 (c) The local animal control authority may charge a 3.35 reasonable fee to register a prohibited animal. 3.36 Subd. 4. [REQUIREMENTS.] (a) A person who possesses a 4.1 prohibited animal must maintain health and ownership records on 4.2 each animal and must maintain the records for the life of the 4.3 animal. 4.4 (b) A person who possesses a prohibited animal must notify 4.5 the local animal control authority in writing within ten days of 4.6 a change in address or location where the prohibited animal is 4.7 kept. 4.8 (c) A person who possesses a prohibited animal shall 4.9 prominently display a sign at each entrance of the premises 4.10 indicating that a prohibited animal is on the premises. 4.11 (d) A person who possesses a prohibited animal must notify, 4.12 as soon as practicable, local law enforcement officials of any 4.13 escape of a prohibited animal. The person who possesses the 4.14 prohibited animal is liable for any costs incurred by any 4.15 person, city, county, or state agency resulting from the escape 4.16 of a prohibited animal unless the escape is due to a criminal 4.17 act or a natural event. 4.18 (e) If a person who possesses a prohibited animal can no 4.19 longer care for the animal, the person shall take steps to find 4.20 long-term placement for the prohibited animal. 4.21 Subd. 5. [SEIZURE.] (a) If a person who possesses a 4.22 prohibited animal is not in compliance with the requirements of 4.23 this section, the local animal control authority shall take 4.24 possession of the animal for custody and care, provided that the 4.25 procedures in this subdivision are followed. 4.26 (b) Upon request of a person possessing a prohibited 4.27 animal, the local animal control authority may allow the animal 4.28 to remain in the physical custody of the owner for 30 days, 4.29 during which time the owner shall take all necessary actions to 4.30 come in compliance with this section. During the 30-day period, 4.31 the local animal control authority shall inspect, at any 4.32 reasonable time, the premises where the animal is kept. 4.33 (c) If a person who possesses a prohibited animal is not in 4.34 compliance with this section following the 30-day period 4.35 described in paragraph (b), the local animal control authority 4.36 shall seize the animal and place it in a holding facility that 5.1 is appropriate for the species for up to ten days. The 5.2 authority taking custody of an animal under this section shall 5.3 provide a notice of the seizure by delivering or mailing it to 5.4 the owner, by posting a copy of it at the place where the animal 5.5 is taken into custody, or by delivering it to a person residing 5.6 on the property and informing the owner by telephone, if 5.7 possible. The notice must include: 5.8 (1) a description of the animal seized; the authority for 5.9 and purpose of the seizure; the time, place, and circumstances 5.10 under which the animal was seized; and the location, address, 5.11 telephone number, and contact person where the animal is kept; 5.12 (2) a statement that a person from whom a prohibited animal 5.13 was seized may post security to prevent disposition of the 5.14 animal and may request a hearing concerning the seizure and that 5.15 failure to do so within five business days of the date of the 5.16 notice will result in disposition of the animal; 5.17 (3) a statement that actual costs of the care, keeping, and 5.18 disposal of the prohibited animal are the responsibility of the 5.19 person from whom the animal was seized, except to the extent 5.20 that a court or hearing officer finds that the seizure or 5.21 impoundment was not substantially justified by law; and 5.22 (4) a form that can be used by a person from whom a 5.23 prohibited animal was seized for requesting a hearing under this 5.24 subdivision. 5.25 (d) If a person from whom the prohibited animal was seized 5.26 makes a request within five business days of the seizure, a 5.27 hearing must be held within five business days of the request to 5.28 determine the validity of the seizure and disposition of the 5.29 animal. The judge or hearing officer may authorize the return 5.30 of the animal to the person from whom the animal was seized if 5.31 the judge or hearing officer finds: 5.32 (1) that the person can and will provide the care required 5.33 by law for the prohibited animal; and 5.34 (2) the prohibited animal is physically fit. 5.35 (e) If a judge or hearing officer orders a permanent 5.36 disposition of the prohibited animal, the local animal control 6.1 authority may take steps to find long-term placement for the 6.2 animal with a wildlife sanctuary. 6.3 (f) A person from whom a prohibited animal is seized is 6.4 liable for all actual costs of care, keeping, and disposal of 6.5 the animal, except to the extent that a court or hearing officer 6.6 finds that the seizure was not substantially justified by law. 6.7 The costs must be paid in full or a mutually satisfactory 6.8 arrangement for payment must be made between the municipality 6.9 and the person claiming an interest in the animal before return 6.10 of the animal to the person. 6.11 (g) A person from whom a prohibited animal is seized, which 6.12 animal is in custody under this subdivision, may prevent 6.13 disposition of the animal by posting security in an amount 6.14 sufficient to provide for the actual costs of care and keeping 6.15 of the animal. The security must be posted within five days of 6.16 the seizure inclusive of the day of seizure. 6.17 (h) If exigent circumstances exist threatening the life of 6.18 a person or the life of any animal, local law enforcement or the 6.19 local animal control authority shall seize a prohibited animal 6.20 without an opportunity for hearing or court order. 6.21 Subd. 6. [DISPOSAL OF ANIMALS.] Upon proper determination 6.22 by a Minnesota licensed veterinarian, any prohibited animal 6.23 taken into custody under this section may be immediately 6.24 disposed of when the prohibited animal is suffering and is 6.25 beyond cure through reasonable care and treatment. The 6.26 authority taking custody of the prohibited animal may recover 6.27 all costs incurred under this section. 6.28 Subd. 7. [EXEMPTIONS.] This section does not apply to: 6.29 (1) institutions accredited by the American Zoo and 6.30 Aquarium Association; 6.31 (2) a wildlife sanctuary; 6.32 (3) fur-bearing animals, as defined in section 97A.015, 6.33 possessed by a game farm that is licensed under section 97A.105 6.34 or bears possessed by a game farm that is licensed under section 6.35 97A.105; 6.36 (4) the Department of Natural Resources, or a person 7.1 authorized by permit issued by the commissioner of natural 7.2 resources pursuant to section 97A.401, subdivision 3; 7.3 (5) a Minnesota licensed or accredited research or medical 7.4 institution; or 7.5 (6) a circus, carnival, rodeo, or county fair. 7.6 Subd. 8. [REPORT TO THE BOARD OF ANIMAL HEALTH.] By July 1 7.7 each year, local animal control authorities shall report to the 7.8 Board of Animal Health on prohibited animals registered with the 7.9 local animal control authorities. The report shall include all 7.10 registration information submitted to the local animal control 7.11 authority under subdivision 3, paragraph (a), and information on 7.12 enforcement actions taken under this section. 7.13 Subd. 9. [PENALTY.] A person who knowingly violates 7.14 subdivisions 2, 3, or 4 is guilty of a misdemeanor.