3.737 Livestock owners; compensation for destroyed or crippled animals.
Subdivision 1. Compensation required. (a) Notwithstanding section 3.736, subdivision 3, paragraph (e), or any other law, a livestock owner shall be compensated by the commissioner of agriculture for livestock that is destroyed by a timber wolf or is so crippled by a timber wolf that it must be destroyed. The owner is entitled to the fair market value of the destroyed livestock, not to exceed $750 per animal destroyed, as determined by the commissioner, upon recommendation of a university extension agent and a conservation officer.
(b) Either the agent or the conservation officer must make a personal inspection of the site. The agent or the conservation officer must take into account factors in addition to a visual identification of a carcass when making a recommendation to the commissioner. The commissioner, upon recommendation of the agent and conservation officer, shall determine whether the livestock was destroyed by a timber wolf and any deficiencies in the owner's adoption of the best management practices developed in subdivision 5. The commissioner may authorize payment of claims only if the agent and the conservation officer have recommended payment. The owner shall file a claim on forms provided by the commissioner and available at the university extension agent's office.
Subd. 2. Deduction from payment. Payments made under this section shall be reduced by amounts received by the owner as proceeds from an insurance policy covering livestock losses, or from any other source for the same purpose including, but not limited to, a federal program.
Subd. 3. Rules. The commissioner shall adopt and may amend rules to carry out this section which shall include: methods of valuation of livestock destroyed; criteria for determination of the cause for livestock loss; notice requirements by the owner of destroyed livestock; and other matters determined necessary by the commissioner to carry out this section.
Subd. 4. Payment, denial of compensation. (a) If the commissioner finds that the livestock owner has shown that the loss of the livestock was likely caused by a timber wolf, the commissioner shall pay compensation as provided in this section and in the rules of the department.
(b) For a timber wolf depredation claim submitted by a livestock owner after September 1, 1999, the commissioner shall, based on the report from the university extension agent and conservation officer, evaluate the claim for conformance with the best management practices developed by the commissioner in subdivision 5. The commissioner must provide to the livestock owner an itemized list of any deficiencies in the livestock owner's adoption of best management practices that were noted in the university extension agent's or conservation officer's report.
(c) If the commissioner denies compensation claimed by an owner under this section, the commissioner shall issue a written decision based upon the available evidence. It shall include specification of the facts upon which the decision is based and the conclusions on the material issues of the claim. A copy of the decision shall be mailed to the owner.
(d) A decision to deny compensation claimed under this section is not subject to the contested case review procedures of chapter 14, but may be reviewed upon a trial de novo in a court in the county where the loss occurred. The decision of the court may be appealed as in other civil cases. Review in court may be obtained by filing a petition for review with the administrator of the court within 60 days following receipt of a decision under this section. Upon the filing of a petition, the administrator shall mail a copy to the commissioner and set a time for hearing within 90 days of the filing.
Subd. 5. Timber wolf best management practices. By September 1, 1999, the commissioner must develop best management practices to prevent timber wolf depredation on livestock farms. The commissioner shall periodically update the best management practices when new practices are found by the commissioner to prevent timber wolf depredation on livestock farms. The commissioner must provide an updated copy of the best management practices for timber wolf depredation to all livestock owners who are still engaged in livestock farming and have previously submitted livestock claims under this section.