346.155 Possessing regulated animals.
Subdivision 1. Definitions. (a) The definitions in this subdivision apply to this section.
(b) "Person" means any natural person, firm, partnership, corporation, or association, however organized.
(c) "Wildlife sanctuary" means a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that:
(1) operates a place of refuge where abused, neglected, unwanted, impounded, abandoned, orphaned, or displaced wildlife are provided care for their lifetime;
(2) does not conduct any commercial activity with respect to any animal of which the organization is an owner; and
(3) does not buy, sell, trade, auction, lease, loan, or breed any animal of which the organization is an owner, except as an integral part of the species survival plan of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.
(d) "Possess" means to own, care for, have custody of, or control.
(e) "Regulated animal" means:
(1) all members of the Felidae family including, but not limited to, lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, cheetahs, ocelots, and servals, but not including domestic cats or cats recognized as a domestic breed, registered as a domestic breed, and shown as a domestic breed by a national or international multibreed cat registry association;
(2) bears; and
(3) all nonhuman primates, including, but not limited to, lemurs, monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, marmosets, lorises, and tamarins.
Regulated animal includes any hybrid or cross between an animal listed in clause (1), (2), or (3) and a domestic animal and offspring from all subsequent generations of those crosses or hybrids.
(f) "Local animal control authority" means an agency of the state, county, municipality, or other governmental subdivision of the state that is responsible for animal control operations in its jurisdiction.
Subd. 2. Possession of regulated animals. (a) Except as provided in this section, it is unlawful for a person to possess a regulated animal.
(b) A person who possesses a regulated animal on January 1, 2005, has 90 days to come into compliance with regulations promulgated by the United States Department of Agriculture for regulated animals under the Animal Welfare Act, Public Law 89-544, and its subsequent amendments, and the regulations adopted under that act relating to facilities and operations, animal health and husbandry, and veterinary care for regulated animals.
(c) Except as provided in paragraph (e), a person must not take possession of a regulated animal after January 1, 2005.
(d) Except as provided in paragraph (e), a person must not allow regulated animals in their possession to breed after January 1, 2005.
(e) Except as provided in paragraph (g), a person who possesses a valid United States Department of Agriculture license and is in compliance with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare Act regulations and standards on January 1, 2005, may breed, purchase, or otherwise acquire new regulated animals after January 1, 2005, in order to:
(1) maintain the operating inventory of regulated animals possessed on January 1, 2005;
(2) sell regulated animals to other United States Department of Agriculture licensed and compliant facilities within Minnesota for replacement purposes as provided in clause (1);
(3) sell regulated animals outside Minnesota; or
(4) sell regulated animals to persons eligible under paragraph (f). Offspring under six months of age shall not be counted for the purpose of determining the number of replacement animals that can be possessed under this paragraph.
(f) Except as provided in paragraph (g), a person who does not hold a United States Department of Agriculture license for regulated animals, possesses a regulated animal on January 1, 2005, and has properly registered the animal may replace the regulated animal if it dies, but may replace it only once.
(g) If a regulated animal dies of neglect or cruelty, is seized pursuant to subdivision 5, or if the person is involved in illegal activities, the person cannot acquire a replacement animal.
Subd. 3. Registration. (a) Within 60 days after January 1, 2005, a person who possesses a regulated animal must notify in writing the local animal control authority using a registration form prepared by the Minnesota Animal Control Association and approved by the Board of Animal Health. The notification shall include the person's name, address, telephone number, and a complete inventory of each regulated animal that the person possesses. The inventory shall include the following information: number and species of each regulated animal; the microchip number and manufacturer for each regulated animal if available; the exact location where each regulated animal is kept; and age, sex, color, weight, scars, and any distinguishing marks of each regulated animal.
(b) If a person who possesses a regulated animal has a microchip implanted in the animal for identification, the name of the microchip manufacturer and the identification number of the microchip must be provided to the local animal control authority. If a regulated animal is sedated for any reason and the animal does not have a microchip implanted, a microchip must be implanted in the regulated animal. Within 30 days after the microchip is implanted, the name of the microchip manufacturer and the identification number of the microchip must be provided to the local animal control authority. A person selling or transferring ownership of offspring under six months of age as provided in subdivision 2, paragraph (e), is encouraged to have a microchip implanted in the animal prior to the sale or transfer. Within 30 days of acquisition, a person acquiring ownership of an offspring with a microchip implanted shall comply with microchip information reporting requirements under this section.
(c) If a local animal control authority performs an initial site inspection, a fee of up to $50 may be charged. An annual fee of $25 per animal to register regulated animals up to a maximum of $250 annually per person may be charged. The local animal control authority may charge an additional site inspection fee of $50 if the person acquires and possesses another type of regulated animal. A certificate of registration must be issued by the local animal control authority to the person upon payment of the fee.
Subd. 4. Requirements. (a) A person who possesses a regulated animal must maintain health and ownership records on each animal and must maintain the records for the life of the animal. If possession of the regulated animal is transferred to another person, a copy of the health and ownership records must accompany the animal.
(b) A person who possesses a regulated animal must maintain an ongoing program of veterinary care which includes a veterinary visit to the premises at least annually.
(c) A person who possesses a regulated animal must notify the local animal control authority in writing within ten days of a change in address or location where the regulated animal is kept.
(d) A person with a United States Department of Agriculture license for regulated animals shall forward a copy of the United States Department of Agriculture inspection report to the local animal control authority within 30 days of receipt of the inspection report.
(e) A person who possesses a regulated animal shall prominently display a sign on the structure where the animal is housed indicating that a regulated animal is on the premises.
(f) A person who possesses a regulated animal must notify, as soon as practicable, local law enforcement officials of any escape of a regulated animal. The person who possesses the regulated animal is liable for any costs incurred by any person, city, county, or state agency resulting from the escape of a regulated animal unless the escape is due to a criminal act by another person or a natural event.
(g) A person who possesses a regulated animal must maintain a written recovery plan in the event of the escape of a regulated animal. The person must maintain live traps, or other equipment necessary to assist in the recovery of the regulated animal.
(h) If requested by the local animal control authority, a person may not move a regulated animal from its location unless the person notifies the local animal control authority prior to moving the animal. The notification must include the date and the location where the animal is moved. This paragraph does not apply to a regulated animal transported to a licensed veterinarian.
(i) If a person who possesses a regulated animal can no longer care for the animal, the person shall take steps to find long-term placement for the regulated animal.
Subd. 5. Seizure. (a) The local animal control authority, upon issuance of a notice of inspection, must be granted access at reasonable times to sites where the local animal control authority has reason to believe a violation of this chapter is occurring or has occurred.
(b) If a person who possesses a regulated animal is not in compliance with the requirements of this section, the local animal control authority shall take possession of the animal for custody and care, provided that the procedures in this subdivision are followed.
(c) Upon request of a person possessing a regulated animal, the local animal control authority may allow the animal to remain in the physical custody of the owner for 30 days, during which time the owner shall take all necessary actions to come in compliance with this section. During the 30-day period, the local animal control authority may inspect, at any reasonable time, the premises where the animal is kept.
(d) If a person who possesses a regulated animal is not in compliance with this section following the 30-day period described in paragraph (c), the local animal control authority shall seize the animal and place it in a holding facility that is appropriate for the species for up to ten days. The authority taking custody of an animal under this section shall provide a notice of the seizure by delivering or mailing it to the owner, by posting a copy of it at the place where the animal is taken into custody, or by delivering it to a person residing on the property. The notice must include:
(1) a description of the animal seized; the authority for and purpose of the seizure; the time, place, and circumstances under which the animal was seized; and a contact person and telephone number;
(2) a statement that a person from whom a regulated animal was seized may post security to prevent disposition of the animal and may request a hearing concerning the seizure and that failure to do so within five business days of the date of the notice will result in disposition of the animal;
(3) a statement that actual costs of the care, keeping, and disposal of the regulated animal are the responsibility of the person from whom the animal was seized, except to the extent that a court or hearing officer finds that the seizure or impoundment was not substantially justified by law; and
(4) a form that can be used by a person from whom a regulated animal was seized for requesting a hearing under this subdivision.
(e) If a person from whom the regulated animal was seized makes a request within five business days of the seizure, a hearing must be held within five business days of the request to determine the validity of the seizure and disposition of the animal. The judge or hearing officer may authorize the return of the animal to the person from whom the animal was seized if the judge or hearing officer finds:
(1) that the person can and will provide the care required by law for the regulated animal; and
(2) the regulated animal is physically fit.
(f) If a judge or hearing officer orders a permanent disposition of the regulated animal, the local animal control authority may take steps to find long-term placement for the animal with a wildlife sanctuary, persons authorized by the Department of Natural Resources, or an appropriate United States Department of Agriculture licensed facility.
(g) A person from whom a regulated animal is seized is liable for all actual costs of care, keeping, and disposal of the animal, except to the extent that a court or hearing officer finds that the seizure was not substantially justified by law. The costs must be paid in full or a mutually satisfactory arrangement for payment must be made between the local animal control authority and the person claiming an interest in the animal before return of the animal to the person.
(h) A person from whom a regulated animal has been seized under this subdivision may prevent disposition of the animal by posting security in the amount sufficient to provide for the actual costs of care and keeping of the animal. The security must be posted within five business days of the seizure, inclusive of the day of the seizure.
(i) If circumstances exist threatening the life of a person or the life of any animal, local law enforcement or the local animal control authority shall seize a regulated animal without an opportunity for hearing or court order, or destroy the animal.
Subd. 6. Disposal of animals. Upon proper determination by a Minnesota licensed veterinarian, any regulated animal taken into custody under this section may be immediately disposed of when the regulated animal is suffering and is beyond cure through reasonable care and treatment. The authority taking custody of the regulated animal may recover all costs incurred under this section.
Subd. 7. Exemptions. This section does not apply to:
(1) institutions accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association;
(2) a wildlife sanctuary;
(4) the Department of Natural Resources, or a person authorized by permit issued by the commissioner of natural resources pursuant to section 97A.401, subdivision 3;
(5) a licensed or accredited research or medical institution; or
(6) a United States Department of Agriculture licensed exhibitor of regulated animals while transporting or as part of a circus, carnival, rodeo, or fair.
Subd. 8. License transfer. Nothing in this section precludes a person who holds a valid United States Department of Agriculture license from selling or transferring the entire business and the regulated animals covered by that license to another person who holds a valid United States Department of Agriculture license.
Subd. 9. Report to Board of Animal Health. By July 1 each year, a local animal control authority shall report to the Board of Animal Health on regulated animals registered with the local animal control authority. The report shall include all registration information submitted to the local animal control authority under subdivision 3, paragraph (a), and information on enforcement actions taken under this section.
Subd. 10. Penalty. A person who knowingly violates subdivision 2, 3, or 4 is guilty of a misdemeanor.
HIST: 2004 c 264 s 1
Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes