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2007 Minnesota Statutes

This is a historical version of this statute section. Also view the most recent published version.

343.31 ANIMAL FIGHTS AND POSSESSION OF FIGHTING ANIMALS.
    Subdivision 1. Penalty for animal fighting; attending animal fight. A person who:
(1) promotes, engages in, or is employed in the activity of cockfighting, dogfighting, or
violent pitting of one domestic animal against another of the same or a different kind;
(2) receives money for the admission of a person to a place used, or about to be used, for
that activity;
(3) willfully permits a person to enter or use for that activity premises of which the permitter
is the owner, agent, or occupant; or
(4) uses, trains, or possesses a dog or other animal for the purpose of participating in,
engaging in, or promoting that activity
is guilty of a felony. A person who purchases a ticket of admission or otherwise gains admission
to that activity is guilty of a misdemeanor.
    Subd. 2. Presumption of training a fighting dog. There is a rebuttable presumption that a
dog has been trained or is being trained to fight if:
(1) the dog exhibits fresh wounds, scarring, or other indications that the dog has been or
will be used for fighting; and
(2) the person possesses training apparatus, paraphernalia, or drugs known to be used to
prepare dogs to be fought.
This presumption may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.
    Subd. 3. Presumption of training fighting birds. There is a rebuttable presumption that a
bird has been trained or is being trained to fight if:
(1) the bird exhibits fresh wounds, scarring, or other indications that the bird has been or
will be used for fighting; or
(2) the person possesses training apparatus, paraphernalia, or drugs known to be used to
prepare birds to be fought.
This presumption may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.
    Subd. 4. Peace officer duties. Animals described in subdivisions 2 and 3 are dangerous
weapons and constitute an immediate danger to the safety of humans. A peace officer or animal
control authority may remove, shelter, and care for an animal found in the circumstances
described in subdivision 2 or 3. If necessary, a peace officer or animal control authority may
deliver the animal to another person to be sheltered and cared for. In all cases, the peace officer or
animal control authority must immediately notify the owner, if known, as provided in subdivision
5. The peace officer, animal control authority, or other person assuming care of the animal shall
have a lien on it for the actual cost of care and keeping of the animal. If the owner or custodian
is unknown and cannot by reasonable effort be ascertained, or does not, within ten days after
notice, redeem the animal by paying the expenses authorized by this subdivision, the animal may
be disposed of as provided in subdivision 5.
    Subd. 5. Disposition. (a) An animal taken into custody under subdivision 4 may be humanely
disposed of at the discretion of the jurisdiction having custody of the animal ten days after the
animal is taken into custody, if the procedures in paragraph (c) are followed.
(b) The owner of an animal taken into custody under subdivision 4 may prevent disposition
of the animal by posting security in an amount sufficient to provide for the actual costs of care and
keeping of the animal. The security must be posted within ten days of the seizure inclusive of the
date of the seizure. If, however, a hearing is scheduled within ten days of the seizure, the security
amount must be posted prior to the hearing.
(c)(1) The authority taking custody of an animal under subdivision 4 must give notice of this
section by delivering or mailing it to the owner of the animal, posting a copy of it at the place
where the animal is taken into custody, or delivering it to a person residing on the property and
telephoning, if possible. The notice must include:
(i) a description of the animal seized; the authority and purpose for the seizure; the time,
place, and circumstances under which the animal was seized; and the location, address, and
telephone number of a contact person who knows where the animal is kept;
(ii) a statement that the owner of the animal may post security to prevent disposition of the
animal and may request a hearing concerning the seizure and impoundment and that failure to do
so within ten days of the date of the notice will result in disposition of the animal; and
(iii) a statement that all actual costs of the care, keeping, and disposal of the animal are the
responsibility of the owner of the animal, except to the extent that a court or hearing officer finds
that the seizure or impoundment was not substantially justified by law. The notice must also
include a form that can be used by a person claiming an interest in the animal for requesting
a hearing.
(2) The owner may request a hearing within ten days of the date of the seizure. If requested,
a hearing must be held within five business days of the request to determine the validity of the
impoundment. The municipality taking custody of the animal or the municipality from which the
animal was seized may either (i) authorize a licensed veterinarian with no financial interest in the
matter or professional association with either party, or (ii) use the services of a hearing officer
to conduct the hearing. An owner may appeal the hearing officer's decision to the district court
within five days of the notice of the decision.
(3) The judge or hearing officer may authorize the return of the animal if the judge or hearing
officer finds that (i) the animal is physically fit, (ii) the person claiming an interest in the animal
can and will provide the care required by law for the animal, and (iii) the animal has not been
used for violent pitting or fighting.
(4) The person claiming an interest in the animal 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
or impoundment 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 municipality and the person
claiming an interest in the animal before the return of the animal to the person.
    Subd. 6. Photographs. (a) Photographs of animals seized during an investigation are
competent evidence if the photographs are admissible into evidence under all the rules of law
governing the admissibility of photographs into evidence. A satisfactorily identified photographic
record is as admissible in evidence as the animal itself.
(b) A photograph must be accompanied by a written description of the animals seized, the
name of the owner of the animals seized, the date of the photograph, and the name, address,
organization, and signature of the photographer.
    Subd. 7. Veterinary investigative report. (a) A report completed by a Minnesota licensed
veterinarian following an examination of an animal seized during an investigation is competent
evidence. A satisfactorily identified veterinary investigative report is as admissible in evidence
as the animal itself.
(b) The veterinary investigative report may contain a written description of the animal
seized, the medical evaluation of the physical findings, the prognosis for recovery, and the date
of the examination and must contain the name, address, veterinary clinic, and signature of the
veterinarian performing the examination.
History: (10449) RL s 5158; 1981 c 22 s 1; 1986 c 444; 2005 c 136 art 17 s 4

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