HB 323: "An Act relating to the care of and cruelty to animals, and to reports of suspected child abuse or neglect by persons who have a duty to investigate animal cruelty, abuse, or neglect."
00 HOUSE BILL NO. 323 01 "An Act relating to the care of and cruelty to animals, and to reports of suspected child 02 abuse or neglect by persons who have a duty to investigate animal cruelty, abuse, or 03 neglect." 04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 05 * Section 1. AS 03.55 is amended by adding new sections to read: 06 Article 1A. Care of Animals. 07 Sec. 03.55.100. Minimum standards of care for animals. (a) The minimum 08 standards of care for animals include 09 (1) food and water sufficient to maintain each animal in good health; if 10 potable water is not provided to an animal at all times, it must be provided daily and in 11 sufficient quantity to maintain the good health of the animal; 12 (2) shelter provided an animal indoors that is maintained at a 13 temperature compatible with the good health of the animal; shelter provided an animal 14 outdoors must
01 (A) provide sufficient shade to protect the animal from sunlight 02 likely to cause heat exhaustion of the animal; 03 (B) protect the animal from inclement weather to an extent 04 sufficient to maintain the animal in good health; and 05 (C) be structurally sound and maintained in good repair to 06 protect the animal from injury and to contain the animal; 07 (3) space provided an animal indoors or outdoors that is sufficient to 08 allow the animal adequate freedom of movement so as to maintain the good health of 09 the animal; 10 (4) sanitation of indoor or outdoor enclosures or shelters that includes 11 periodic removal of animal waste material, dirt, and trash sufficient to maintain the 12 animal in good health; 13 (5) medical care must be provided an animal at times and to the extent 14 necessary to maintain the animal in good health; 15 (6) other standards as set by the department by regulation. 16 (b) Determinations as to the sufficiency of food, water, shelter, space, 17 sanitation, ventilation, rest, medical care, or good health; the extent of injury or 18 disease; and whether methods of destruction or euthanization are humane, as used in 19 this chapter and in AS 11.61.138 - 11.61.145, shall be based on the professional 20 opinion of a veterinarian licensed under AS 08.98. 21 Sec. 03.55.110. Investigation of cruelty to animals complaints. (a) A 22 person who believes that a violation of AS 11.61.138 - 11.61.145 has taken place or is 23 taking place may file a complaint with a public or private animal control agency, 24 humane animal treatment shelter or organization, the department, or with a peace 25 officer. An agency or organization that receives a complaint on which it wishes to 26 take action may refer the complaint to a peace officer. 27 (b) A peace officer who receives a complaint of animal cruelty may apply for 28 a search warrant under AS 12.35 to the judicial officer in the district in which the 29 alleged violation has taken place or is taking place. If the court finds that probable 30 cause exists, the court shall issue a search warrant directing a peace officer to proceed 31 immediately to the location of the alleged violation, to search the place designated in
01 the warrant, and to take into custody the property, including animals, specified in the 02 warrant. 03 (c) If the court determines that a veterinarian is necessary for the search, the 04 court may require that a veterinarian licensed under AS 08.98 accompany the peace 05 officer. 06 (d) The warrant shall be executed by the peace officer and returned to the 07 court. 08 Sec. 03.55.120. Seizure of and lien on animals. (a) A peace officer who 09 seizes and removes an animal described in a search warrant issued under 10 AS 03.55.110 may deliver the animal to a veterinarian licensed under AS 08.98 or to a 11 person, a public or private animal control agency, humane animal treatment shelter or 12 organization, or other custodial agency to be sheltered, cared for, and provided 13 medical attention. 14 (b) The peace officer shall immediately notify the animal's owner, by any 15 reasonable means, of the seizure and removal of the animal and under whose custody 16 the animal is to be sheltered and cared for. 17 (c) If the animal's owner is unknown and cannot be ascertained with 18 reasonable effort, the animal shall be considered a stray or abandoned. 19 (d) The state, a municipality, person, or other entity that supplies shelter, care, 20 veterinary attention or medical treatment for an animal seized under this section shall 21 have a lien on the animal for the costs of shelter, care, veterinary attention, or medical 22 treatment. 23 Sec. 03.55.130. Destruction and adoption of animals. (a) If a determination 24 is made by a veterinarian licensed under AS 08.98 or by a peace officer, alone or in 25 consultation with a veterinarian licensed under AS 08.98, that an animal seized under 26 AS 03.55.100 - 03.55.190 is injured or diseased to such an extent that, in the opinion 27 of the veterinarian or the peace officer, it is probable the animal cannot recover, the 28 veterinarian or the peace officer, alone or at the direction of the veterinarian, may 29 humanely destroy the animal or arrange for the animal's humane destruction. 30 (b) Upon diagnosis and recommendation of a veterinarian licensed under 31 AS 08.98, a public or private animal control agency, humane animal treatment shelter
01 or organization, or other custodial agency may euthanize a severely injured, diseased, 02 or suffering animal at any time. 03 (c) An owner of an animal destroyed under this section may not recover 04 damages for the destruction of the animal unless the owner shows that the destruction 05 was not warranted by the facts as known to the veterinarian or the peace officer. 06 (d) Except as provided in (a) or (b) of this section, the person or entity having 07 custody of an animal may not adopt, provide for the adoption of, or euthanize the 08 animal within 10 business days after the animal is taken into custody. An owner may 09 prevent the animal's adoption or destruction by 10 (1) petitioning the court of the judicial district in which the animal was 11 seized for the animal's immediate return, subject, if appropriate, to court-imposed 12 conditions; or 13 (2) posting with the court of the judicial district in which the animal 14 was seized a bond or security in an amount determined by the court to be sufficient to 15 provide for the animal's care for a minimum of 30 days from the date the animal was 16 seized. 17 (e) If the custodial agency still has custody of the animal when the bond or 18 security posted under (d)(2) of this section expires, the animal becomes the agency's 19 property unless the court orders an alternative disposition. If a court order prevents 20 the agency from assuming ownership and the agency continues to care for the animal, 21 the court shall require the owner of the animal to renew the bond or security for the 22 agency's continuing costs for the animal's care. 23 (f) The state may not be required to reimburse a person, a public or private 24 animal control agency, humane animal treatment shelter or organization, or other 25 custodial agency that voluntarily assists with a seizure or receives custody of an 26 animal seized under this section, for costs of shelter, care, veterinary assistance or 27 medical treatment rendered to the animal. 28 Sec. 03.55.140. Peace officers to enforce provisions; certain department 29 employees as peace officers. (a) Peace officers may enforce AS 03.55.100 - 30 03.55.190. 31 (b) The commissioner may designate employees to enforce AS 03.55.100 -
01 03.55.190 and AS 11.61.140 - 11.61.145. Employees of the department designated 02 under this section are peace officers when enforcing those laws. 03 Sec. 03.55.190. Definition. In AS 03.55.100 - 03.55.190, "animal" means a 04 vertebrate living creature not a human being, but does not include fish. 05 * Sec. 2. AS 11.61 is amended by adding a new section to read: 06 Sec. 11.61.138. Cruelty to animals in the first degree. (a) A person commits 07 cruelty to animals in the first degree if the person 08 (1) knowingly inflicts severe and prolonged physical pain or suffering 09 on an animal; 10 (2) kills or injures an animal by the use of a decompression chamber; 11 (3) kills a dog or cat for the purpose of preparing or serving the animal 12 for human consumption; 13 (4) kills or injures a domestic animal by the use of poison; 14 (5) owns or is responsible for the care of an animal and recklessly fails 15 to provide the minimum standards of care for the animal under AS 03.55.100; 16 (6) violates AS 11.61.140(a)(1), but the violation is committed against 17 a herd, collection, or kennel of 10 or more animals; or 18 (7) violates AS 11.61.140 and the person has been previously 19 convicted of a crime under this section, AS 11.61.140, or a law or ordinance of 20 another jurisdiction with elements similar to a crime under this section or 21 AS 11.61.140. 22 (b) In (a)(1) - (5) and (7) of this section, each animal that is subject to cruelty 23 to animals, constitutes a separate offense. 24 (c) It is a defense to a prosecution under this section that the conduct of the 25 defendant 26 (1) constituted the humane destruction of an animal for just cause; 27 (2) conformed to accepted veterinary or animal husbandry practices; 28 (3) was necessarily incidental to lawful fishing, hunting or trapping 29 activities; 30 (4) was part of lawful scientific or agricultural research or teaching 31 that involves the use of animals;
01 (5) conformed to accepted training or disciplinary methods; 02 (6) constituted the lawful control of rodents, predators, and other 03 lawful animal damage control activities. 04 (d) In this section, "animal" has the meaning given in AS 11.61.140. 05 (e) Cruelty to animals in the first degree is a class A misdemeanor. The court 06 may also 07 (1) require forfeiture of any animal affected to the state, or to a 08 municipality, person, or other entity that supplies shelter, care, or medical treatment 09 for the animal; 10 (2) require the defendant to reimburse the state, or a municipality, 11 person, or other entity for all reasonable costs incurred in providing necessary care, 12 shelter, veterinary attention or medical treatment for any animal affected; 13 (3) prohibit or limit the defendant's ownership, possession, or custody 14 of animals. 15 * Sec. 3. AS 11.61.140 is repealed and reenacted to read: 16 Sec. 11.61.140. Cruelty to animals in the second degree. (a) A person 17 commits the crime of cruelty to animals in the second degree if the person 18 (1) recklessly abandons a domestic animal on a highway, railroad, or 19 in another place where it may suffer injury, hunger, or exposure, or become a public 20 charge; 21 (2) while operating a propelled vehicle, knowingly strikes and injures 22 an animal and fails to 23 (A) stop as close as possible to the scene of the accident; and 24 (B) notify 25 (i) the owner of the animal if the owner of the animal 26 can be reasonably discovered; and 27 (ii) the appropriate law enforcement agency; 28 (3) sets a steel jaw, leg-hold, snare, spring, or similar trap that has the 29 capacity to injure or kill an animal. 30 (b) It is a defense to a prosecution under (a)(3) of this section that the conduct 31 of the defendant in setting the trap was
01 (1) for a commercially reasonable purpose; or 02 (2) necessarily incidental to lawful hunting or trapping activities. 03 (c) Proof that an animal has been left unattended or without food or water for 04 72 hours or more is prima facie evidence that the animal has been abandoned under 05 (a)(1) of this section. 06 (d) In this section, each animal that is subject to cruelty to animals, constitutes 07 a separate offense. 08 (e) In this section, "animal" means a vertebrate living creature not a human 09 being, but does not include fish. 10 (f) Cruelty to animals is a class B misdemeanor. The court may also 11 (1) require forfeiture of any animal affected to the state, or to a 12 municipality, person, or other entity that supplies shelter, care, or medical treatment 13 for the animal; 14 (2) require the defendant to reimburse the state, or a municipality, 15 person, or other entity for all reasonable costs incurred in providing necessary care, 16 shelter, veterinary attention or medical treatment for any animal affected; 17 (3) prohibit or limit the defendant's ownership, possession, or custody 18 of animals. 19 * Sec. 4. AS 47.17.020(a) is amended to read: 20 (a) The following persons who, in the performance of their occupational 21 duties, or with respect to (8) of this subsection, in the performance of their appointed 22 duties, have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has suffered harm as a result of 23 child abuse or neglect shall immediately report the harm to the nearest office of the 24 department: 25 (1) practitioners of the healing arts; 26 (2) school teachers and school administrative staff members of public 27 and private schools; 28 (3) peace officers and officers of the Department of Corrections; 29 (4) administrative officers of institutions; 30 (5) child care providers; 31 (6) paid employees of domestic violence and sexual assault programs,
01 and crisis intervention and prevention programs as defined in AS 18.66.990; 02 (7) paid employees of an organization that provides counseling or 03 treatment to individuals seeking to control their use of drugs or alcohol; 04 (8) members of a child fatality review team established under 05 AS 12.65.015(e) or 12.65.120 or the multidisciplinary child protection team created 06 under AS 47.14.300; 07 (9) a person who has a duty under state law or municipal 08 ordinance to investigate animal cruelty, abuse, or neglect.