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WHAT TO DO WHEN ANIMAL CONTROL COMES KNOCKING

Discussion in 'General Dog Discussions' started by CanineAthletes, May 13, 2018.

  1. What to do when Animal Control Comes Knocking
    by George J. Eigenhauser Jr. (Mr. Eigenhauser is an attorney at law licensed in the State of California since 1979 and practices in the areas of civil litigation and estate planning)

    ANTI-DOG ENFORCEMENT - What Every Dog Owner Needs to Know​

    Dog owners and ethical breeders are increasingly being targeted. Disgruntled neighbors may retaliate against dog owners and many other reasons drive complaints, and anti-dog enforcement action, which many times may be conducted illegally.

    The following text outlines methods of inquiry and enforcement which may be used by local officials in attempts to enforce ordinances in your community and suggested techniques of response. These techniques are entirely legal and based upon the rights of citizens as stated by the U.S. Constitution.

    No breeder or rescuer wants to have Animal Control come knocking on the door...but if they do, it will help if you know what your options are.

    Remember, Animal Control is law enforcement. They are bound by the same Constitution as any other government agency. To protect yourself, you need to know your rights. These vary slightly one jurisdiction to another, but some general principles apply. One rule applies everywhere: Never physically resist an officer.

    When Animal Control is At Your Door:
    1. Do not let them in, no matter how much they ask. Animal Control generally cannot enter your home without a warrant, or your permission. While regular police can enter in emergency situations when human life is at risk (i.e. they hear gunshots and a scream inside), there are few, if any, situations in which Animal Control can enter your home without a warrant. Simply tell them they may not come in.
    2. If you let them in, anything they find in "plain sight" can be used against you. In some circumstances Animal Control officers, unable to find a legitimate reason to make an arrest, have reported building or zoning violations. This may include caging you attached to a wall without a building permit, that extra outlet in the puppy room, having more pets than allowed by zoning, even extension cords in violation of fire codes! No matter how clean your kennel, if they want to find a violation, they will.
    3. Do not talk to them from an open doorway. Step outside an close (and lock if possible) the door behind you. This is necessary because:​
    A) Anything they see through the open door is "plain sight" and may be the basis for an arrest, or probable cause for a search warrant.​
    B) If they make an arrest or even feel threatened they are usually permitted to search for weapons in your immediate area. Do you keep a baseball bat inside the door for your protection? Even if you don't, once they step inside to look, they are in your home and may continue to search.​
    C) It is hard not to be intimidated by someone in authority. Some animal control is even done by local police, who carry guns. It is easy for them to get "in your face", causing you to back up into the home. Once you go in, it will be interpreted as an invitation to follow.​
    4. If they claim to have a warrant, demand to see it. In general, a search warrant must be signed by a judge. A warrant to search your home for dogs does not include an inventory of your jewelry box. A warrant to search your kennel in the garage or in the barn does not include a search of your home.
    5. In some locations dog owners may have obtained special "breeder or rescue permits" that stipulate that Animal Control has your permission to enter at any time. If you have signed such a permit they still cannot enter against your wishes, since you can revoke the permission at any time. However, if you refuse permission it may allow them to cancel your permit, so you have to weigh the consequences.
    6. WARNING - anyone in lawful possession of the premises may be able to give permission for a search. MAKE SURE your roommate, babysitter, dog-sitter, housekeeper and other know that they should not let animal control into your home or on your property (i.e. backyard, garage, etc.).​
    How to Handle Questions:
    1. Don’t answer any questions beyond identifying yourself for the officer. Anything you say to the officer in your defense cannot be used in court (hearsay). Anything you say that is harmful to you will be used in court (confessions are not considered hearsay). You cannot win, except by remaining silent.
    2. Be polite but firm. Do not argue, bad-mouth, curse, threaten or try to intimidate the officer.
    3. Do not lie to an officer, ever. However, it is NOT a lie to exercise your right to remain silent.
    4. Keep your hands in plain sight. People have been shot by police when common objects, such as a wallet, were mistaken for a gun.
    5. Do not touch the officer in any way. Do not physically resist an officer, no matter how unlawful his or her actions.
    6. Don't try to tell your side of the story, it cannot help.
    7. Do not threaten the officer that you plan to file a complaint for their actions.
    8. If the questioning persists, demand to speak to a lawyer first. Repeat as necessary.
    Gathering the Facts:
    1. Get the name and badge number of each officer involved. If he/she does not volunteer this information, ask.
    2. Ask the name of the agency they represent. Different agencies have different enforcement responsibilities.
    3. Ask why they are there. Request the factual basis of the complaint and the identity of the complainant.
    4. If they have other people with them (Humane Society, press, etc.) get the names and organizations for all present.
    5. Note the names (and addresses) of any witnesses to the encounter.
    6. If you are physically injured by an officer, you should take photographs of the injuries immediately, but do not forego proper medical treatment first.
    7. Write down all of the information, as well as the date and time of the incident immediately, while details are fresh in your mind.
    8. If you rights are violated, file a complaint with the appropriate body.​
    If You Are Arrested:

    1. Remain silent. Answer no questions until you have consulted with a lawyer.
    2. Don't "explain" anything. You will have time for explanations after you have talked to a lawyer.
    3. Within a reasonable time they must allow you to make a phone call to get a lawyer or arrange bail. They are not allowed to listen to your phone call to your attorney, but they may "monitor" the rooms for "your protection". Do not say anything you do not want them to overhear; save that until after you are out on bail.​
    Telephone Inquiries or Threats:
    You may receive telephone inquiries concerning the number of dogs you own and whether any dogs or puppies are for sale. Other questions may also be asked. Your response should be to inquire "Are you interested in a puppy?". If the answer is "yes", ask that person for his/her name, address and phone number. Suggest that you or a responsible breeder will contact that person at a more convenient time for you. If the answer is friendly and genuinely inquisitive, invite the person to look at your puppies. If the question asked is "What is the price of each puppy?", simply say that puppies of this type are being sold for between "X" and "Y" dollars. Never say that you are selling them. If the question asked is "Are these your puppies?", you should ask, "Why do you want to know?". If your conversation indicates that the person is representing the county clerk's office or allegedly representing an official body, ask the caller for:
    • Full name, title and phone number
    • Agency's full name and full address
    • Their supervisor's full name and phone number
    • Nature of the inquiry (what it is about)
    • Why the inquiry is being made
    • How your name and phone number were obtained
    • Ask that all future questions from that agency be submitted in writing

      Preventative Measures:
    1. Always keep you kennel clean and take good care of your animals.
    2. Consider a P.O. Box or other address for business cards and advertisements. Keep descriptions of your location general (i.e. Southern California, rather than the name of the city where you live). The internet can provide anonymity for initial contacts. You can even buy a "remote prefix" to get a number from a nearby community forwarded to your phone or to a voice mail. Avoid local newspaper classifieds, they are often monitored.
    3. Screen any potential puppy buyers carefully. Always be alert that they may be Animal Control or even Animal Rights working under cover.
    4. Don't allow strangers into your home until you have screened them.
    5. Be fair and honest in all of your dealings, and be on good terms with your neighbors. Most animal control contacts are complaint-driven. Some complaints may arise as harassment by people with unrelated grievances against you. It may be a disgruntled dog buyer or a cranky neighbor who doesn't like you parking in front of his house.
    6. Anything about you that can be observed in "plain sight" from the street or sidewalk can become probably cause for a warrant. Even areas on your property open to visitors can be dangerous. Be aware of which areas of your home are visible from the outside and plan accordingly.
    7. If you are confronted by Animal Control and turn them away, assume they will be back. Use the time available to make sure everything is clean and presentable. If you are over the limit on the number of pets, find friends who can provide temporary shelter for your dogs.

    Whatever you do, stay calm and keep your wits about you. Just say "no", no matter what threats or promises of leniency they make. When in doubt, say nothing and speak to a lawyer afterwards.


    Permission to reprint and cross post is granted. From ADBA

    Continue reading...
     
  2. Nat Ursula

    Nat Ursula Good Dog

    This is good information. I once had DCFS come to my house and I had the flu. They asked if they could come in and I said, "no" and the woman literally started pushing her way past me and we were wrestling at the threshold. Fortunately, I was on the phone with our attorney and he heard it all and told me what to say to get her to leave. It was disturbing to say the least.
     
  3. Worg

    Worg Little Dog

    Were they called on you? I worry someone will call claiming my dog is under fed. I've seen fit dogs taken from homes before :/
     
  4. catchrcall

    catchrcall Good Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

    I've seen it more than once with fellow hog hunters. There's a big case going on in Louisiana right now where a bunch of healthy dogs were confiscated. This usually ends up with some of the dogs dead and the ones they do get back will be in worse shape than when they left. The biggest thing they accomplish is to put you so far in debt it will take you years to get out of the hole.

    I don't trust animal control. They routinely overstep their legal bounds and get away with it by tugging at heart strings. They routinely hire people with little to no experience with animals and a shaky knowledge of the law. I once got a ticket for no proof of rabies on a 10 week old puppy despite having the papers the breeder gave me, and the breeder being right there. They also hit me for animal cruelty because the pup was in a dog box with no water.

    We'd gone in to quickly grab a sandwich at a restaurant and I parked in the shade and locked him in the dog box rather than leave him in the cab. He'd been riding up front with us in the A.C. Animal Control pulls up at the same place for lunch. She sees the dog box and looks in. Friendly pup barks at her and wants to play so he starts to run around and bark inside the box like cur pups do. She does nothing so he gets bored, lays down and starts a power nap.
    I come out and she writes me two tickets. One for animal cruelty for leaving the pup in the box without water (She claimed she had watched the puppy grow exhausted and loose consciousness) and one for no rabies shots. I whistled at the pup and he pops out of his nap and starts wagging around and begging for attention. The dog cop insisted I offer him water, which I did, and which he ignored since he had a drink before we went in.

    Long story short, charges were dismissed but it could have cost me big time. It's not good to leave a full water dish in with a pup because the first thing they do is dump it and then they have to lay in water. Just offer water frequently. Rabies shots do no good on a pup that young, the law here doesn't require them until 4 months. The officer didn't know that. Her suggestion, no joke, was that I leave the pup in the cab ( 80 degrees outside) rather than in the dog box in the shade. Thankfully she wrote that in her report. I was able to talk to her supervisor and get it all thrown out.

    I got lucky with the supervisor. Not everybody does.
     
    Worg likes this.
  5. Nat Ursula

    Nat Ursula Good Dog

    Yes'm my husband's ex wife is nuts and she tried to get us in trouble. She took the kids back and made everything 10X worse. She moved away for a year and left a 14and 16yr old with her80+ year old grandparents and they both ended up dropping by out of school. Etc. we sucked because we had bedtimes and rules.
     
  6. Nat Ursula

    Nat Ursula Good Dog

    I see that on the Animal Cops show all the time. They come and they won't even.et the people explain why their dogs aresothi . Our boxer had some health issues and my neighbors joked that someone was going to call family services on us. It worried me.
     
  7. I've had people threaten me with police and what not because my dog was in distress when I went into the mini Mart while the pregnant woman was in the damn car. I also hear often how my dog is to skinny. My woman also got a ticket for her dog being in the car with all her Windows down. Was written as a 2nd offence and I have no clue how that could be. I have to tolerance for the law when they come around. Or people. When my kid was born they were in th e car in the shade in the parking garage with food, water, Windows cracked on a cool day. Windows covered also. But people like to start poking around and when a dog barks it must be in distress. We had a note on the car with the room and my phone number and our purpose being there. I also took them out often. Hospital security said they don't see a problem, animal control came to. Guy called me up and said he sees no problem it's not hot they have food and water. Local police said it don't confront them none. Yet people still harassing my dogs. So I went out there and they went on oh there barking there not ok. I told em no shit your surrounding my car. Now I'm out here barking at you to! They left. One nurse tried saying she hasn't seen me out there one time. I said bitch I havnt seen you out here at all and the staff in the baby area vouched for us. I worry bout those vigilanty window smashing dog snatchers who not only cover your seat and dog in glass and cost you money but only god knows what damage they do to the dog. People need to mind there business.
     
    Kit, catchrcall and Nat Ursula like this.
  8. Worg

    Worg Little Dog

    I used to leave my GSD in the car while I was at work, but it was winter so perfect temp inside the car for him. He has separation anxiety and was much more comfortable in the car than at home. No one ever knew he was even in there, he would lay down and sleep the whole time and my windows are tinted, he also didnt make a sound.

    I would never defend leaving a dog in a car, it is something that can easily go so wrong. I have seen dozens of dogs in cars and only a handful I was genuinely concerned for. People should learn to identify an over heating dog vs an excitable dog.
     
    Kit, catchrcall and Nat Ursula like this.

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