Northern Ag Network Note: Sen. Tom Facey, D-Missoula is pushing a bill to shift the costs of animal care in suspected animal abuse cases from the county to the owners prior to conviction. Be sure to scroll down the article to check out Sen. Eric Moore (R-Miles City) response and why he feels this is a bad bill for Montana's livestock industry.
by Troy Carter
Montana lawmakers are being asked to OK a bill that would give local government or nonprofit animal shelters a legal process to recoup the money spent boarding animals confiscated by law enforcement for neglect or cruel treatment.
Current law allows the costs of animal care to be recovered after a conviction.
The bill shifts the burden of caring for an animal to the alleged abuser by convening a hearing to review evidence of animal cruelty before a conviction.
If the court finds sufficient evidence, it can order the alleged abuser to pay a cash bond up front or permanently relinquish the animal so it can be adopted into a new home. The owner can still challenge the legality of the animal’s seizure as well as the bond amount.
State Sen. Tom Facey, D-Missoula, said he brought the bill after learning that the current process was causing budget issues for animal control offices boarding animals under court orders.
“If I own the animals, I’d have to pay for the feeding and care of those critters anyway, even if I wasn’t suspected of having a bad habit,” Facey said. “Why do we let people off on the community dole even if they’re found innocent?”
CLICK HERE to read the full article from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Senator Eric Moore, R-Miles City sent out the following response Sunday in opposition of the bill:
Montana's livestock industry needs your help! SB 115 is a bill brought by Senator Tom Facey (D-Missoula) and passed out of the senate judiciary committee this week.
Under the bill, livestock owners who are SUSPECTED of animal abuse could be forced to post a bond for AT LEAST 30 day's care of the animals in question within 5 days of a hearing. Should the owner not be able to post the bond, “THE OWNERSHIP OF THE ANIMALS IS FORFEITED TO THE COUNTY”.
This bill is supported by the Humane Society of the United States, a very large, powerful animal rights organization with the expressed goal of eliminating all animal agriculture. Under the bill, a rancher could lose ownership of his cattle BEFORE CONVICTION OF ANIMAL ABUSE.
Please take a brief minute and contact the members of the Montana Senate and urge them to vote NO on 115. You can leave an email message, or read the bill by going to www.leg.mt.gov. Or call (406) 444-4800. If you can contact friends and family who care about Montana's livestock industry like we do, that would be a big help as well. The more messages we can get to legislators, the better.
If you have any further questions you can contact me at email@example.com or call me at 853-BEEF.
CLICK HERE to read Senate Bill 115
Source: Bozeman Daily Chronicle and Senator Eric Moore