2019 Arkansas Code
Title 5 - Criminal Offenses
Subtitle 6 - Offenses Against Public Health, Safety, or Welfare
Chapter 62 - Animals
Subchapter 1 - General Provisions
§ 5-62-106. Disposition of Animal

Universal Citation: AR Code § 5-62-106 (2019)
  • (a)

    • (1) Unless otherwise ordered by a court, for purposes of this subchapter, an animal that has been seized by a law enforcement officer or animal control officer under this subchapter shall remain at the appropriate place of custody for a period of at least fifteen (15) consecutive days, including weekends and holidays, after written notice is received by the owner.

    • (2) The written notice shall:

      • (A) Be left at the last known address of the owner; and

      • (B) Contain a description of the animal seized, the date seized, the name and contact information of the law enforcement or animal control officer seizing the animal, the location of the animal, and the reason for the seizure.

    • (3) If the owner of the animal cannot be determined, a written notice regarding the seizure of the animal shall be conspicuously posted where the animal is seized at the time the seizure occurs if practicable and a notice shall be published in a local newspaper of general circulation in the jurisdiction where the animal was seized at least two (2) times each week for two (2) consecutive weeks, with the first notice published within three (3) days of the seizure, and no less than at least five (5) days before a hearing conducted under this section.

    • (4)

      • (A) After written notice is received by the owner or published under subdivision (a)(3) of this section, the owner within fifteen (15) business days may petition the district court having jurisdiction where the animal was seized to determine the custody of the animal.

      • (B) If a petition is not filed by the owner within the time period prescribed by this section, the prosecuting attorney shall file a petition in the district court to divest the owner of ownership of the animal and, after a hearing, the district court may order the animal transferred to an appropriate place of custody, euthanized, or any other disposition the district court deems appropriate.

  • (b)

    • (1)

      • (A) When an owner files a petition under subsection (a) of this section and the district court determines that the owner shall be divested of custody of the animal, the district court shall order the owner of the animal to post a bond with the district court in an amount the district court determines is sufficient to care for the animal for at least thirty (30) days.

      • (B) The bond shall not prevent the appropriate place of custody from disposing of the animal at the end of the thirty-day period covered by the bond, unless a person claiming an interest in the animal posts a new bond for an amount determined by the court for an additional thirty-day period.

    • (2)

      • (A) If a petition has been filed by the owner of an animal or the prosecuting attorney under subsection (a) of this section, a person claiming an interest in an animal seized may prevent disposition of the animal as provided in subsection (a) of this section by posting a bond with the district court in an amount the district court determines is sufficient to care for the animal for at least thirty (30) days.

      • (B) If a person who claims an interest in the animal has not posted bond in accordance with subdivision (b)(2)(A) of this section, the district court shall determine final disposition of the animal in accordance with reasonable practices for the humane treatment of animals.

  • (c)

    • (1) A diseased or injured animal:

      • (A) Seized under this section may be appropriately treated for injury or disease without a court order; and

      • (B) Is subject to being euthanized without a court order when it is determined by a licensed veterinarian that euthanizing is necessary to prevent the suffering of the animal.

    • (2)

      • (A) Except as provided in subdivision (c)(1) of this section, an appropriate place of custody shall not alter or modify an animal in any manner, including without limitation the neutering, spaying, or castration of the animal, without:

        • (i) A written court order that is issued after a petition is filed by the prosecuting attorney requesting alteration or modification and a hearing involving all interested parties as set forth in subsection (a) of this section; or

        • (ii) The written consent of the owner.

      • (B) A violation of this subsection is a Class B misdemeanor.

  • (d)

    • (1) If a person pleads guilty or nolo contendere to or is found guilty of either the offense of cruelty to animals, § 5-62-103, or the offense of aggravated cruelty to a dog, cat, or equine, § 5-62-104, and if that person is also the owner of the animal subject to the offense, the court shall divest the person of ownership of the animal, and the court shall either:

      • (A) Order the animal given to an appropriate place of custody;

      • (B) Order the animal euthanized if the court decides that the best interests of the animal or that the public health and safety would be best served by euthanizing the animal based on the sworn testimony of a licensed veterinarian or animal control officer; or

      • (C) Make any other disposition the court deems appropriate.

    • (2) If a person pleads guilty or nolo contendere to or is found guilty of either the offense of cruelty to animals, § 5-62-103, or the offense of aggravated cruelty to a dog, cat, or equine, § 5-62-104, and the person is not the owner of the animal subject to the offense, the court shall order that the animal be returned to the owner, if practicable, or, if not practicable, the court shall either:

      • (A) Order the animal given to an appropriate place of custody;

      • (B) Order the animal euthanized if the court decides that the best interests of the animal or that the public health and safety would be best served by euthanizing the animal based on the sworn testimony of a licensed veterinarian or animal control officer; or

      • (C) Make any other disposition the court deems appropriate.

  • (e) The court shall order an animal seized under this section returned to the owner if the owner:

    • (1) Filed a petition under subsection (a) of this section;

    • (2) Paid all reasonable expenses incurred in caring for the animal; and

    • (3) Is found not guilty of the offense of cruelty to animals, § 5-62-103, or the offense of aggravated cruelty to a dog, cat, or equine, § 5-62-104, or the proceedings against the owner have otherwise terminated.

  • (f) An owner of an animal that has been seized under this subchapter shall be responsible only for reasonable expenses that were incurred for the care of the animal while the animal was in the appropriate place of custody.

  • (g) This section does not prohibit the return of an animal to the rightful owner if the rightful owner is located outside the state and the prosecuting attorney has decided not to charge the rightful owner with an offense under this subchapter.

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