North Dakota may allow veterinarians to seize animals if they suspect abuse

Feb 10, 2011
By staff
Bismarck, N.D.--Veterinarians and law enforcement officers may be able to seize animals they suspect are being abused or neglected if a new law proposed in North Dakota is passed.

Senate Bill 2365, introduced Jan. 25, would allow licensed veterinarians and law enforcement officers to take custody or control of an animal for a number of reasons. Prohibited activities that could lead to seizure include, but are not limited to, neglect by failing to provide adequate food, shelter or sanitation; causing an animal unjustified pain or suffering; keeping an animal in enclosure without adequate ventilation; willfully abandoning an animal; or leaving an animal unattended in a vehicle. Under the proposed bill, animal owners also are prohibited from letting any animal run at large that is known to have an infectious or contagious disease.

Veterinarians who suspect any of these prohibited actions and seize an animal would have to immediately notify the animal’s owner, if their identify is known. Costs of the animal’s care while in the veterinarian’s custody could be recovered through a lien on the animal, the bill adds.

The proposal was immediately referred to the Senate’s agricultural committee, and a hearing is scheduled for Feb. 11.