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Monday, February 6, 2017

SD FACT ACTION ALERT-February 6, 2017

SD FACT ACTION ALERT - February 6, 2017
Urge House Judiciary to Support a 'Do Pass' Motion of HB 1160 #sdfactpac
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Email the House Judiciary Committee no later than Tuesday, February 7th
to ask Committee Members to support a 'Do Pass' Motion of HB 1160

A bill to recover the costs of care for animals seized by law enforcement
Please take action now! Send a brief email to the members of the House Judiciary Committee urging them to support a 'Do Pass' motion of HB 1160; a bill to recover the costs of care for animals seized by law enforcement. HB 1160 will be heard in committee on Wednesday, February 8 at 10 AM in room 413.  

This bill will allow law enforcement and prosecutors the option to require a defendant to post a bond for the care of their animals and if regular payments are not maintained they forfeit their animals that can then be rehomed through adoption, rescue placement or auction.

To save taxpayers money, this is a common sense bill that will prevent animal shelters and counties from being forced to pay the bill when a large numbers of animals are seized by law enforcement.  Thirty-four other states already have similar laws on the books, let's urge the House Judiciary Committee to send HB 1160 to the House Floor.

House Judiciary Committee Members Emails: (chair)

To draft your email use the information from the Fact Sheet below.  Your subject line should read: "Support 'Do Pass' Motion on HB 1160.  Be certain to include your full name and address in the signature of your email.  Feel free to email us if you have any questions on what to write.  Please send your email no later than Tuesday, February 7th. 
To recover the costs of care for animals seized by law enforcement
  • You cannot put animals on a shelf like you store other seized property; animals require daily care.  Cost of animal care laws place the responsibility for the animals’ care where it belongs… on the offender, not the taxpayers.  South Dakota’s local governments shouldn’t have to pay the price for the actions of a few bad actors. 
  • Cost of animal care laws exist in 34 states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming and Colorado.
  • In states, like South Dakota, without a cost of animal care law, local governments often pays huge costs in caring for seized animals while the case is pending, for example:
    • 75 animals were seized in December 2016 and are currently being cared for at the Humane Society of the Black Hills; the total number of animals has grown to 130+ and the costs continue to rise with the next court date set for mid-February.
    • 810 starving and neglected horses in Lantry were impounded in October 2016 costing Dewey and Ziebach counties more than $150,000 through the end of January; if the State Attorneys had filed charges they could have required defendant to post for the horses care preventing a mounting debt owed to the county.  
  • A cost of animal care law is a legal process so that anyone who has had his or her animals lawfully seized due to cruelty may be required to pay for the animals’ care; it prevents counties and non-profit organizations from incurring huge costs in animal cruelty cases, saving tax dollars and animal lives.
  •  What a cost of animal care law CANNOT do…
    • It cannot change the definition of animal cruelty, the scope of animal cruelty or any penalties associated with animal cruelty in South Dakota.
    • It cannot expand law enforcement’s authority to seize any animals; only South Dakota law enforcement officials have the authority to seize animals in accordance with State cruelty code.
    • It cannot provide an incentive for law enforcement to seize animals – it just makes the cost of a seizure less expensive to the county and non-profits.
  • This type of bond is common in civil cases.  For example in the case of child abuse and neglect where even prior to adjudication the state of South Dakota charges parents for the cost of the child's foster care.  
  • It also puts the burden on the agency seeking a bond to prove reasonable cost of care and the legality of the animal’s seizure. The National Sheriffs’ Association and the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys support cost of animal care laws.
On behalf of the animals and SD FACT Board of Directors, THANK YOU! 
We are a community of advocates and your voice does matter.  
Our mission is to advocate for the protection and humane treatment of animals in South Dakota.
We support candidates and incumbents who align with these values.
We advocate for humane legislation, oppose inhumane legislation and
educate the public on issues that affect animals in our Statehouse.
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