A Kansas House committee is considering a bill on Wednesday (March 22) that would significantly broaden when an animal may be seized from an owner and potentially cause someone to lose their animals even if found innocent.
HB 2437 will be heard on Wednesday, March 22 in the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs at 9:00am. Concerned dog owners in Kansas should contact the House Federal and State Affairs Committee and oppose HB 2437. Committee contact information can be found HERE.
House Bill 2437 will make numerous changes to the Kansas Pet Animal Act, but the most concerning provision of the legislation will allow the Department of Agriculture to contract with any licensed animal shelter or rescue to seize animals and provide care for those animals for even minor violations of the Kansas Pet Animal Act such as failing to keep proper documentation of adequate veterinary care.
The Commissioner or these rescues and shelters would then be entitled to collect costs from the owners associated with seizure, transportation, and care of these animals and these costs must be paid before an animal can be returned. The owner could be billed every 30 days during a trial. If an individual misses one payment or fails to pay within 10 days of receiving the bill, their dogs would be considered abandoned and would then be eligible for adoption – even if they are ultimately found not guilty.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) agrees that no animal should be kept in a dangerous or inhumane situation. However, we are concerned that this bill would lead to the forfeit of an individual’s rights of ownership in their animals by failing to provide appropriate and required procedural due process protections.
To that end, HB 2437 must ensure that dog owners will get their animals returned if they are found not guilty – even if they miss a payment. AKC is also recommending that restrictions and clear guidelines be included on the amount the owner will be required to pay, as well as the owner’s ability to pay, as has been passed in other states. Finally, AKC is recommending that animals be placed with an approved third party (such as a co-owner) to help reduce costs and burdens on shelters and rescues during a trial while still ensuring proper care of the animal.
AKC GR continues to monitor Kansas legislation impacting dog owners and will continue to provide updates as necessary. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org