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The Missouri Agriculture Policy Committee is considering a bill on Tuesday, February 2, that would make several changes to protect dogs and the rights of dog owners when animals are seized on suspicion of neglect or abuse.  The purpose of the bill is to ensure that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, and to protect their dogs that are seized and held during a trial.

Missouri dog owners are encouraged to contact the committee and express support for House Bill 589. Scroll down for more information on how to comment.

HB 589 Bill Summary:

Provisions in House Bill 589 include the following:

  • Only allowing law enforcement officers to obtain a warrant to inspect, care for, or confiscate neglected or abused animals, only as set forth in the warrant. The officer must then appear at a disposition hearing within 10 days of the confiscation for the purpose of granting immediate disposition of the animals (current law requires a hearing within 30 days of when a request is filed).
  • Expanding current law to allow animals to be placed with a third party approved by the court during a trial (current law only allows for veterinarians or animal control). AKC believes this could allow for dogs to be placed with co-owners or other responsible parties during a trial.
  • Prohibiting animals from being sterilized during an ongoing trial, unless necessary to relieve suffering.
  • Ensuring that animals receive proper care as determined by state law and regulations. The facility or organization caring for the animals are liable to the owner for damages resulting from negligent acts or abuse that occur while the animals are in their care.
  • Clarifying that within 72 hours after the disposition hearing, the owner may post a reasonable bond or security to cover the animal’s care, so long as it is consistent with the fair market cost of boarding an animal in an appropriate retail boarding facility. If the owner is found not guilty or charges are dropped, the costs of care must be paid by the confiscating agency.  Further, if the owner did provide sufficient bond and is ultimately acquitted, then they may have their animals returned.

AKC supports this bill, which protects both the health and safety of animals seized and the rights of owners, unless and until proven guilty.

What You Can Do: