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The Montana Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider Senate Bill 115 on January 20, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. This bill would expand provisions regarding bonds for care of seized animals.

The American Kennel Club’s concerns with SB 115 include, but are not limited to:

  • SB 115 would limit the court’s discretion in cases of alleged animal cruelty and could require animal owners to expend potentially significant funds—or forfeit ownership of their animals—prior to any determination of guilt.
  • It would require an animal owner to pay the costs of care for a seized animal even when the court directs that the animal be released to the owner. An owner could be subjected to significant expense in order to recover his or her property.
  • It would require the court to order imposition of a bond or security in a civil proceeding wherein a seized animal is placed in a county-operated shelter.
  • It would empower an officer of an undefined “animal welfare agency” to order euthanization of a seized animal based on a layperson’s determination that the animal is suffering, injured or diseased. The AKC strongly believes that the decision to euthanize an animal should be made by a person of proper authority in consultation with a veterinarian.
  • Owners unable to pay the costs of care would forfeit ownership of their animal prior to trial.

The AKC strongly supports the humane treatment of dogs and believes that no dog should be kept in cruel or neglectful circumstances. We agree that those convicted of animal cruelty should be held accountable, including paying for the costs of caring for the animals they mistreated. However, we believe this proposal violates animal owners’ rights of due process and would have detrimental effects on owners whose animals are unjustly seized.

What You Can Do:

Attend the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and express any concerns you have with SB 115:

Date: Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: Room 303, State Capitol, 1301 East 6th Avenue, Helena, MT 59601

Contact members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to express your concerns. To send a message to every member of the committee via an online messaging form, click here, then:

  • Enter your information
  • Click the button for “Committee”
  • Select “Senate Judiciary” from the “Choose a Committee” drop-down box
  • Select “SB” from the “Select the Bill Type” drop-down box
  • Type 115 in the “Enter the Number of the Bill” box
  • Click on your position under “Vote.” You may also type in a message to the committee members.

Contact individual committee members via the Senate Information Office at 406-444-4800 (you may leave messages for up to five individual legislators or one legislative committee per call) or use the online messaging form to send personalized messages to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senate Judiciary Committee:

Senator Scott Sales, Chair
Senator Jennifer Fielder, Vice Chair
Senator Diane Sands, Minority Vice Chair
Senator Robyn Driscoll
Senator Kristin Hansen
Senator Jedediah Hinkel
Senator Doug Kary
Senator Cliff Larsen
Senator Mary McNally
Senator Mary Sheehy Moe
Senator Diane Sands
Senator Nels Swandal
Senator Chas Vincent

For questions or more information, please contact AKC Government Relations at or 919-816-3720.