The Wyoming Senate continues to consider how to address the issue of animals being seized, and the payment of their care during impoundment.
Both Senate Bills 24 and 25 would require those whose animals are seized on suspicion of cruelty to pay a bond to cover the costs of care while the animals are impounded.
As stated in a previous alert, AKC expressed significant concerns with Senate Bill 24, which could have caused someone to permanently lose ownership of their animals if they fail to pay for care – even if they are found not guilty. The Senate Agriculture, State, Public Lands, & Water Committee tabled this bill in February and it will not advance.
Senate Bill 25 is a better alternative in some respects, but AKC asked for specific clarifications to ensure that an owner would not lose their animals if they are ultimately found not guilty. In particular, we asked that the language stating “If, after the hearing, the court finds that no probable cause exists the animal may be returned to the owner or keeper of the animal” be amended to state the animal shall be returned.
This week, the Senator Tara Nethercott, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, filed amendments to amend this language. She also added language stating that no animal may be forfeited without a hearing, regardless, of whether a bond is posted, if “the animal is connected to the livelihood or ability to make a living of the owner.” Finally, she shortened the mandatory time frame in which a hearing must be conducted from 14 days to 7 days.
Yesterday, the Senate gave initial approval to these amendments and is expected to vote on the bill any day.
What You Can Do:
AKC encourages Wyoming residents to do the following:
- Contact Senator Nethercott and thank her for sponsoring these amendments to Senate File 25 to better protect the rights of dog owners: Nethercott@wyoleg.gov
- If you wish to comment on Senate File 25 as amended, contact your State Senator. Visit the AKC Legislative Action Center and type your zip code in the “Find your Elected Officials” box to find the name and contact information for your state senator.
AKC will continue to monitor this issue and provide more information when it is available. For questions, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.