Question for the ACOs/Investigators

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Postby Marinepits » June 15th, 2006, 8:58 am

Would you please break down your criteria for what constitutes either abuse or neglect, and how you deal with the charges? What are the guidelines given to you by your respective offices?

I'm looking for an interesting discussion, not a bash-fest, LOL. :wink:
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Postby bouvierz » June 15th, 2006, 9:27 am

Animal Cruelty as a whole an animal is neglected of adequate food, (and/or)water and depending on the animal and state (and/or)shelter, (and/or) mediacl treatment. Also allowing and or causing an animal to suffer from pain, injury and or causing death. All theses things not need apply to be guilty of animal cruelty.

Each state has it's own laws which we govern. In New york there is
-Prohibition of animal fighting
-Overdriving, torturing, injuring animals, failure to provide proper sustenance
-Aggravated cruelty to animals
-Appropriate shelter for dogs left outside
-Sale of baby chicks and baby rabbits
-Abandonment of Animals
-Failure to provide proper food and drink to an impounded animal
-Selling of or offering to sell or exposing diseased animal
-Selling of disabled horses
-Live animals for prizes
-Carrying an animal in a cruel manner
- Transportation of horses
-Poisoning animals or attempting to do so
-Interference with or injury to certain domestic animals
-Throwing subsatance injurious to animals in a public place
-Unauthorized possesion of dogs presumptive evidence of larceny
-Running horses on highway
-Clipping or cutting the ears of dogs
-Dog stealing
-removing, seizing or transporting dogs for research purposes
-Leaving the state to avoid provisions ot this article
-Operating upon tails of horses unlawful
-prohibition of selling fur, hair, ar flesh of cat/dog


All of these have definitions that we follow and enforce. In new york state you can look up these at- http://www.agmkt.state.ny.us

I hope this answers your question :D If you have a specific situation I might know or at least direct you to the answer.
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Postby Maryellen » June 15th, 2006, 9:46 am

so ny has the no cropping of ears then? i thought that law didnt pass. did it?
what is meant by carrying an animal in a cruel manner? what determines cruel? like by the ears or tails, yes, that is cruel, but what other ways does that come into play?

sale of baby chicks or rabbits - how is that cruelty? is it who they sell to or just the selling in general?

transportation of horses- why is this under the cruelty area? is it the way they are transported?


operation upon of tails of horses? what does that mean?
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Postby Karen » June 15th, 2006, 9:53 am

Maryellen wrote:so ny has the no cropping of ears then? i thought that law didnt pass. did it?
what is meant by carrying an animal in a cruel manner? what determines cruel? like by the ears or tails, yes, that is cruel, but what other ways does that come into play?

sale of baby chicks or rabbits - how is that cruelty? is it who they sell to or just the selling in general?

transportation of horses- why is this under the cruelty area? is it the way they are transported?


operation upon of tails of horses? what does that mean?


Maryellen sometimes Saddlebred tails are "set" the ligatures are cut and bone broken to have it arch. I have always hated ti as it is unconfortable for the horse afterthe operation and they need to be in a bustle all the time or the tail tries to go back to normal. They also mean the docking of draft horse breeds.

The transportation bill is the horses can NOT be transported in double decker cattle trailers and it governs how many horses per stock trailer. It is a pretty reasonable law. Horses don't ride safely in the double deckers and many are killed and trampled. They are slaughter bound animals for the most part.

The rest is highly subjective and does get abused by members of law enforcement. What is adequate food to me may not be to them.
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Postby Marinepits » June 15th, 2006, 10:00 am

bouvierz wrote:I hope this answers your question :D If you have a specific situation I might know or at least direct you to the answer.


Thanks for the info! I'm just asking a general question for information only -- more information might lead to less misunderstandings, know what I mean? :wink:
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Postby Marinepits » June 15th, 2006, 10:02 am

Karen wrote:The rest is highly subjective and does get abused by members of law enforcement. What is adequate food to me may not be to them.


Which leads me to another question -- how much personal opinion/predjudice leeway is allowed in the interpretation of these laws?
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Postby Maryellen » June 15th, 2006, 10:03 am

thanks karen, that spells it out more.. i didnt know horses tails were operated on to stand up more.. that is stupid.
the trailing one makes sense too, only a single level trailer, i wouldnt trust a 2 story trailer myself..

the other ones i dont get
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Postby a-bull » June 15th, 2006, 10:25 am

yeah, not sure about the bunny/chick thing where I am, but I do know it was an issue in these parts way back when . . . . you could go to any hardware store and there would be chicks for sale in the windows---I don't see it much anymore. Not sure what the issue might be in doing that, but it always struck me as odd.

You have to remember, the cruelty investigator uses that list as a guideline to charge a person~that does not mean they are automatically guilty as charged.
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Postby Karen » June 15th, 2006, 10:44 am

a-bull wrote:yeah, not sure about the bunny/chick thing where I am, but I do know it was an issue in these parts way back when . . . . you could go to any hardware store and there would be chicks for sale in the windows---I don't see it much anymore. Not sure what the issue might be in doing that, but it always struck me as odd.

You have to remember, the cruelty investigator uses that list as a guideline to charge a person~that does not mean they are automatically guilty as charged.


No but if you get a zealot you can bet it will be used regardless of the right or wrong of it. Get an ACO that hates breeding and guess what? The breeder is in for a world of harassment.
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Postby a-bull » June 15th, 2006, 11:14 am

Still neeed a Prosecutor and a judge for a guilty verdict~atleast in Massachusetts. ( . . . and a case, I might add) . . .
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Postby mnp13 » June 15th, 2006, 2:13 pm

a-bull wrote:Still neeed a Prosecutor and a judge for a guilty verdict~atleast in Massachusetts. ( . . . and a case, I might add) . . .


And pretty much everywhere else... but that doesn't mean that they can't harass the living hell out of you.
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Postby mnp13 » June 15th, 2006, 2:15 pm

Admin Note:

There are a few ACO's / Law Enforcement / etc people on the board. If you are identifying yourlsef as such, please let us know what you do and what your training is.

I don't want your SS# and address, just some info would be nice.
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Postby msvette2u » June 15th, 2006, 3:44 pm

I am a WA state licensed Animal Control Officer, I was laid off in April because of "lack of work" that is, the city I worked for no longer saw fit to have Animal Control but changed the position to Code Enforcement which includes buildings and property as well as animal things. I'd rather work strictly with animals and not with properties, so I didn't try to hard for the new position.
I went to ACO Academy, a 2 wk/80 hour course, to become an ACO.
Anyway when bringing a case of cruelty/neglect I use the WA state ordinances, the "RCWs" that is, as a guideline.
They are all found here:
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=16.52

I do not think there is room for "personal opinion/predjudice leeway" in allowed in the interpretation of these laws. A good portion of my training was spent understanding and interpreting the law, plus I worked in a Police department so I got a better understanding of the laws and how to apply them to particular situations.
If we start interpreting the laws differently than they are meant to be interpreted, then our cases will get thrown out and we won't be taken seriously in court.
Even when I disagreed with people's practices, keeping non-sterlized dogs for instance, I did not "harass" owners, but often was accused of it since they were often the worst offenders with things such as dog at large, and no licenses. It was no surprise therefore, it seemed I was always at their house and of course they resented that and me.

Was that what you were looking for?
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Postby mnp13 » June 15th, 2006, 4:01 pm

msvette2u wrote:Was that what you were looking for?


yes, thanks!!!

It's just nice to know where people are coming from with their info.

I'm just a "normal owner", so my info needs to be taken with that in mind, but when people identify themselves as professionals it's nice to know where those credentials are based.

I do have a question:
I do not think there is room for "personal opinion/predjudice leeway" in allowed in the interpretation of these laws.

How do you account for different views of what is "appropriate" housing, food, weight, exercise, etc? What you feel is adequate may be very different than someone else. Who has the final say in a case like that?
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Postby Marinepits » June 15th, 2006, 4:06 pm

mnp13 wrote:I do have a question:
I do not think there is room for "personal opinion/predjudice leeway" in allowed in the interpretation of these laws.

How do you account for different views of what is "appropriate" housing, food, weight, exercise, etc? What you feel is adequate may be very different than someone else. Who has the final say in a case like that?


Good question.
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Postby Marinepits » June 15th, 2006, 4:06 pm

And thanks, Vette! :D
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Postby msvette2u » June 15th, 2006, 4:15 pm

How do you account for different views of what is "appropriate" housing, food, weight, exercise, etc? What you feel is adequate may be very different than someone else. Who has the final say in a case like that?

Well it's something interesting for sure,
I would get calls by neighbors with complaints, about inadequate housing for a dog, etc. What's "ok" for a husky with a double coat wouldn't be "ok" for a Boxer who has little subcutaneous fat and a very short coat for instance. You just take all the variables into consideration. I'd go and take photos, just in case it became a court case, and if I had questions or doubts I'd call the city attorney and run it by my Chief or Sergeant.
If I read the state laws and/or municipal laws, and can find AND prove neglect or inadequate care, even vet care for instance, and demonstrate that, then I'm good to go with a case. But if I can't prove it, forget it.
I used the "Tufts" scale on care and condition and would actually type that up. For instance, no shade on a 70 degree day is a 2 or whatever, no shade on a 100 degree day is a 5, with 5 being the worst.
So you have to look at all angles and be prepared to justify that before a jury if necessary.
I would actually score each thing, there was, shelter/shade, cleanliness, the dog's condition, body wise, and the coat condition, if it's matted for instance.
The final say would be me since I'm the one who went to the academy. With a large operation and more than one ACO involved it would be better but in my case I was the "dog expert" lol
In the case of an ill or mangy dog, I'd ask people to see their vet records, and if they could produce none, I told them to take the dog to the vet or I'd confiscate it and take it there myself.
(I found the Tufts chart!)
http://www.animalsheltering.org/resourc ... dition.pdf
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Postby cheekymunkee » June 15th, 2006, 4:25 pm

Interesting stuff!
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Postby Marinepits » June 15th, 2006, 4:25 pm

Yeah, good stuff there!
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Postby mnp13 » June 15th, 2006, 4:31 pm

hmmmm....

interesting stuff.
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