If you have been following this blog then you know that I have written several posts and articles relating to livestock animal cruelty law in New York. Pursuant to New York Agriculture & Markets Law, duly incorporated animal societies (principally the New York Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty (“SPCA”)) can obtain warrants to search and seize farm animals. When I talk to livestock producers about this issue, they are usually concerned that non-police officers have this ability.
New York is not alone with this delegation of police authority for animal welfare matters. As Elizabeth Rumley, Esq. and Rusty Rumley, Esq. suggest in this article, “over half of the states and the District of Columbia grant some form of law enforcement power to members or officers of humane societies. The authority ranges from the power to arrest to the ability to seize and destroy private property.” The article makes note of this 2000 study by the New Jersey Commission of Investigation.
For those of you who are interested, I suggest reading the entire article titled “Enforcing Animal Welfare Statutes: In Many States, It’s Still the Wild West.” There seems to be various problems with this delegation of police authority for animal welfare matters around the United States. I feel very strongly that those involved in the agriculture industry should not just complain about the law–you should play an active role in getting the law changed. And yes- you really *can* help change the law.
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