§ 731. Definitions
As used in this Part, the following words shall have the following meanings ascribed to them:
(1) "Brand" means an identification mark hot or cold branded into or onto the hide of a live animal.
(2) "Commission" means the Livestock Brand Commission.
(3) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of agriculture.
(4) "Director" means the director of the commission.
(5) "Mark" means a distinct marking or device placed on or in a live animal sufficient to distinguish the animal readily if it becomes intermixed with other animals, including a tattoo or an electronic device.
(6) "Person" means an individual, firm, partnership, corporation, or other association.
§ 732. Livestock Brand Commission
A. The Livestock Brand Commission is hereby created within the Department of Agriculture. Notwithstanding any provision of this Part or of any other law to the contrary, the commission shall exercise and perform its powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities as provided in R.S. 36:912. The commission shall be domiciled in Baton Rouge.
B. (1) The commission shall be comprised of nine members appointed by the commissioner as follows:
(a) One member appointed from a list of three persons nominated by the Louisiana Cattlemen's Association.
(b) One member appointed from a list of three persons nominated by the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation.
(c) One member appointed from a list of three persons nominated by the Louisiana Sheriffs' Association.
(d) One member appointed from a list of three persons nominated by the Louisiana District Attorneys' Association.
(e) Two members appointed from the state at large, one of whom shall be appointed from the northern portion of the state and one of whom shall be appointed from the southern portion of the state.
(f) One member appointed from the state at large, who shall be an operator of a Louisiana public livestock market.
(g) One member appointed from a list of three persons nominated by the Louisiana Landowners Association.
(h) One member appointed from a list of three persons nominated by the Louisiana Forestry Association.
(i) The commissioner of agriculture and forestry, or his designee, shall serve as an ex officio member with the same rights, powers, and privileges as the other members.
(2) Each appointed member, except the members appointed from nominations by the Louisiana Sheriffs' Association and the Louisiana District Attorneys' Association, shall be engaged in the production or marketing of livestock, or shall be a veterinarian specializing in the treatment of large animals.
(3) Each appointment by the commissioner shall be submitted to the Senate for confirmation.
C. The appointed members shall serve for a term of four years which shall expire with the term of the commissioner making the appointment. Vacancies on the commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments. Appointments to fill vacancies shall be made within ninety days of the date the vacancy occurred and shall be for the unexpired portion of the term of the office vacated.
D. The commission shall meet at least quarterly and shall meet at other times upon the call of the chairman or of any three members. The commission shall not meet more than twelve times in any year.
E. A majority of the members of the commission shall constitute a quorum. The affirmative vote of a majority of the members shall be required to transact any official business of the commission. Each member shall take and subscribe to the oath of office prescribed for state officers. Members of the commission shall not receive any salary for their duties as members. The appointed members may receive a per diem for each day spent in actual attendance of meetings of the commission or of duly appointed committees or subcommittees of the commission. The amount of the per diem shall be fixed by the commission in an amount not to exceed forty dollars. The appointed members may receive a mileage allowance for mileage traveled in attending meetings. The mileage allowance shall be fixed by the commission in an amount not to exceed the rate for state employees.
F. The commission, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 13 of Title 49 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, may adopt such rules and regulations as are necessary to implement and enforce the provisions of this Part.
G. The commission may enter into such contracts and agreements as are necessary to implement and enforce the provisions of this Part.
H. The commission, by a vote of two-thirds of the appointed members, may expel a member who has three consecutive unexcused absences from commission meetings.
§ 733. Officers and employees; administration and enforcement
A. The commissioner shall serve as chairman of the commission. At the first meeting of the commission after the effective date of this Part, the members shall elect from their membership a vice-chairman and such other officers as the commission may deem advisable.
B. The commission, with the approval of the commissioner, shall appoint a director and an assistant director who shall be in the unclassified service of the state.
C. The commissioner shall administer and enforce the provisions of this Part in accordance with the rules and regulations promulgated by the commission. The commissioner shall appoint livestock brand inspectors and such other personnel as may be necessary for the proper and efficient administration of this Part, except as provided in Subsection B of this Section.
§ 734. Livestock brand inspectors
A. Livestock brand inspectors employed by the commissioner and the director and assistant director of the commission shall be commissioned by the Department of Public Safety and, for the purposes of this Part, shall have the same power and authority as is vested in the state police. Inspectors shall have general jurisdiction throughout the state to enforce the provisions of this Part and the rules and regulations adopted under the provisions of this Part.
B. Personnel of the commission who are commissioned peace officers shall be under the direction, control, and supervision of the commissioner and shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) To enforce all of the provisions of this Part, and the rules and regulations adopted under the provisions of this Part, including provisions relating to the theft of animals, the illegal branding or marking of animals, the disposition of strayed animals, the theft of any farm machinery, equipment, or supplies, and to perform such duties with respect to any other farm-related crime.
(2) To take the following actions, with or without a warrant, when the inspector has probable cause to believe that the provisions of this Part, or of the rules and regulations adopted under the provisions of this Part, have been violated:
(a) To enter upon private land or premises.
(b) To stop and search any airplane, automobile, truck, boat, or other vehicle.
(c) To enter any establishment where livestock or carcasses are slaughtered, butchered, stored, or sold.
(d) To hold livestock, carcasses, parts of carcasses, or hides for a reasonable time for the purposes of investigation and determination of ownership.
(3) To arrest, with or without a warrant, any person who the inspector has probable cause to believe has violated the criminal provisions of this Part.
(4) To serve all warrants and other processes issued by courts of competent jurisdiction in connection with violations of the provisions of this Part and the rules and regulations adopted under the provisions of this Part.
(5) To cooperate with all other peace officers in the enforcement of the provisions of this Part and the rules and regulations adopted under the provisions of this Part.
(6) To carry proper credentials evidencing their authority, which shall be exhibited upon demand of any person.
§ 735. Use of unrecorded brand or mark prohibited
No person shall use any brand or mark for branding or marking animals unless the brand or mark is recorded with the commission.
§ 736. Brands and marks
A. The provisions of this Part shall apply to cattle, horses, mules, sheep, hogs, dogs, and other animals as determined by the commission.
B. The commission, by rule, shall adopt guidelines and requirements for brands and marks which shall include, but shall not be limited to the following:
(1) The other animals which shall be subject to the provisions of this Part.
(2) The style, design, and size of brands and marks.
(3) The location of brands and marks on the animal.
(4) Brands and marks recorded prior to September 10, 1982, shall not be affected by the provisions of this Subsection.
C. Brands and marks may be recorded with the commission. Each person who desires to record a brand or mark shall submit a written application on a form approved by the commission. Each application shall be accompanied by a facsimile of the brand or mark; a description of the brand or mark, including the location of the brand or mark on the animal; such other information as may be required by the commission; and the recordation fee.
D. The director shall examine the description or facsimile, or both, to determine if the brand or mark:
(1) Is currently recorded by another person.
(2) Closely resembles a brand or mark currently recorded by another person.
(3) Meets the requirements for brands and marks adopted by the commission.
E. If the brand or mark is not currently recorded, does not closely resemble a currently recorded brand or mark, and meets the requirements adopted by the commission the director shall record the brand or mark. The recordation shall be effective on the date the application was received by the commission and shall give the person for whom the brand or mark is recorded the exclusive right to use the brand or mark.
F. If the brand or mark is currently recorded, or closely resembles a currently recorded brand or mark, or does not meet the requirements adopted by the commission, the director shall not record the brand or mark and shall return the application, the fee, the facsimile, and the description to the applicant with written reasons for refusing to record the brand or mark.
G. Any applicant whose application to record a brand or mark has been refused, and any person who has recorded a brand or mark and who believes that a subsequently recorded brand or mark closely resembles a previously recorded brand or mark may appeal the decision of the director to the commission.
§ 737. Duration of recordation; renewal
A. The recordation of each brand or mark shall expire on the last day of December of 1984, and every fifth year thereafter.
B. The commission shall notify each owner of a brand or mark of the expiration date no later than the first day of April of each expiration year. Applications for renewal shall be received by the commission no later than the first day of September of the expiration year. Applications for renewal shall be on forms approved by the commission and shall be accompanied by the renewal fee and such other information as the commission may require. If any owner of a brand or mark fails to renew his recordation by the first day of September of the expiration year, the brand or mark shall be forfeited on the last day of the expiration year, and may thereafter be issued to another applicant.
§ 738. Transfer of ownership of brand or mark
Brands and marks recorded under the provisions of this Part are the property of the person recording the brand or mark and may be transferred by sale, donation, assignment, or other act of transfer of movable property. Instruments evidencing the transfer of a brand or mark shall be recorded with the commission. The recordation of a transfer shall be notice to all third persons.
§ 739. Recordation of brand or mark by two persons
The director shall continually review and examine the recorded brands and marks to determine if there are conflicting brands or marks recorded with the commission. When the director determines that a conflict exists, the director shall notify both persons who have recorded the brand or mark and shall expunge the more recent recordation. The person whose recordation is expunged shall be notified by registered mail that his recordation has been expunged and that further use of this brand or mark is illegal. Persons whose recordation has been expunged may appeal the decision of the director to the commission. The provisions of this Section shall not affect the ownership of any animals which were branded or marked after the brand or mark was recorded and before the recordation was expunged.
§ 740. Certified copies of recordations, renewals, and transfers
A. Each person who records a brand or mark, who renews a recordation, or to whom a recorded brand or mark is transferred, shall be entitled to one certified copy of the recordation, renewal, or transfer free of charge.
B. In any civil or criminal action in which the ownership of an animal is in question, a certified copy of a recordation, renewal, or transfer shall be prima facie evidence of the ownership of the animal and shall be admissible in evidence without further foundation.
§ 741. Publication of brands and marks
The commission shall publish a list of all recorded brands and marks in book form. The lists shall be supplemented annually. The publication and the supplements shall contain a facsimile of each recorded brand or mark and the owner's name and mailing address. The publication and the supplements shall be arranged in convenient form for reference. The commission shall provide one copy of the publication and the supplements free of charge to the clerk of court for each parish who shall keep them as public record, the sheriff of each parish, and such other law enforcement agencies as may in the opinion of the director be appropriate. The publication and supplements may be sold to the general public.
§ 742. Inspection of cattle
No livestock shall be sold at any public sale until such livestock have been inspected and passed by brand inspectors appointed for such purpose. Brand inspectors are authorized to inspect any livestock being transported by any means, or being loaded or prepared to be transported. Brand inspectors shall have the authority to inspect all livestock together with accompanying health documentation for each animal in conjunction with the Livestock Sanitary Board. Whenever health documentation for any animal is not in compliance with the requirements of the Livestock Sanitary Board, the brand inspector may stop all movement of the animal until all required health documentation is provided or may require the person who has possession of the animal to return the animal to the place of origin.
§ 743. Strayed animals
A. The commission shall determine the ownership of strayed animals which are subject to the provisions of this Part, based on the brands and marks recorded with the commission.
B. Each person who takes possession of a strayed animal which is subject to the provisions of this Part shall notify the commission by certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice shall indicate the kind of animal; the color, weight, size, sex, age, brands, marks, and distinguishing features of the animal; the place where the animal is kept; and the name and address of the person holding the animal. The costs and expenses which may be charged by a person holding a strayed animal shall commence on the date the notice is mailed to the commission.
C. If the commission is unable to determine the ownership of the strayed animal, the commission shall notify the person holding the strayed animal who, within ten days of receipt of the notice, shall cause the strayed animal to be advertised and sold in accordance with law.
§ 744. Purchase of cattle for slaughter
A. No person engaged in the business of butchering or slaughtering cattle shall purchase any cattle slaughtered by another unless the hide and ears of the animal accompany the carcass.
B. No person engaged in the business of butchering or slaughtering cattle shall purchase any cattle slaughtered by another if the hide or ears accompanying the carcass indicate that the brand or mark on the animal has been changed, mutilated, or destroyed.
C. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to persons engaged in the business of butchering or slaughtering cattle who are operating under the provisions of the federal Packers and Stockyards Act of 1924, as amended, or under a permit issued by the Department of Health and Hospitals.
§ 745. Branding or marking or obliterating brands or marks
No person shall wilfully and knowingly brand or mark the animal of another person, or intentionally alter, deface, or obliterate a brand or mark on the animal of another person.
§ 746. Branding or marking or obliterating brands or marks with intent to steal or prevent identification
No person shall brand or mark the animal of another person or alter, deface, or obliterate a brand or mark on the animal of another person with intent to steal the animal or to prevent the identification of the animal by the owner.
§ 747. Criminal penalties
Whoever violates the provisions of R.S. 3:744, R.S. 3:745, or R.S. 3:746 shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned with or without hard labor, for not more than ten years, or both.
§ 748. Civil penalties; injunctive relief
A. The commission may assess a civil penalty of not more than two hundred fifty dollars for each violation of the provisions of this Part or of the rules and regulations adopted under the provisions of this Part. Each day on which a violation occurs shall be considered a separate offense.
B. Penalties may be assessed only by a ruling by the commission based on an adjudicatory hearing held in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 13 of Title 49 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes.
C. The commission may institute civil proceedings to enforce the rulings of the commission in the district court for the parish in which the violation occurred.
D. The commissioner may institute civil proceedings seeking injunctive relief to restrain and prevent the violation of the provisions of this Part, or of the rules and regulations adopted under the provisions of this Part, in the district court for the parish in which the violation occurred.
§ 749. Fees
A. The commission shall charge the following services:
(1) Recording brand or mark $10.00
(2) Renewing recordation 5.00
(3) Transfer of recordation 5.00
(4) Second and subsequent certified copies of recordations, renewals and transfers 2.50
B. For each publication and each supplemental list of brands and marks, the commission shall charge the price required to be printed on the document by R.S. 43:31 plus one dollar.
§ 750. Livestock Crimestoppers Program
A. The Livestock Crimestoppers Program is hereby created within the Department of Agriculture to be administered by the Livestock Brand Commission.
B. The commission shall do the following:
(1) Create, maintain, and promote a statewide livestock crimestoppers program in order to assist law enforcement agencies in detecting and combatting livestock-related crimes.
(2) Determine which individuals shall be rewarded for providing information used in detecting and combatting livestock-related crimes.
(3) Determine the amount of any reward to be paid.
C. The commission may do the following:
(1) Assist and advise in the creation and maintenance of local livestock crimestoppers programs.
(2) Encourage the channeling of information from the programs to law enforcement agencies.
(3) Foster the detection of livestock-related crimes by the public.
(4) Promote the state and local programs through the media.
(5) Accept gifts, grants, and donations for the furtherance of the program and spend these in compliance with the conditions of the gifts, grants, or donations.
(6) Adopt such rules and regulations as are necessary to administer the program. All rules and regulations shall be adopted in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.
D. Initial funding for the livestock crimestoppers program shall be provided by a donation from the Louisiana Cattlemen's Association.
E. All donations and other funds made available to the program shall be kept in an interest-bearing account.
F. The identity of each person who submits information under any state or local livestock crimestoppers program and any information which may lead to the disclosure of that person's identity shall be kept confidential.
§ 67.1. Theft of livestock
A. Theft of livestock is the misappropriation or taking of livestock belonging to another, either without the consent of the other to the misappropriation or taking, or by means of fraudulent conduct, practices, or representations. An intent to deprive the other permanently of the livestock is essential. It shall not be necessary to prove defendants killed the animal; the mere taking of meat from the animal shall constitute theft hereunder. Transportation of livestock to a slaughterhouse or an auction sale barn and assignment in a record book in a name other than that of the owner shall also be theft of livestock. An intent to deprive the owner permanently of funds derived from sale is essential.
B. "Livestock" means any animal, hybrid, mixture, or mutation of the species of horses, mules, donkeys, asses, cattle, swine, sheep, goats, domesticated deer, buffalo, bison, beefalo, or oxen.
C. Whoever commits the crime of theft of livestock shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than ten years, or both.
D. The Livestock Brand Commission of the State of Louisiana shall have primary responsibility for the collection of information in such cases and shall aid all police agencies in such investigations.
E. Whenever there is a prosecution under this Section as a second or third offense not more than one offense committed prior to the enactment of this Section may be used to establish the second or third offense as the case may be.
F. The Livestock Brand Commission of the state of Louisiana shall have primary responsibility for collection of information in such cases and shall aid all police agencies in such investigations.
Reviewed by AAHS in July 2001.
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