2311. General authority
The department shall have authority to impose requirements and methods for the identification of domestic animals owned, kept, possessed or transported within this Commonwealth. The department shall authorize and record the adoption and exclusive use of unique identification marks, numbers or devices, including distinctive branding marks, tattoos, microchips and other forms of identification that are affixed upon domestic animals, and shall maintain a registry of such forms of identification. The department may establish through regulations fees for the assignment, registry and exclusive use of forms of identification registered under this subchapter. Any regulations developed under this section shall not conflict with Federal regulations regarding the identification of domestic animals.
2312. Adoption of form of identification
(a) General authority.--A domestic animal owner may adopt a brand, tattoo or other form of identification with which to identify domestic animals owned by such person through the procedure set forth in this subchapter. A form of identification recorded in compliance with this subchapter shall be considered the personal property of the person who records it. Such person shall have the exclusive right to use this form of identification within this Commonwealth.
(b) Application, facsimile and fee.--A person desiring to adopt a form of identification shall submit an application form, a facsimile of the form of identification and a recording fee of $25 to the department. The department shall provide the application form upon request. This fee may be changed by the department through regulations.
(c) Provisional filing.--It shall be the duty of the department to file all forms of identification offered for recording, keeping account of the date and chronological order of receipt, pending the review and examination provided for in subsection (d). If the form of identification is subsequently accepted for recording, ownership of the form of identification shall vest from the date of filing.
(d) Review.--The department shall have the power to examine, approve, accept or reject an application to record a brand, tattoo or other form of identification. Following receipt of the required application, facsimile and fee, the department shall, as promptly as possible, determine whether the form of identification is of record as that of some other person and whether the form of identification conflicts with or closely resembles that of another person. If neither of these conditions exist, the department shall record the form of identification. If either or both of these conditions exist, the department shall not record the form of identification, but shall instead return the recording fee and facsimile to the applicant.
2313. Certified copies
(a) Issuance.--If a form of identification is recorded, the department shall furnish its owner with two certified copies of the record of the form of identification. Upon receipt of written evidence of the sale, assignment or transfer of a form of identification, the department shall furnish the new owner with two certified copies of the record of the form of identification. Additional copies may be obtained by the payment of $15 for each copy. This fee may be changed by the department through regulations.
(b) Filing.--Within ten days of receiving the two certified copies of the record of the form of identification, the owner of the recorded form of identification shall file one of the certified copies in the office of the county recorder of the county where the owner's principal place of business is located and one copy in each county where domestic animals bearing the recorded form of identification are to be kept. If the form of identification had a prior owner and the prior owner filed a certified copy in any other county, the subsequent owner shall file a certified copy in each county in which the previous owner had filed.
2314. Brand, tattoo or other form of identification as proof of ownership
In all suits at law or in equity or in any criminal proceedings in which the title to domestic animals is an issue, the certified copies recorded pursuant to section 2313 (relating to certified copies) shall be prima facie evidence of the ownership of the domestic animal by the person in whose name the brand, tattoo or other form of identification is recorded.
2315. Disputes in custody or ownership
Disputes in custody or ownership of domestic animals that bear brands, tattoos or other forms of identification shall be investigated on request by the sheriff of the county where the domestic animals are located. The sheriff may call upon the services of a licensed veterinarian in reading the brands, tattoos or other forms of identification on domestic animals. The cost of the veterinarian's services shall be borne by the person requesting the investigation. The results of the sheriff's investigation shall be a public record and shall be admissible in evidence.
2316. Sale or assignment of form of identification
Any form of identification recorded pursuant to this subchapter shall be the property of the person causing such record to be made and shall be subject to sale, assignment, transfer, devise and descent as personal property. Instruments of writing evidencing the sale, assignment or transfer of such form of identification shall be recorded by the department. The fee for recording such sale, assignment or transfer shall be $5.
This fee may be changed by the department through regulations.
2317. Violations and penalty
(a) Unauthorized brands.--It shall be unlawful for a person to use any brand for the branding of domestic animals unless the brand has been recorded pursuant to this subchapter or unless the use of a brand or the branding procedure is authorized under any other provision of this chapter.
(b) Affixing forms of identification by nonowners.--It shall be unlawful for a person to affix, attempt to affix or cause to be affixed a form of identification upon the domestic animal of another without the owner's consent.
(c) Tampering.--It shall be unlawful for a person to efface, deface or obliterate or attempt to efface, deface or obliterate any brand, tattoo or other form of identification upon any domestic animal belonging to another person. It shall be unlawful for a person to efface, deface, obliterate, conceal, remove or attempt to remove any official domestic animal identification of the department, the United States Department of Agriculture or any other state department of agriculture.
(d) Form of identification of another.--It shall be unlawful for a person to affix, attempt to affix or cause to be affixed upon any domestic animal the form of identification of another.
(e) Other false identification.--It shall be unlawful for any person to place, attach or use on a domestic animal, or to cause to be placed, attached or used on a domestic animal, or to attempt to place, attach or use on a domestic animal, any form of identification such as a brand, tattoo, tag, emblem, marking, microchip or other identifying mark, number or device that such person knows misrepresents the identity or health of the domestic animal, with intent to interfere or deceive in the identification, testing, vaccinating, selling, transfer or slaughter of the domestic animal.
(f) Penalty.--Any person who is convicted of violating any provision of this subchapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree and may be imprisoned for not more than two years and be fined not more than $5,000.
2318. Fees and forfeiture
An owner of a form of identification of record shall pay the department a fee of $5 on January 1 of every fifth year from the year in which the form of identification was recorded with the department as that owner's property. This fee may be changed by the department through regulations. The department shall give a receipt for all such payments made. If an owner of a form of identification of record should fail, refuse or neglect to pay such fee by July 1 of any year in which it is due, such form of identification shall become forfeited and no longer carried in the record. Any such forfeited form of identification shall not be issued to any other person within a period of less than ten years following date of forfeiture.
Reviewed by AAHS in March 2002.
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