University of Vermont AAHS

North Dakota Cruelty to Animals Statutes


NORTH DAKOTA STATUTES
TITLE 36. LIVESTOCK
CHAPTER 36-21.1. HUMANE TREATMENT OF ANIMALS


36-21.1-01 Definitions.

In this chapter, unless the context  otherwise requires:

1."Abandoned animal" means an animal that is or reasonably appears to have been deserted by its owner or keeper. The term may include an animal that is running loose on property other than that of its owner or the owner's agent if the animal bears no identification indicating the owner or the owner's agent and the owner or owner's agent is not known to the sheriff,
police officer, licensed veterinarian, or investigator taking custody of the animal under this chapter.

2. "Animal" includes every living animal except the human race.

3. "Commissioner" means the agriculture commissioner.

4. "Cruelty" or "torture" includes every act, omission, or neglect whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable pain, suffering, or death is caused or permitted.

5. "Investigator" means any person approved by the board to determine whether there has been a violation of this chapter.


36-21.1-02 Overworking or mistreating animals.

1. No person may overdrive, overload, torture, cruelly beat, neglect, or unjustifiably injure, maim, mutilate, or kill any animal, or cruelly work any animal when unfit for labor.

2. No person may deprive any animal over which he has charge or control of necessary food, water, or shelter.

3. No person may keep any animal in any enclosure without exercise and wholesome change of air.

4. No person may abandon any animal.

5. No person may allow any maimed, sick, infirm, or disabled animal of which he is the owner, or of which he has custody, to lie in any street, road, or other public place for more than three hours after notice.

6. No person may willfully instigate, or in any way further, any act of cruelty to any animal or animals, or any act tending to produce such cruelty.

7. No person may cage any animal for public display purposes unless the display cage is constructed of solid material on three sides to protect the caged animal from the elements, and unless the horizontal dimension of each side of the cage is at least four times the length of the caged animal. The provisions of this subsection do not apply to the North Dakota state fair association, to agricultural fair associations, to any agricultural display of caged animals by any political subdivision, or to district, regional, or national educational livestock or poultry exhibitions. Zoos which have been approved by the health district or the governing body of the political subdivision which has jurisdiction over the zoos are exempt from the provisions of this subsection.


36-21.1-03 Cruelty in transportation.

No person may carry, or cause to be carried, any live animals upon any vehicle or otherwise, without providing suitable racks, cars, crates, or cages, or other proper carrying container, nor may he carry an animal, or cause an animal to be carried, in any other cruel manner.


36-21.1-04 Poisoning animals.

No person may unjustifiably administer or expose any known poisonous substance or noxious drug, whether mixed with meat or other food or not, which may be eaten by any domestic animal.


36-21.1-05 Animal with infectious disease.

No person owning or having charge of any animal, knowing the animal to have any infectious or contagious disease, or to have recently been exposed thereto, may knowingly permit such animal to run at large or come into contact with another animal, or with another person without his knowledge and permission.


36-21.1-06 Exposure of animals -- Authority of officers.

1. Any sheriff, police officer, licensed veterinarian, or investigator may take custody of, and care for any animal unjustifiably exposed to cold or inclement weather or not properly fed and watered. Any sheriff or police officer may use reasonable means to enter a motor vehicle and remove an animal that has been left in the vehicle in violation of section 36-21.1-03.1.

2. A sheriff, police officer, licensed veterinarian, or investigator may care for the animal until it is redeemed by the owner or authorized agent of the owner and when necessary may deliver the animal to another person or facility to be sheltered, cared for, and furnished suitable food and drink.

3. If the owner or the owner's agent is known, the individual must be immediately notified. If the owner or the
owner's agent is unknown, notice must be given by publication in the manner prescribed by law. The notice must inform the
owner or the owner's agent that the animal may be sold, or otherwise disposed of, pursuant to court order if the animal
is not redeemed within five days from the date of the notice.

4. The sheriff, police officer, licensed veterinarian, investigator, or whoever has custody of the animal has a lien on the animal and that lien is superior to any other claim or lien, for the animal's care and keeping, the reasonable value of the food and drink furnished, and the expenses of notifying the owner. If the lien is not discharged and satisfied by the owner or the owner's agent within five days after receipt of the notice, the person holding the claim may apply to the district court for
an order to sell the animal and discharge the lien.

5. Upon order of the court, the animal may be sold at a public market to pay the charges for its keeping, and the title to the animal passes by the sale.

6. The court may award costs and reasonable attorney's fees to the person bringing the action to enforce the lien, arrange for the adoption of the animal, or arrange for the destruction and disposal of the animal if no market exists for the animal or if the animal is a companion animal.

7. If the animal is sold, the lienholder is entitled to the proceeds of the sale to the extent of the lien and the remainder, if any, must be paid over to the owner or the owner's agent, if known. If the owner or the owner's agent is not known, the remainder must be deposited in the county general fund. If no purchaser is found, the animal, at the discretion of the commissioner, may be offered for adoption or disposed of consistent with the law.

8. Before the animal is returned to its owner, the court shall determine whether the owner or the owner's agent can provide adequate care for the animal. The court has ten days within which to make this determination. The owner shall pay the cost of taking the animal into custody before the animal is released to the owner or the owner's agent.


36-21.1-11 Penalty.

Any person knowingly and willfully violating any rule adopted by the board or violating any provision of this chapter for which a specific penalty is not provided is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.


36-21.1-12 Duties of board and commissioner.

The board shall adopt rules to effectuate this chapter. The board by rule may restrict the importation into the state, and restrict the sale or other distribution within the state, of all domestic animals or animals wild by nature which the board may have reason to believe may be a threat to the health and well-being of the human or animal population of the state, or both, unless the importation or sale is for bona fide scientific or educational purposes. The board shall establish reasonable qualifications for approved investigators and the commissioner shall maintain a current listing of all approved investigators. Employees of the commissioner may be assigned as investigators. The commissioner may by injunctive procedure without bond or other undertaking proceed against any person or persons for a continuous violation of any provision of this chapter. No liability may accrue to the board, the commissioner, or any authorized representative in proceeding against any person or persons pursuant to this section.

36-21.1.1-[unnumbered] Abandoned animals--Assumption of custody.
1. Any sheriff, police officer, licensed veterinarian, or investigator may take custody of and care for any animal found abandoned. The individual taking custody shall take reasonable steps to determine the ownership of the abandoned animal.

2. A sheriff, police officer, licensed veterinarian, or investigator may care for the animal until the animal is redeemed by the owner or the owner's agent or may deliver the animal to another person or facility to be sheltered, cared for, and furnished suitable food and drink.

3. Notice must be given by publication in the official newspaper of the jurisdiction. The notice must provide that the animal may be sold, placed for adoption, or otherwise disposed of if the animal is not redeemed within five days from the date of the notice.

4. The person having custody of the animal has a lien on the animal for the animal's care and keeping, the reasonable value of the food and drink furnished, and the expenses of notifying the owner or the owner's agent. The lien is superior to any other claim or lien. If the lien is not discharged and satisfied by the owner or the owner's agent within five days after
publication of the notice, the person holding the claim may sell the animal and discharge the lien.

5. The court may award reasonable attorney's fees to the person bringing the action to enforce the lien and may award costs, which include the costs of arranging for the adoption of the animal or the costs of the destruction and disposal of the animal.

6. If the animal is sold, the lienholder is entitled to the proceeds of the sale to the extent of the lien and the remainder, if any, must be deposited in the county general fund.

36-21.1 [unnumbered] Assumption of custody--Immunity from liability.
Any sheriff, police officer, licensed veterinarian, investigator, or person who has custody of an animal under this chapter and who is acting in an official or professional capacity and making a good-faith effort to comply with this chapter is immune from any civil or criminal liability for acts taken or omitted while attempting to comply with this chapter.


36-21.1 [unnumbered] Applicability of chapter.
This chapter does not apply to estrays covered
under chapter 36-22.


Amended in 1999, 2001.
Reviewed by AAHS in September 2001.


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