There was a bill just signed in NM that would make violators; animal abusers, hoarders, etc., responsible for the costs incurred for their animal while they are under state care and their case is ongoing.  To be honest I am surprised that all states do not have some form of this.  Why should taxpayers have to foot the bill for the care and upkeep of seized animals from animal abusers?  These costs often run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars!

In the case of NM, once animals are seized and a case in underway, if a judge authorized it, the violator will be responsible for the costs of care for the seized animals.  If they are unable or unwilling to do so, the state will take custody of them and the animals can be adopted, fostered or sadly, in some cases, euthanized.

As it is now and as it is in many states, the taxpayer foots the bill for all care; food, housing, medical costs, from the time the animals are seized until the case is resolved, often months or more.  In overcrowded shelter situations, space that could and should be used for other animals is not available which mean the euthanasia rates just skyrocket.

Also, some cases are not even prosecuted because officials know that they cannot afford the care for animals during the time they would need care for.  Some abusers and hoarder just walk because of financial constraints.  When it comes to the law, this should not even be a consideration, ever!

[S]some law enforcement agencies won’t prosecute cruelty and hoarding cases because they know they can’t afford the expense of paying for the animals’ care.

“It affects us greatly down here because of the number of animals we seize,” he said.

Animals involved in ongoing hoarding and abuse investigations or trials are considered both personal property of the defendant and evidence — which is why they must be kept on hand until the accused owner is either acquitted or convicted, or until the person willingly relinquishes ownership of the animals.

In cases which the owner doesn’t turn over control of the pets, food, care and vet bill expenses rack up.

“I really felt it was a hardship on the animal shelter and a hardship on the county and the taxpayers,” she [Marlyn Zahler, a volunteer animal control officer] said. “All of us end up paying for it as taxpayers.”

Also, Zahler said, the fact owners will have to pay the expense of their animals care “will make them think twice about not giving up their animals.”

“Hopefully if they give up the animals, the shelter, the county and the district attorney can decide whether they can be fostered, adopted or euthanized.” (Las Cruces News)

Just think of puppy mill seizures, the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars that it costs to care for the sometimes hundreds of dogs that are rescued from horrific condition. Just the cost of the immediate medical care so many of them need is unbelievable. If all states passed legislation like this, seized animals would not sit and sit and wait. If the owners couldn’t pay for their care, the state wouldn’t have to wait for them to officially surrender them, the state would take custody and the animals could have a second chance much sooner.

This is a great move and I would like to see it much more widespread. I am tired of the animals always paying the price and then us footing the bill! Personally I think in the case of puppy millers and such who are making bucks off the backs of these abused and neglected dogs, they should have to foot the bill for all the care to get the dogs to the point where they can be adopted, even if property needs to be sold off to pay. After all, they’ve been raking in the buck, shouldn’t they have to pay up?

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