What To Do If Animal Control Knocks on Your Door

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Renee750il, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    *courtesy Gamedog :)

    WHAT TO DO WHEN ANIMAL CONTROL COMES KNOCKING

    by George J. Eigenhauser Jr.

    (he is an attorney at law licensed in the State of California since 1979

    and practices in the areas of civil litigation and estate planning)

    ANTI-DOG ENFORCEMENT - What Every Dog Owner Needs to Know


    Dog owners and ethical breeders are increasingly being targeted. Disgruntled neighbors may retaliate against dog owners and may other reasons drive complaints, and anti-dog enforcement action, which many times may be conducted illegally.


    The following text outlines methods of inquiry and enforcement which may be used by local officials in attempts to enforce ordinances in your community and suggested techniques of response. These techniques are entirely legal and based upon the rights of citizens as stated by the U.S. Constitution.


    No breeder wants to have Animal Control come knocking on the door...but if they do, it will help if you know what your options are.


    Remember, Animal Control is law enforcement. They are bound by the same Constitution as any other government agency. To protect yourself, you need to know your rights. These vary slightly one jurisdiction to another, but some general principles apply. One rule applies everywhere: never physically resist an officer.


    When Animal Control is At Your Door:


    1. Do not let them in, no matter how much they ask. Animal Control generally cannot enter your home without a warrant, or your permission. While regular police can enter in emergency situations when human life is at risk (i.e. they hear gunshots and a scream inside), there are few, if any, situationsin which Animal Control can enter your home without a warrant. Simply tell them they may not comein.


    2. If you let them in, anything they find in "plain sight" can be used against you. In some circumstances Animal Control officers, unable to find a legitimate reason to make an arrest, have reported building orzoning violations. This may include caging you attached to a wall without a building permit, that extraoutlet in the puppy room, having more pets than allowed by zoning, even extension cords in violationof fire codes! No matter how clean your kennel, if they want to find a violation, they will.


    3. Do not talk to them from an open doorway. Step outside an close (and lock if possible) the door behind you. This is necessary because:


    A) Anything they see through the open door is "plain sight" and may be the basis for an arrest, or probable cause for a search warrant.


    B) If they make an arrest or even feel threatened they are usually permitted to search for weaponsin your immediate area. Do you keep a baseball bat inside the door for your protection? Even ifyou don't, once they step inside to look, they are in your home and may continue to search.


    C) It is hard not to be intimidated by someone in authority. Some animal control is even done bylocal police, who carry guns. It is easy for them to get "in your face", causing you to back upinto the home. Once you go in, it will be interpreted as an invitation to follow.


    4. If they claim to have a warrant, demand to see it. In general, a search warrant must be signed by ajudge. A warrant to search your home for dogs does not include an inventory of your jewelry box. Awarrant to search your kennel in the garage or in the barn does not include a search of your home.
     
  2. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    5. In some locations dog owners may have obtained special "breeder permits" that stipulate that AnimalControl has your permission to enter at any time. If you have signed such a permit they still cannotenter against your wishes, since you can revoke the permission at any time. However, if you refusepermission it may allow them to cancel your breeder permit, so you have to weigh the consequences.

    6. Warning - anyone in lawful possession of the premises may be able to give permission for a search.Make sure your roommate, babysitter, dog-sitter, housekeeper and other know that they should notlet animal control into your home or on your property (i.e. backyard, garage, etc.).

    How to Handle Questions:
    1. Don’t answer any questions beyond identifying yourself for the officer. Anything you say to theofficer in your defense cannot be used in court (hearsay). Anything you say that is harmful toyou will be used in court (confessions are not considered hearsay). You cannot win, except by remaining silent.


    2. Be polite but firm. Do not argue, bad-mouth, curse, threaten or try to intimidate the officer.


    3. Do not lie to an officer, ever. However, it is NOT a lie to exercise your right to remain silent.


    4. Keep your hands in plain sight. People have been shot by police when common objects, such as a wallet, were mistaken for a gun.


    5. Do not touch the officer in any way. Do not physically resist an officer, no matter how unlawful his or her actions.


    6. Don't try to tell your side of the story, it cannot help.


    7. Do not threaten the officer that you plan to file a complaint for their actions.


    8. If the questioning persists, demand to speak to a lawyer first. Repeat as necessary.


    Gathering the Facts:


    1. Get the name and badge number of each officer involved. If he/she does not volunteer this information, ask.


    2. Ask the name of the agency they represent. Different agencies have different enforcementresponsibilities.


    3. Ask why they are there. Request the factual basis of the complaint and the identity of the complainant.


    4. If they have other people with them (Humane Society, press, etc.) get the names and organizations for all present.


    5. Note the names (and addresses) of any witnesses to the encounter.


    6. If you are physically injured by an officer, you should take photographs of the injuries immediately, but do not forego proper medical treatment first.


    7. Write down all of the information, as well as the date and time of the incident immediately, while details are fresh in your mind.


    8. If you rights are violated, file a complaint with the appropriate body.
     
  3. Bahamutt99

    Bahamutt99 Dafuq?

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    Mahahaha! This is the post that got me banned from the Petfinder forum the first time. It's hot, scary information, folks! Soak it up.
     
  4. noodlerubyallie

    noodlerubyallie Sprayin' the spiders

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    Thank you, Renee. Everyone should know their rights as a dog owner.
     
  5. Thank you, Renee. Good stuff.
     
  6. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Well, you know I always go with hot and scary :rofl1:
     
  7. ACooper

    ACooper Moderator

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    Wow, something to think about! I would've probably invited them right in thinking I have nothing to hide.
     
  8. vanillasugar

    vanillasugar just call me Nilly

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    Ugh, animal control here is crazy. I'd NEVER let them into my home.
     
  9. skittledoo

    skittledoo Crazy naked dog lady

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    Thank you so much for that information. I'm so printing this out.
     
  10. borzoimom

    borzoimom Couch Pototoe City

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    Thank you for sharing this information Renee. I would have thought just let them in.. ( ie come see for yourself.. lol. ) But seeing this, knowing we have firearms around the house.. uh that would not a good idea.. lol
     
  11. Gamedogs

    Gamedogs Member

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    Thank's for sharing this Renee... all owner's need's this info ;)
     
  12. animalcraker

    animalcraker Member

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    How do you stay slilent when they are asking questions? Do you say "I'm choosing to remain silent" or "I don't wish to answer any questions" or do you just stand there sliently until they get annoyed that you haven't responed.

    I can see the whole scenario in my head with the ACO's knocking on the door. You go outside, lock your door, and ask them who they are and what the want. Usually you'll use the line of "how can I help you officer", even though you could care less about helping them and just wished they would go away. And I can visualize the whole "can we come inside", "no", "why can't we come inside?", "you'll need a warrent" scenario.

    But how exactly would you stay slient to any questions being asked??
     
  13. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    The answer to all questions is "I'll talk to you in the presence of my attorney." Once you've expressed your desire to have an attorney present they are supposed to stop asking. They'll push it, of course, but hold your ground and remind them that you've stated you won't be talking to them without an attorney.

    If they push it, then you KNOW you need to shut up and get that attorney!
     
  14. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

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    My husband who is trained in law enforcements says to just keep repeating....

    "nows not a good time" over and over... If they keep talking you can say "I think its time for you to leave" and then shut the door...

    he says any mention of search warrants, lawyers or your rights will just make you look more suspicious.

    You obviously CAN say those things but it just makes you look guilty....
     
  15. blackmaskrott

    blackmaskrott New Member

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    another circumstance where a small hand held video camera could come in handy

    Not only getting names and organizations, but showing exactly what was said by all parties including you requesting the presence of an attorney. You don't want it to be a case of your word against theirs'. Unfortunately they don't have to do much to prove their point, but you will have to do a lot to prove your innocence
     
  16. TheGoldenRetriever

    TheGoldenRetriever New Member

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    ^^^ Exactly what my father would have advised (R.I.P., Daddy). He was a retired judge.

    He would have advised to avoid any mention yourself of warrants, attorneys, or your rights. You already know your rights and so do they when they knock on your door. One of your rights is that you are not compelled to make ANY comments while not under oath .... and it is safer to NOT be confrontational at the door, no matter what your feelings may be at the time.

    Forget your "feelings" for that moment ... because if you say the wrong thing you can guarantee it will be used against you later. Just keep calmly repeating that's it's not a good time right now ... as if you were a tape recorder on loop. He would have advised to "play dumb" and save any talk of rights, warrrants, and attorneys until AFTER you have already consulted with an attorney.
     
  17. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Make no mistake, if they are there, it's 99% certain they've already decided you are at least under suspicion, if not downright guilty, unless they want to question you about someone else, and even then it's no guarantee you aren't under scrutiny. Less said the better, at least until you've got professional counsel to guide you through and keep 'em as honest as possible.
     
  18. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    And you really don't want to throw someone else under a bus undeservedly. If you knew something and felt it deserved AC intervention, you would have called them.

    Don't forget your handy dandy public servant questionnaire
     
  19. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

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    Are. You. Serious. :rofl1::rofl1:

    Ditto this. And thanks for FWing it to Renee, Gamedog!
     
  20. Bahamutt99

    Bahamutt99 Dafuq?

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    As. A. Heart. Attack. :popcorn:
     

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