*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.