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Asker
Posted over 1 year ago.

Thanks for the time you took to give a comprehensive answer.
However, my problem is not that they initially impounded the dog. I understand that they had right to do so. My problem begins after I went to the shelter to retrieve the dog, was acknowledged as dog's owner, but did not have money to pay for their fees. They refused to come up with payment plan (as opposed to this particular CITY animal shelter, county animal shelter has provision for payment plan). They did not call me to inform me that dog was with them, and demanded $700, or they will keep the dog. They told me that they will either put him to sleep or put him for adoption if I do not pay immediately. They kept him for additional 10 days and in that time period they neutered him without my approval. The way I see it, they did not have right, or court order to keep my property after I was identified as dog's owner. I was able to get my dog back after I contacted some local politicians, but by that time damage was already done.

Talitha Davies Wegner
Talitha Davies Wegner, Child Custody Lawyer - Los Angeles, CA
Posted over 1 year ago.

I am glad your local politicians helped. Unfortunately, even after animal control knew the dog was yours, they still had a right to detain your dog until you paid the fees. It is sad that they did not use a little discretion under the circumstances (your disability). Regarding the neuter, animal control is fighting a tide of unwanted dogs - and have to put hundreds of perfectly healthy good dogs to sleep every day. If you are not a breeder, it is best your animal is neutered as it avoids behavioral and health issues later. If you are a breeder, then you should have had no problem paying the fine.

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Asker
Posted over 1 year ago.

Thanks for your quick responses!

So far they were not able to provide me with the law that allows them to take possession of my property. If they had issue with payment, they should have taken me to court to enforce payment. They can not take law and execution into their own hands. Constitution guarantees that.

Have a wonderful Sunday evening. :)

Talitha Davies Wegner
Talitha Davies Wegner, Child Custody Lawyer - Los Angeles, CA
Posted over 1 year ago.

Here is the CA authority under which AD had the right to impound your dog. You mentioned your dog escaped - which means it was off your property and off leash - "at large". Food and Agricultural Code (Formerly Agricultural Code). Division 14. Regulation and Licensing of Dogs. Chapter 5. Killing and Seizure. Article 1. Generally. ยง 31101. Seizure and impounding. Any dog which is found running at large without the identification tag or dog license tag which is required pursuant to Section 30951 may be seized and impounded by any peace officer.

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Asker
Posted over 1 year ago.

That is great info. Thanks!

What I found is this:
Code 31108: (c) During the holding period required by this section and prior to the adoption or euthanasia of a dog impounded pursuant to this division, a public or private shelter shall scan the dog for a microchip that identifies the owner of that dog and shall make reasonable efforts to contact the owner and notify him or her that his or her dog is impounded and is available for redemption. - THEY DID NOT INFORM ME.

Code 31254. The refusal or failure of the owner of any such dog to pay the fee and charges after due notification shall be held to be an abandonment of the dog by the owner. - THIS IS WHERE CONSTITUTION AND THIS LAW COLLIDE.

AMENDMENT IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

AMENDMENT V
No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Current prevailing definition of "public use" is "public purpose or benefit." [Thomas W. Merrill, The Goods, the Bads, and the Ugly, Legal Affairs, Feb 2005, at 16.] The whole Food and Agricultural code is geared towards "public benefit", therefore they fit the bill of "public use".

See, I did not abandon my dog, nor refuse to pay. I was not able to pay their asking fee in one lump sum. My inability to pay was caused by the fact that I live on welfare ($516 per month and food stamps). Code 31254 is violating constitutional rights of the whole class of people with limited income and disability.

I thank you for this exchange of opinions. I learned a lot! Good night to you! :)