Now codified in several sections of the Civil, Food and Agricultural and Penal Codes, the Hayden Act expanded the minimum allowed impound time for sheltered animals to 4-6 days. It amended Sections 1815, 1816, 1834, 1845, 1846, 1847, and 2080 of, and to add Section 1834.4 to, the Civil Code, to amend Sections 31108, 31752, and 32001 of, to add Sections 17005, 17006, 31752.5, 31753, and 32003 to, and to add, repeal, and add Section 31754 of, the Food and Agricultural Code, and to amend Section 597.1 of, and to add Section 599d to, the Penal Code, relating to stray animals. The bill set forth the findings of the Legislature with respect to animal shelters, humane organizations, lost or stray animals, and neuter programs, declare the policy of the state with respect to adoptable and treatable animals, as specified, and set forth the intent of the bill.
Provisions of the Bill
The bill provides that (a) a person or public or private entity that holds a stray, live animal shall be deemed an involuntary depositary; and (b) all depositories of live animals have a duty to provide them with necessary and prompt veterinary care, nutrition, and shelter, and to treat them humanely and failure to do so may subject the depositary to liability for civil damages; (2) authorize involuntary depositories of live animals to accept rewards, as specified; and (3) require a public depositary of a stray live animal to take charge of it, as specified.
Remedies Under the Hayden Act
The remedies under the Hayden Act are sought through a Petition for Writ of Mandate in California superior courts. The Hayden Act allows for declaratory and injunctive relief, and theoretically would also allow for attorneys fees to be recovered under Code.Civ.Proc. A?1021.5 as affecting the public interest at large.
Lock v. County of Kern
The first lawsuit filed under the Hayden Act was in 2004, filed by Patricia Lock, who was represented by California attorney and animal rights expert, Kate Neiswender, who is known as an Animal Rights Activist and an expert on the and Hayden Act. Neiswender filed a petition sought injunctive relief an injunction prohibiting Kern County, California from euthanizing companion animals prior to the expiration of the 72 hour holding period and engaging in other prohibited conduct, and was resolved by settlement to the satisfaction of all parties.
Conaway v. County of San Bernardino
In 2007, Petitioner Jackie Conaway, represented by California attorney, and Animal Rights and Hayden Act expert, Okorie Okorocha, filed a similar action against San Bernardino County, California. The lawsuit later resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.
McLellan v. County of San Bernardino
A significant effort at civil enforcement of the Hayden Act has been litigated by California attorney Okorie Okorocha. also an expert with the law. In 2007, Rich McLellan, M.D., the President of the California Chapter of the League of Humane Voters was represented by attorney Okorocha in a petition filed in Mendocino County, California, McLellan v. County of Mendocino, with the goal to abrogate a statute enacted by the County, known as "Sec. 10.24.010 Voluntary Surrender of Animal for Euthanasia: Not Impoundment" This municipal ordinance had language contradicting the Hayden Act, and allowed for the unlawful euthanization of companion animals. The ordinance was successfully declared invalid by the Mendocino County, California Court. The Mendocino County, Later, the Mendocino County Council repealed the statute before trial commenced.
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