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Alabama

Code of Alabama. Title 3. Animals. Chapter 1. General Provisions. 3-1-29. Activities relating to fighting of dogs prohibited; violations; confiscation; procedures for disposition of animals; bond for the care of seized dog; forfeiture.

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: AL ST 3-1-29

Citation: Ala. Code 1975 3-1-29


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 10/2013

Summary:  

This Alabama statute constitutes the state's dogfighting law.  Under the law, it is a class C felony for any person to own, possess, keep or train any dog with the intent that such dog shall be engaged in an exhibition of fighting with another dog; for amusement or gain, to cause any dog to fight with another dog, or cause any dogs to injure each other; or to permit any of the above acts.  The law also makes it a class C felony to knowingly be present or be a spectator at dogfights.



Statute in Full:


(a) It shall be a Class C felony for any person to do any of the following:

(1) To own, possess, keep, or train any dog with the intent that such dog shall be engaged in an exhibition of fighting with another dog.

(2) For amusement or gain, to cause any dog to fight with another dog, or cause any dogs to injure each other.

(3) To permit any act in violation of subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection.

(b) It shall be a Class C felony for any person to be knowingly present, as a spectator, at any place, building, or tenement where preparations are being made for an exhibition of the fighting of dogs, with the intent to be present at such preparations, or to be knowingly present at such exhibition or to knowingly aid or abet another in such exhibition.

(c) Any dog used to fight other dogs in violation of subsection (a) of this section, shall be confiscated as contraband by the sheriff or other law enforcement officers and shall not be returned to the owner, trainer, or possessor of the dog. The court shall award the animals to the humane society or other agency handling stray animals. At its discretion, the humane society or other agency handling stray animals shall humanely dispatch or dispose of any confiscated dog.

(d) Any dog confiscated pursuant to subsection (c) by the sheriff or other law enforcement officers shall be taken to the local humane society or other animal welfare agency.

(e) An appointed veterinarian or officer of the humane society or other animal welfare agency may upon delivery or at any time thereafter destroy the animal that is in his or her opinion injured, diseased past recovery, or whose continued existence is inhumane and destruction is necessary to relieve pain or suffering.

(f) After confiscation the humane society or other animal welfare agency may make application to the circuit court for a hearing to determine whether any animal seized pursuant to subsection (c) shall be humanely destroyed due to disease, injury or lack of any useful purpose because of training or viciousness. The court shall set a hearing date not more than 30 days from the filing of the application and shall give notice of the same to the owners of the animals. Upon a finding by the court that the seized animals are diseased, injured, or lack any useful purpose due to training or viciousness, it shall be within the authority of the humane society or other animal welfare agency to humanely destroy such animal. Any animal found by the court not to be diseased, injured, or lacking any useful purpose due to training or viciousness shall be delivered to a court-approved private veterinarian or a private housing facility under the supervision of a veterinarian. Expenses incurred in connection with the housing, care, or upkeep of the dogs by any person, firm, partnership, corporation, or other entity shall be taxed against the owner.

(g) After confiscation, any entity holding a dog confiscated pursuant to this section may make application to the circuit court for issuance of an order requiring the owner or keeper of the dog to post a bond or deposit funds with the clerk of the court to cover the reasonable costs of the seizure, care, keeping, and the possible disposal of the dog. Reasonable costs shall include, but not be limited to, transportation, food, shelter, and care, including veterinary care. The bond or deposited funds shall be ordered posted in 30-day increments until such time as the case that was the cause of the dog being confiscated is resolved. The court shall set a hearing date no more than 10 days from filing of the application and shall give notice of the same to the owner or keeper of the dog.

(1) If, within 72 hours of the conclusion of the hearing, the owner or keeper fails to post the bond or deposit funds with the clerk of the court as ordered by the court, then the dog shall be forfeited by operation of law.

(2) If the owner or keeper presents sufficient evidence for the judge presiding over the hearing to determine that the owner or keeper is indigent, the owner or keeper may be relieved of the requirement to post a bond or deposit funds with the clerk of the court and may be relieved of the forfeiture provision under subdivision (1).

(3) The owner or keeper may choose at any time to surrender the dog to the local animal shelter or other animal housing facility holding the dog. The surrender shall not be considered a presumption of guilt.

(4) At the end of the time for which expenses are covered by the bond or deposit of funds, if the owner or keeper fails to post a new bond or deposit new funds with the clerk of the court, which must be received before the expiration date of the previous bond or deposit of funds, then the dog shall be forfeited by operation of law. The court may correct, alter, or otherwise adjust the bond or funds to be deposited upon a motion made before the expiration date of the previous bond or deposit of funds. No person may file more than one motion seeking an adjustment to the bond or funds to be deposited for each six-month period for which the dog is held under this section.

(5) The entity holding the dog confiscated pursuant to this section shall be entitled to draw on any bond posted or funds deposited to cover the actual costs incurred in the seizure, care, keeping, and the possible disposal of the dog.

(6) Upon resolution of any criminal charges brought against the owner or keeper of the dog confiscated pursuant to this section, the owner or keeper shall be refunded the amount remaining on any bond posted or funds deposited in accordance with this section not expended for the seizure, care, keeping, or disposal of the dog.

(h) If any dog owner is convicted under subsection (a) or (b), the animal or animals shall be awarded to the local humane society or other animal welfare agency.

(i) At any time, if a dog is confiscated pursuant to this section, the state or entity holding the dog may file a petition with the circuit court seeking civil forfeiture of the seized dog.

(1) As part of this petition, the state or entity holding the dog may seek an extension of any bond ordered by the judge under subsection (g), pending resolution of the civil forfeiture petition filed pursuant to this subsection. The bond extension shall be considered in accordance with the procedures set forth in subsection (g). Upon resolution of a civil forfeiture petition filed under this subsection, the owner or keeper shall be refunded the amount remaining on any bond posted or funds deposited in accordance with this subsection not expended for the seizure, care, keeping, or disposal of the dog.

(2) The court shall set a hearing date no more than 20 days from the filing of the petition for civil forfeiture and shall give notice of the hearing to the owner or keeper of the dog.

(3) If the state meets its burden at the forfeiture hearing, the judge shall order the owner or keeper to forfeit ownership of the dog.

(4) If the state fails to meet its burden at this forfeiture hearing, the judge shall order the dog immediately returned to the owner or keeper.

CREDIT(S)

(Acts 1982, No. 82-461, p. 739; Acts 1984, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 84-796, p. 206; Act 2011-542, § 1.)



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