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Delaware

WEST'S DELAWARE CODE ANNOTATED. TITLE 11. CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE. PART I. DELAWARE CRIMINAL CODE. CHAPTER 5. SPECIFIC OFFENSES. SUBCHAPTER VII. OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC HEALTH, ORDER AND DECENCY. SUBPART A. RIOT, DISORDERLY CONDUCT AND RELATED OFFENSES. TITLE 3. AGRICULTURE. PART VI. DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN ANIMALS, BIRDS, REPTILES AND INSECTS. CHAPTER 79. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS CONCERNING ANIMALS.

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: DE ST TI 11 1325 - 1327; DE ST TI 3 7901 - 8007; DE ST TI 11 775 (formerly DE ST TI 11 777)

Citation: 11 Del.C. 1325 - 1327; 3 Del.C. 7901 - 8007; 11 Del.C. 775 (formerly 11 Del.C. 777)


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 11/2013

Summary:   These Delaware sections comprise the state's anti-cruelty and animal fighting provisions.  Delaware's anti-cruelty section provides that cruelty to animals is when a person intentionally or recklessly subjects any animal (excluding fish, crustacea or molluska) to cruel mistreatment, cruel neglect, or kills or injures any animal belonging to another person.  This section does not apply to the killing of any animal normally or commonly raised as food for human consumption, provided that such killing is not cruel.  Cruelty to animals is a class A misdemeanor unless the animal is killed or seriously injured is taken from its owner by false pretenses (described in (5)), in which case it is a class F felony.  Any person convicted of a felony violation of this section shall be prohibited from owning or possessing any animal for 15 years after said conviction, except for animals raised for product sale.  Actively engaging in animal fighting activities is a class F felony while being a spectator at a fight is a class A misdemeanor.


Statute in Full:

TITLE 11. CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE. PART I. DELAWARE CRIMINAL CODE. CHAPTER 5. SPECIFIC OFFENSES. SUBCHAPTER VII. OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC HEALTH, ORDER AND DECENCY. SUBPART A. RIOT, DISORDERLY CONDUCT AND RELATED OFFENSES.

§ 1325 Cruelty to animals; class A misdemeanor; class F felony.

§ 1325A The unlawful trade in dog or cat by-products; class B misdemeanor; class A misdemeanor, penalties.

§ 1326 Animals; fighting and baiting prohibited; class F felony.

§ 1327. Maintaining a dangerous animal; class E felony; class F felony; class A misdemeanor

SUBCHAPTER II. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PERSON. SUBPART D. SEXUAL OFFENSES.

§ 775. Bestiality (formerly § 777)

TITLE 3. AGRICULTURE. PART VI. DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN ANIMALS, BIRDS, REPTILES AND INSECTS. CHAPTER 79. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS CONCERNING ANIMALS.

§ 7901 Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

§ 7902 Enforcement of laws for protection of animals.

§ 7903 Fines and penalties in certain cases; disposition.

§ 7904 Service of process.

§ 7905 Impoundment.

§ 7906. Redesignated as 3 Del.C. § 7903 by 70 Laws 1995, ch. 283, § 11, eff. July 27, 1995

§ 7907. Redesignated as 3 Del.C. § 7904 by 70 Laws 1995, ch. 283, § 11, eff. July 27, 1995

TITLE 3. AGRICULTURE. PART VI. DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN ANIMALS, BIRDS, REPTILES AND INSECTS. CHAPTER 80. HUMANE KILLING OF ANIMALS HELD IN SHELTER.

§ 8001. Definitions

§ 8002. Shelter care and treatment

§ 8003. Animal adoption, recovery, and rehabilitation

§ 8004. Euthanasia in animal shelters

§ 8005. Proper facilities required

§ 8006. Violation constitutes class A misdemeanor; civil remedy; jurisdiction of Superior Court

§ 8007. Record keeping and reporting

 

 

CHAPTER 5. SPECIFIC OFFENSES. SUBCHAPTER VII. OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC HEALTH, ORDER AND DECENCY. SUBPART A. RIOT, DISORDERLY CONDUCT AND RELATED OFFENSES.

§ 1325 Cruelty to animals; class A misdemeanor; class F felony.

(a) For the purpose of this section, the following words and phrases shall include, but not be limited to, the meanings respectively ascribed to them as follows:

(1) “Abandonment” includes completely forsaking or deserting an animal originally under one's custody without making reasonable arrangements for custody of that animal to be assumed by another person.

(2) “Animal” shall not include fish, crustacea or molluska.

(3) “Cruel” includes every act or omission to act whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering is caused or permitted.

(4) “Cruel mistreatment” includes any treatment whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering is caused or permitted.

(5) “Cruel neglect” includes neglect of an animal, which is under the care and control of the neglector, whereby pain or suffering is caused to the animal or abandonment of any domesticated animal by its owner or custodian. By way of example, cruel neglect shall also include allowing an animal to live in unsanitary conditions, such as keeping an animal where the animal's own excrement is not removed from the animal's living area and/or other living conditions which are injurious to the animal's health.

(6) “Cruelty to animals” includes mistreatment of any animal or neglect of any animal under the care and control of the neglector, whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering is caused. By way of example this includes: Unjustifiable beating of an animal; overworking an animal; tormenting an animal; abandonment of an animal; tethering of dog for 18 hours or more in any 24 hour period, except on land owned or leased by the dog's owner that is not less than ten acres; tethering any dog for any amount of time if the dog is under four months of age or is a nursing mother while the offspring are present, except on land owned or leased by the dog's owner that is not less than ten acres; and failure to feed properly or give proper shelter or veterinary care to an animal.

(7) “Custody” includes the responsibility for the welfare of an animal subject to one's care and control whether one owns it or not.

(8) “Person” includes any individual, partnership, corporation or association living and/or doing business in the State.

(9) “Proper feed” includes providing each animal with daily food and water of sufficient quality and quantity to prevent unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering by the animal.

(10) “Proper shelter” includes providing each animal with adequate shelter from the weather elements as required to prevent unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering by the animal.

(11) “Proper veterinary care” includes providing each animal with veterinary care sufficient to prevent unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering by the animal.

(12) “Serious injury” shall include any injury to any animal which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes prolonged impairment of health or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.

(13) “Tethering” shall include fastening or restraining with a rope, chain, cord, or similar device creating a fixed radius; tethering does not include walking a dog on a leash, regardless of the dog's age.

(b) A person is guilty of cruelty to animals when the person intentionally or recklessly:

(1) Subjects any animal to cruel mistreatment; or

(2) Subjects any animal in the person's custody to cruel neglect; or

(3) Kills or injures any animal belonging to another person without legal privilege or consent of the owner; or

(4) Cruelly or unnecessarily kills or injures any animal whether belonging to the actor or another. This section does not apply to the killing of any animal normally or commonly raised as food for human consumption, provided that such killing is not cruel. A person acts unnecessarily if the act is not required to terminate an animal's suffering, to protect the life or property of the actor or another person or if other means of disposing of an animal exist which would not impair the health or well-being of that animal; or

(5) Captures, detains, transports, removes or delivers any animal known to be a domestic farm animal, pet or companion animal, or any other animal of scientific, environmental, economic or cultural value, under false pretenses to any public or private animal shelter, veterinary clinic or other facility, or otherwise causes the same through acts of deception or misrepresentation of the circumstances and disposition of any such animal.

Paragraphs (1), (2) and (4) of this subsection are inapplicable to accepted veterinary practices and activities carried on for scientific research.

Cruelty to animals is a class A misdemeanor, unless the person intentionally kills or causes serious injury to any animal in violation of paragraph (4) of this subsection or unless the animal is killed or seriously injured as a result of any action prohibited by paragraph (5) of this section, in which case it is a class F felony.

(c) Any person convicted of a misdemeanor violation of this section shall be prohibited from owning or possessing any animal for 5 years after said conviction, except for animals grown, raised or produced within the State for resale, or for sale of a product thereof, where the person has all necessary licenses for such sale or resale, and receives at least 25 percent of the person's annual gross income from such sale or resale. Any person convicted of a second or subsequent misdemeanor violation of this section shall be prohibited from owning or possessing any animal for 5 years after said conviction without exception.

A violation of this subsection is subject to a fine in the amount of $1,000 in any court of competent jurisdiction and to forfeiture of any animal illegally owned in accordance with the provisions of 3 Del.C. § 7904.

(d) Any person convicted of a felony violation of this section shall be prohibited from owning or possessing any animal for 15 years after said conviction, except for animals grown, raised or produced within the State for resale, or for sale of a product thereof, where the person has all necessary licenses for such sale or resale, and receives at least 25 percent of the person's annual gross income from such sale or resale. Any person convicted of a second or subsequent felony violation of this section shall be prohibited from owning or possessing any animal for 15 years after said conviction without exception.

A violation of this subsection is subject to a fine in the amount of $5,000 in any court of competent jurisdiction and to forfeiture of any animal illegally owned in accordance with the provisions of 3 Del.C. § 7904.

(e) Any agent of the Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or, in Kent County of this State, of the Kent County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, may impound an animal owned or possessed in apparent violation of this section, consistent with 3 Del.C. § 7904.

(f) This section shall not apply to the lawful hunting or trapping of animals as provided by law.

(g) Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, for a first offense misdemeanor violation of this section relating solely to the tethering of dogs, a warning shall be issued.

(h) Exclusive jurisdiction of offenses under this section relating to the tethering of dogs shall be in the Superior Court.


Credits

58 Laws 1972, ch. 497, § 1; 62 Laws 1979, ch. 71, §§ 1, 2; 63 Laws 1982, ch. 260, § 1; 64 Laws 1983, ch. 196, §§ 1-3; 67 Laws 1989, ch. 130, § 8; 69 Laws 1994, ch. 280, §§ 1, 2; 70 Laws 1995, ch. 60, § 1, eff. June 12, 1995; 70 Laws 1995, ch. 186, § 1, eff. July 19, 1995; 72 Laws 1999, ch. 75, § 1, eff. June 28, 1999; 73 Laws 2001, ch. 182, §§ 1, 2, eff. July 12, 2001; 73 Laws 2002, ch. 238, §§ 1, 2, eff. March 27, 2002; 78 Laws 2012, ch. 390, §§ 1, 2, eff. Aug. 3, 2012.

 

§ 1325A The unlawful trade in dog or cat by-products; class B misdemeanor; class A misdemeanor, penalties.

(a)(1) A person is guilty of the unlawful trade in dog or cat by-products in the 2nd degree if the person knowingly or recklessly sells, barters or offers for sale or barter, the fur or hair of a domestic dog or cat or any product made in whole or in part from the fur or hair of a domestic dog or cat.

(2) This subsection shall not apply to the sale or barter, or offering for sale or barter, of the fur or hair of a domestic dog or cat which has been cut at a commercial grooming establishment, or at a veterinary office or clinic, or for scientific research purposes.

(3) The unlawful trade in dog or cat by-products in the 2nd degree is a class B misdemeanor.

(b)(1) A person is guilty of the unlawful trade in dog or cat by-products in the 1st degree if the person knowingly or recklessly sells, barters or offers for sale or barter, the flesh of a domestic dog or cat or any product made in whole or in part from the flesh of a domestic dog or cat.

(2) The unlawful trade in dog or cat by-products in the first degree is a class A misdemeanor.

(c) In addition to any other penalty provided by law, any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be:

(1) Prohibited from owning or possessing any domestic dog or cat for 15 years after said conviction, except for those grown, raised or produced within the State for resale, where the person has all necessary licenses for such sale or resale, and receives at least 25 percent of the person's annual gross income from such sale or resale;

(2) Subject to a fine in the amount of $2,500 in any court of competent jurisdiction; and

(3) Required to forfeit any domestic dog or cat illegally owned in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 79 of Title 3.

(d) For the purposes of this section, the term “domestic dog or cat” means a dog (Canis familiaris) or cat (Felis catus or Felis domesticus) that is generally recognized in the United States as being a household pet and shall not include coyote, fox, lynx, bobcat or any other wild or commercially raised canine or feline species the fur or hair of which is recognized for use in warm clothing and outer wear by the United States Department of Agriculture and which species is not recognized as an endangered or threatened species by the United States Fish and Wild Life Service or the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

CREDIT(S)

72 Laws 2000, ch. 391, § 1, eff. June 30, 2000.

 

§ 1326 Animals; fighting and baiting prohibited; class F felony.

(a) A person who owns, possesses, keeps, trains, or uses a bull, bear, dog, cock, or other animal or fowl for the purpose of fighting or baiting; or a person who is a party to or who causes the fighting or baiting of a bull, bear, dog, cock, or other animal or fowl; or a person who rents or otherwise obtains the use of a building, shed, room, yard, ground, or premises for the purpose of fighting or baiting an animal or fowl; or a person who knowingly suffers or permits the use of a building, shed, room, yard, ground, or premises belonging to the person, or that is under the person’s control, for any of the purposes described in this section, is guilty of a class E felony.

(b) A person who is present at a building, shed, room, yard, ground, or premises where preparations are being made for an exhibition prohibited by subsection (a) of this section, and who knows that the exhibition is taking place or is about to take place, is guilty of a class F felony.

(c) A person who gambles on the outcome of an exhibition prohibited by subsection (a) of this section is guilty of a class F felony.

(d) All animals, equipment, devices, and money involved in a violation of this section must be forfeited to the State. Animals so forfeited must be disposed of in a humane manner.

(e) Prosecution for any offense under this section may not be commenced after 5 years from the commission of the offense.

(f) A person convicted of a violation of this section is prohibited from owning or possessing any animal or fowl for 15 years after conviction.

(g) A fine issued as a result of a violation of this section may not be suspended.

(h) In addition to the penalties provided under this section, the court may require a person convicted of violating this section to attend and participate in an appropriate treatment program or to obtain appropriate psychiatric or psychological counseling, or both. The court may impose the costs of any treatment program or counseling upon the person convicted.

CREDIT(S)

66 Laws 1988, ch. 369, § 2; 67 Laws 1989, ch. 130, § 8; 67 Laws 1990, ch. 350, §§ 34, 35; 70 Laws 1995, ch. 186, § 1, eff. July 10, 1995; 72 Laws 2000, ch. 417, § 1, eff. July 13, 2000; 73 Laws 2002, ch. 238, §§ 3 to 5, eff. March 27, 2002; 73 Laws 2002, ch. 411, § 1, eff. July 10, 2002; 76 Laws 2008, ch. 259, §§ 1 to 3, eff. June 26, 2008; 77 Laws 2010, ch. 264, § 1, eff. May 18, 2010.

 

§ 1327. Maintaining a dangerous animal; class E felony; class F felony; class A misdemeanor

(a) A person is guilty of maintaining a dangerous animal when such person knowingly or recklessly owns, controls or has custody over any dangerous animal which causes death, serious physical injury or physical injury to another person or which causes death or serious injury to another animal.

(b) For the purposes of this section, “dangerous animal” means any dog or other animal which:

(1) Had been declared dangerous or potentially dangerous by the Dog Control Panel pursuant to subchapter III of Chapter 17 of Title 7;

(2) Had been trained for animal fighting, or that has been used primarily or occasionally for animal fighting;

(3) Had been intentionally trained so as to increase its viciousness, dangerousness or potential for unprovoked attacks upon human beings or other animals; or

(4) Has an individualized and known propensity, tendency or disposition, specific to the individual dog, for viciousness, dangerousness or unprovoked attacks upon human beings or other animals.

(c) Maintaining a dangerous animal shall be punished as follows:

(1) When a dangerous animal causes the death of a person, maintaining a dangerous animal is a class E felony;

(2) When a dangerous animal causes serious physical injury to a person, maintaining a dangerous animal is a class F felony;

(3) When a dangerous animal causes physical injury to a person or when a dangerous animal causes death or physical injury to another animal, maintaining a dangerous animal is a class A misdemeanor.

(d) This section shall not apply to any dog or other animal trained or owned or used by any law enforcement agency or any person, company, agency or entity licensed pursuant to Chapter 13 of Title 24.

(e) In any prosecution under this section it shall be an affirmative defense that at the time of the attack during which physical injury, serious physical injury or death was inflicted upon a person:

(1) The victim of the attack was in the course of committing criminal trespass or any violent felony as set forth in this title or was attempting to commit criminal trespass or said violent felony;

(2) The victim had provoked the attack by committing cruelty to animals as defined in § 1325 of this title upon said dangerous animal or by inflicting physical injury upon said dangerous animal; or

(3) The owner or custodian of the dangerous animal was in full compliance with the applicable provisions of subchapter III of Chapter 17 of Title 7, including the requirements pertaining to confinement, restraint and muzzling.

(f) In any prosecution under this section it shall be an affirmative defense that at the time of the attack during which physical injury or death was inflicted upon an animal:

(1) The animal which was injured or killed had entered onto the real property of the owner or custodian of the dangerous animal without permission;

(2) The animal which was injured or killed had provoked the attack by menacing, biting or attacking the dangerous animal or its owner or custodian; or

(3) The owner or custodian of the dangerous animal was in full compliance with the applicable provisions of subchapter III of Chapter 17 of Title 7, including the requirements pertaining to confinement, restraint and muzzling.

CREDIT(S)

73 Laws 2002, ch. 411, § 2, eff. July 10, 2002.

 

CHAPTER 5. SPECIFIC OFFENSES. SUBCHAPTER II. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PERSON. SUBPART D. SEXUAL OFFENSES. 

§ 775. Bestiality (formerly § 777)

A person is guilty of bestiality when the person intentionally engages in any sexual act involving sexual contact, penetration or intercourse with the genitalia of an animal or intentionally causes another person to engage in any such sexual act with an animal for purposes of sexual gratification.

Bestiality is a class D felony.

CREDIT(S)

69 Laws 1993, ch. 91, § 1; 70 Laws 1995, ch. 186, § 1, eff. July 10, 1995. Redesignated from 11 Del.C. § 777 by 77 Laws 2010, ch. 318, § 6, eff. June 30, 2010.

 

TITLE 3. AGRICULTURE. PART VI. DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN ANIMALS, BIRDS, REPTILES AND INSECTS. CHAPTER 79. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS CONCERNING ANIMALS.

 

§ 7901 Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

 

(a) Incorporation.--The Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a Delaware corporation.

(b) Objects.--The objects of the Society are to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the State and to conduct educational or other programs as specified in its bylaws.

(c) Powers.--The Society shall have the power to enforce all laws enacted for the protection of animals; to purchase, print and circulate books and publications designed to promote the objects of the Society; to appoint or employ such agents or employees as the Board of Directors may from time to time deem necessary; to sue and be sued, in its corporate name, in any court in this State or elsewhere; to exercise all of the legal incidents common to a body corporate, including the right to use a seal, to receive legacies and donations, to acquire by purchase and transfer by sale, lease or mortgage real estate or any interest therein; to make and perform contracts of every kind with any person, corporation, government, state, county or municipality which are designed to promote the objects of the Society.

(d) Offices.--The principal office of the Society shall be located in the County of New Castle, but the Society is authorized and empowered to establish branch offices at any place or places within the State.

(e) Existence.--The Society shall have perpetual existence.

(f) Management.--The affairs of the Society shall be conducted by a Board of Directors, the size, selection, and tenure of which shall be prescribed in the Society’s bylaws, and whose powers and duties are as described in the bylaws and as otherwise given by the laws of this State to corporate directors.

(g) Membership.--Membership in the Society shall be open to all persons interested in the objects of the Society; provided, however, that the bylaws may prescribe conditions of membership, including an annual dues or assessment. The private property of the members of the Society shall not be subject to the payment of Society debts to any extent whatsoever.

(h) Officers.--The officers of the Society shall be selected by the Board of Directors and shall be those officers provided for in the bylaws.

(i) Bylaws.--The Society shall have the power to adopt a code of bylaws and said bylaws shall be binding upon the Society and its members until modified or rescinded as provided for in its bylaws.

 
CREDIT(S)

49 Laws 1953, ch. 256, § 1. Amended by 77 Laws 2009, ch. 118, §§ 1, 2, eff. July 8, 2009; 78 Laws 2012, ch. 282, § 1, eff. June 28, 2012.  

§ 7902 Enforcement of laws for protection of animals.

The constables of the several counties of this State, and the police force of the City of Wilmington, as well as all other places in the State where police organizations exist, shall, as occasion requires, assist the Kent County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or The Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, their members or agents, in the enforcement of all laws which are enacted for the protection of dumb animals.


Credits


14 Laws, ch. 477, § 6; 60 Laws 1975, ch. 209, § 2. Redesignated from 3 § 7904 by 70 Laws 1995, ch. 283, § 11, eff. July 27, 1995; redesignated from 3 § 7901 by the Reviser in 2005; 78 Laws 2012, ch. 266, § 9, eff. June 19, 2012.


§ 7903 Fines and penalties in certain cases; disposition.

All fines, penalties and forfeitures, imposed and collected in any county of the State under every act relating to or affecting cruelty to animals, in every case where the prosecution shall be instituted and conducted by the Kent County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and The Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, shall enure to such Society in aid of the purposes for which they were incorporated.

CREDIT(S)

16 Laws 1881, ch. 382, § 3; 60 Laws 1975, ch. 209, §§ 3, 4. Redesignated from 3 § 7905 by 70 Laws 1995, ch. 283, § 11, eff. July 27, 1995; redesignated from 3 § 7902 in 2005 by the Reviser.

 

§ 7904 Service of process.

Any warrant of arrest, or other process, issued under or by virtue of the several laws in relation to cruelty to animals may be directed to and executed by any agent so appointed by either the Delaware or Kent County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of this State. No compensation shall be paid to the agent except by the societies.

CREDIT(S)

18 Laws 1887, ch. 246; 60 Laws 1975, ch. 209, §§ 5, 6. Redesignated from 3 § 7906 by 70 Laws 1995, ch. 283, § 11, eff. July 27, 1995; redesignated from 3 § 7903 in 2005 by the Reviser; 77 Laws 2010, ch. 393, § 1, eff. July 15, 2010.

 

§ 7905 Impoundment.

(a) Any agent in Sussex and New Castle Counties of this State, so appointed by the Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or in Kent County of this State, so appointed by the Kent County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or any law enforcement officer as defined in § 222 of Title 11, may, in instances of alleged acts of animal cruelty and as provided for by the laws of Delaware relating to seizure of property, impound in the appropriate S.P.C.A. shelter or, if required, in an appropriate veterinarian facility, any animal subjected to cruel mistreatment or cruel neglect. Should the owner or custodian of an animal not be available at or near the premises where the animal is located, upon taking an animal under this section the agent shall leave in an appropriate place written notice to the animal's owner or custodian of such action. Societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals shall take all reasonable action to insure that owners or custodians of an animal, impounded under this section, shall have received notice of such action as soon as possible and no later than 24 hours after the impoundment.

(b) An animal impounded under this section shall not remain in the custody of the appropriate Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals longer than 48 hours and shall be returned to its owner or custodian unless a complaint is filed within the 48-hour period in the appropriate court under the animal cruelty laws against the owner or custodian, except that upon good cause shown a court may permit a reasonable extension of the 48-hour period not to exceed 30 days. When a complaint is filed in the appropriate court, the impounded animal shall remain in the custody of the appropriate Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals pending the outcome of the action. If the owner or custodian is found to be in violation of the animal cruelty laws the court shall make a final determination as to the disposition of the animal. Should the complaint be withdrawn, prior to a court hearing, the animal shall be immediately made available to its owner or custodian.

(c) Upon a determination that probable cause exists to believe that the animal cruelty or animal fighting laws have been violated by the owner or custodian of any impounded animal, the State and/or the appropriate Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shall have the right to recover the costs of holding and caring for any animal impounded under this section from the owner or custodian of the animal. Each month, the State or appropriate Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shall submit a detailed billing to the owner or custodian of the animal, listing the accrued monthly costs of boarding, veterinary and other costs incurred. Notwithstanding any provision of this section or any other law to the contrary, failure of the animal's owner or custodian to pay these costs within 30 days of the receipt of a detailed monthly billing will result in ownership of the animal reverting to the State or to the appropriate Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The provisions of this paragraph shall be applicable notwithstanding the final disposition of the criminal charges.

(d) An owner or custodian of an animal impounded under this section who is found guilty of cruelty to the animal, and the court orders the animal returned to such owner or custodian, shall, prior to taking the animal, reimburse the appropriate Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals its regular standard fees charged for the care of animals while in the Society's custody plus any veterinary fees incurred for the animal during the period of impoundment. Failure of the animal's owner or custodian to pay such fees within 5 days after a finding of guilty will result in ownership of the animal reverting to the appropriate S.P.C.A.. The S.P.C.A. may then dispose of the animal in accord with its procedures for such disposition.

(e) Should an animal which has been impounded under this section expire while in the custody of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the animal shall, as soon as possible, be turned over to the State Veterinarian at the Department of Agriculture. The State Veterinarian shall take whatever action necessary, including autopsy if required, to determine cause of the animal's death and shall record such cause. The cause of death shall, if requested, be furnished to the animal's owner and to the court handling the complaint relative to the animal. Disposition of the animal's remains shall be coordinated with the animal's owner and, provided a complaint has been filed, with the court handling the complaint.

CREDIT(S)

63 Laws 1981, ch. 104, § 1. Redesignated from 3 § 7907 by 70 Laws 1995, ch. 283, § 11, eff. July 27, 1995; 73 Laws 2002, ch. 238, §§ 6 to 8, eff. March 27, 2002. Redesignated from 3 § 7904 in 2005 by the Reviser.

 

§ 7906. Redesignated as 3 Del.C. § 7903 by 70 Laws 1995, ch. 283, § 11, eff. July 27, 1995

 

§ 7907. Redesignated as 3 Del.C. § 7904 by 70 Laws 1995, ch. 283, § 11, eff. July 27, 1995

 

CHAPTER 80. ANIMALS HELD IN SHELTER

§ 8001. Definitions

For purposes of this Chapter:

(a) “Animal shelter” means a public or private facility which includes a physical structure that provides temporary or permanent shelter to stray, abandoned, abused, or owner-surrendered animals and that is operated, owned, or maintained by a duly incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, or other nonprofit organization for the purpose of providing for and promoting the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of animals. “Animal shelter” shall not include individuals providing temporary foster care to animals in their home or to animal rescue groups sheltering animals on an individual's private property.

(b) “Licensed veterinarian” means a veterinarian licensed to practice veterinary medicine pursuant to Title 24 of the Delaware Code.

(c) “Licensed veterinary technician” means an individual licensed as a veterinary technician pursuant to Title 24 of the Delaware Code.

Credits
Added by 77 Laws 2010, ch. 418, § 2, eff. July 23, 2010.

 

§ 8002. Shelter care and treatment

(a) Animal shelters shall be advised by a licensed veterinarian and shall adhere to a written veterinary care protocol developed with a licensed veterinarian, which protocol shall include appropriate evaluation and testing of newly impounded animals, disease control and prevention, and adequate veterinary care. The protocol shall be updated as needed.

(b) Animal shelters shall vaccinate all dogs against canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus, and bordetella bronticeptica and all cats against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and the panleukopenia virus before or upon entering the shelter or holding facility to reduce the spread of disease. Such vaccinations must be administered as soon as possible and no more than 8 hours after entering the shelter. This provision shall not apply to animals in quarantine for rabies observation or to animals having injuries, illness or temperament that make administration of the vaccinations unsafe.

(c) An examination of animals entering an animal shelter shall be performed within 72 hours of entry.

(d) Animal shelters shall ensure that animals requiring veterinary care are seen by a licensed veterinarian within a reasonable amount of time based on the condition of the animal, and that urgent medical care is provided as needed. Animal shelters shall comply with treatment plans developed by a licensed veterinarian for animals at the shelter requiring treatment.

(e) Animal shelters shall include a designated treatment area and isolation and/or quarantine areas. Animals suspected of carrying a contagious deadly disease will be moved to isolation or quarantine and remain there until they are no longer a threat to susceptible animals.

CREDIT(S)

Added by 77 Laws 2010, ch. 418, § 2, eff. July 23, 2010 and Jan. 1, 2011.

 

§ 8003. Animal adoption, recovery, and rehabilitation

(a) Animal shelters shall be open to the public after normal business hours, including evenings and weekends, to increase access for the purpose of adoption.

(b) Animal shelters shall provide a minimum holding period of 72 hours for animals in their care, to allow reclamation by their owners. If an adoptable animal is not reclaimed, the animal may be transferred to another animal shelter or rescue for adoption, or adopted as a companion in a suitable home. This holding period required by this subsection shall not apply to owner-surrendered animals or other cases in which the owner of the animal is known. Wild animals may be disposed of by rehabilitation to their natural habitat.

(c) Animal recovery.

(i) Animal shelters shall take appropriate action to ensure that all animals brought to the shelter are checked for all currently acceptable methods of identification, including microchips, identification tags, tattoos, and licenses.

(ii) Animal shelters shall maintain updated lists of animals reported lost, and attempt to match these lost reports with animals reported found and animals in the shelter, and shall also post all stray animals on the Internet with sufficient detail to allow them to be recognized and claimed by their owners.

(iii) If a possible owner is identified, the animal shelter shall make every reasonable attempt to reunite the animal with its owner. Upon the owner's or caretaker's initiative of recovery procedures, the animal shelter shall retain custody of the animal for a five day period to allow for completion of the recovery process. The owner or custodian of the animal may be held responsible for reasonable housing and boarding costs once the owner or custodian has been notified of the animal's location, provided that the owner or custodian has been advised of such costs prior to the costs being incurred.

(a)1 Animal shelters shall establish and maintain a registry of organizations willing to accept animals for the purpose of adoption, including breed specific rescues, or to provide the animals with long-term placements. The registry shall include the types and breeds of animals about which the organization wishes to be contacted. Animal shelters shall have the right to inspect the facilities of any adoption organization taking animals from the shelter.

(b) Animal shelters shall make best efforts to prioritize acceptance of animals from within the State of Delaware before accepting dog or cat intakes from outside of Delaware. Animals accepted from shelters outside the State of Delaware must have a current health certification.

Credits
65 Laws 1985, ch. 136, § 1. Redesignated from 3 § 8001 and amended by 77 Laws 2010, ch. 418, § 2, eff. July 23, 2010.

 

§ 8004. Euthanasia in animal shelters

(a) Any dog, cat or other animal held by or in the custody of an animal shelter and not adopted, transferred to another shelter or animal rescue group, or reclaimed by the owner within 5 days may be euthanized, provided that no reasonable alternatives are available and the requirements of subsections (b) and (c) of this section are met.

(b) Animal shelters shall ensure that the following conditions are met before an animal is euthanized:

(1) The holding period for the animal required by this chapter is expired;

(2) There are no empty cages, kennels, or other living environments in the shelter that are suitable for the animal;

(3) The animal cannot share a cage or kennel with appropriately-sized primary living space with another animal;

(4) A foster home is not available;

(5) Organizations on the registry developed pursuant to § 8003(d) of this title are not willing to accept the animal; and

(6) The animal care/control manager certifies that the above conditions are met and that such manager has no other reasonable alternative.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter to the contrary, an animal may be euthanized immediately if necessary to alleviate undue suffering or to protect shelter staff and/or other sheltered animals from an animal's severe aggression or contagious deadly health condition. The determination of whether euthanasia is necessary pursuant to this subsection shall be made by a licensed veterinarian or, in cases of extreme emergency occurring after regular business hours in circumstances under which a licensed veterinarian is not available, by other appropriately trained staff.

(d) Euthanasia method and procedure.--

(1) The Department shall promulgate regulations regarding acceptable methods of euthanasia in animal shelters and regarding sanitation and ventilation of euthanasia areas. The methods included shall be approved or conditionally approved by the most recent American Veterinary Medical Association Guidelines on Euthanasia.

(2) Any animal shelter performing euthanasia shall have a current policy and procedure manual regarding euthanasia. The policy and procedure manual shall set forth the shelter's equipment, process, and the procedures for individual separation of animals.

(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of Chapter 33 of Title 24, euthanasia must be performed by:

a. licensed veterinarian;

b. A nationally certified euthanasia technician; or

c. A person certified by a licensed veterinarian, after passing both a written and practical examination, as proficient to perform euthanasia. Training and certification requirements shall be established by Department regulation in consultation with the Delaware Board of Veterinary Medicine.

(4) If euthanasia is by injection, animals in an animal shelter that are amenable to being controlled shall be lowered to the surface on which they are being held and shall not be permitted to drop or otherwise collapse without support.

(5) The trained staff member performing the euthanasia in animal shelters shall remain in attendance between the time procedures to euthanize the animal are commenced and the time death occurs, and shall verify death has occurred using methods to be determined by regulation.

(6) Sodium pentobarbital may be obtained by an animal shelter with required federal and state permits.

CREDIT(S)

Added by 77 Laws 2010, ch. 418, § 3, eff. July 23, 2010 and Jan. 1, 2011.

 

§ 8005. Proper facilities required

Any municipality that does not have proper facilities and trained personnel shall transport in a humane manner any animals which are to be euthanized to the nearest private or public shelter or agency which has proper facilities and trained personnel or contract for euthanasia of such animals by a licensed veterinarian.

CREDIT(S)

65 Laws 1985, ch. 136, § 1. Redesignated from 3 § 8004 by 77 Laws 2010, ch. 418, § 3, eff. July 23, 2010.

 

§ 8006. Violation constitutes class A misdemeanor; civil remedy; jurisdiction of Superior Court

(a) Failure by any person employed by, volunteering at or an agent of any private or public animal shelter to comply with § 8004(d) of this title regarding euthanizing animals shall constitute a class A misdemeanor and shall be punishable as provided by law.

(b) Any person may maintain a civil action to enjoin the continuance of the violation of § 8004(d) of this title. If the acts sought to be enjoined are determined by the courts to violate § 8004(d) of this title, a permanent injunction against such acts shall be granted. The violation may also be abated by any public body or officer authorized to do so by law.

(c) The Superior Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of misdemeanor offenses under this section.

CREDIT(S)

65 Laws 1985, ch. 136, § 1. Redesignated from 3 Del.C. § 8005 by 77 Laws 2010, ch. 418, § 3, eff. July 23, 2010. Amended by 77 Laws 2010, ch. 418, §§ 4 to 6, eff. July 23, 2010.

 

§ 8007. Record keeping and reporting

Animal shelters shall maintain records regarding the following information:

(1) Intake rate;

(2) Euthanasia rate including age (infant, juvenile, and adult), by animal;

(3) Number of adoptions;

(4) Number reclaimed by owner;

(5) Number transferred to other agencies for adoption;

(6) Number of spay/neuters;

(7) Number of animals in the shelter;

(8) Records showing the number of animals that died or were lost/stolen;

(9) Records showing compliance with vaccination requirements; and

(10) Records regarding medical treatment provided.

The information in paragraphs (1) through (7) of this section shall be posted to the shelter's website on a quarterly basis. The information in paragraphs (8), (9) and (10) of this section shall be made available upon request by appropriate authorities.

CREDIT(S)

Added by 77 Laws 2010, ch. 418, § 7, eff. July 23, 2010.


 



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