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Enforcing Animal Welfare Statutes: In Many States, It’s Still the Wild West
San Joaquin Agricultural Law Review (2012)
  • Elizabeth Rumley
  • Rusty Rumley, University of Arkansas
Authority to enforce animal welfare laws has been delegated to private citizens involved with humane organizations since the 1880s when the majority of those statutes were originally passed. Currently, over half of the states and the District of Columbia grant some form of law enforcement power to members or officers of humane societies. The authority ranges from the power to arrest to the ability to seize and destroy private property. In some cases it includes the right to carry a firearm-- even, in one state, as a convicted felon-- while engaging in law enforcement activities. After a brief history of the statutory scheme, this paper will discuss the states that delegate authority to private citizens involved in humane societies, the specific authority that is given to these individuals, and an overview of the liability concerns that may present themselves as a result of the delegation.
Publication Date
Spring 2012
Citation Information
Elizabeth Rumley, "Enforcing Animal Welfare Statutes: In Many States, It's Still the Wild West," 21 San Joaquin Agric. L. Rev. 21 (2012)