Nebraska Revised Statute 28-1012.01

Chapter 28 Section 1012.01

28-1012.01.

Animal seized; court powers; county attorney; duties; hearing; notice; animal abandoned or cruelly neglected or mistreated; bond or other security; appeal; section, how construed.

(1) Any animal seized under a search warrant or validly seized without a warrant may be kept on the property of the owner or custodian by the law enforcement officer seizing the animal. When a criminal complaint has been filed in connection with a seized animal, the court in which such complaint was filed shall have exclusive jurisdiction for disposition of the animal and to determine any rights therein, including questions respecting the title, possession, control, and disposition thereof as provided in this section.

(2) Within seven days after the date an animal has been seized pursuant to section 28-1006 or 28-1012, the county attorney of the county where the animal was seized shall file an application with the court having appropriate jurisdiction for a hearing to determine the disposition and the cost for the care of the animal. Notice of such hearing shall be given to the owner or custodian from whom such animal was seized and to any holder of a lien or security interest of record in such animal specifying the date, time, and place of such hearing. Such notice shall be served by personal or residential service or by certified mail. If such notice cannot be served by such methods, service may be made by publication in the county where such animal was seized. Such publication shall be made after application and order of the court. The hearing shall be held as soon as practicable and not more than ten business days after the date of application for the hearing unless otherwise determined and ordered by the court.

(3) If the court finds that probable cause exists that an animal has been abandoned or cruelly neglected or mistreated, the court may:

(a) Order immediate forfeiture of the animal to the agency that took custody of the animal and authorize appropriate disposition of the animal including adoption, donation to a suitable shelter, humane destruction, or any other manner of disposition approved by the court. The court may consider adoption alternatives through humane societies or comparable institutions and the protection of such animal's welfare. For a humane society or comparable institution to be considered as an adoption alternative under this subsection, it must first be licensed by the Department of Agriculture as having passed the inspection requirements in the Commercial Dog and Cat Operator Inspection Act and paid the fee for inspection under the act. The court may prohibit an adopting or purchasing party from selling such animal for a period not to exceed one year;

(b) Issue an order to the owner or custodian setting forth the conditions under which custody of the animal shall be returned to the owner or custodian from whom the animal was seized or to any other person claiming an interest in the animal. Such order may include any management actions deemed necessary and prudent by the court, including reducing the number of animals harbored or owned by the owner or custodian by humane destruction or forfeiture and securing necessary care, including veterinary care, sufficient for the maintenance of any remaining animals; or

(c) Order the owner or custodian from whom the animal was seized to post a bond or other security or to otherwise order payment in an amount that is sufficient to reimburse all reasonable expenses, as determined by the court, for the care of the animal including veterinary care incurred by the agency from the date of seizure and necessitated by the possession of the animal. Payments shall be for a succeeding thirty-day period with the first payment due on or before the tenth day following the hearing. Payments for each subsequent thirty-day period, if any, shall be due on or before the tenth day of such period. The bond or security shall be placed with, or payments ordered under this subdivision shall be paid to, the agency that took custody of the animal. The agency shall provide an accounting of expenses to the court when the animal is no longer in the custody of the agency or upon request by the court. The county attorney of the county where the animal was seized may apply to the court for a subsequent hearing under this section at any time. The hearing shall be held as soon as practicable and not more than ten business days after the date of application for the hearing unless otherwise determined and ordered by the court. When all expenses covered by the bond or security are exhausted and subsequent bond or security has not been posted, or if a person becomes delinquent in his or her payments for the expenses of the animal, the animal shall be forfeited to the agency.

(4) If custody of an animal is returned to the owner or custodian prior to seizure, any proceeds of a bond or security or any payment or portion of payment ordered under this section not used for the care of the animal during the time the animal was held by the agency shall be returned to the owner or custodian.

(5) Nothing in this section shall prevent the humane destruction of a seized animal at any time as determined necessary by a licensed veterinarian or as authorized by court order.

(6) An appeal may be filed within ten days after a hearing held under this section. Any person filing an appeal shall post a bond or security sufficient to pay reasonable costs of care of the animal for thirty days. Such bond or surety shall be required for each succeeding thirty-day period until the appeal is final.

(7) If the owner or custodian from whom the animal was seized is found not guilty in an associated criminal proceeding, all funds paid for the expenses of the animal remaining after the actual expenses incurred by the agency have been paid shall be returned to the owner or custodian.

(8) This section shall not preempt any ordinance of a city of the metropolitan or primary class.

Cross References

  • Commercial Dog and Cat Operator Inspection Act, see section 54-625.