Disposal of animals in custody of approved organisations

141 Duties of approved organisation

(1)

Where a person (other than the owner of an animal) gives that animal into the custody of an approved organisation and that approved organisation accepts custody of that animal, or where an approved organisation takes any animal into its custody, that approved organisation—

(a)

must take reasonable steps to identify the owner of the animal; and

(b)

may take such steps as it considers necessary or desirable to prevent or mitigate any suffering of the animal.

(1A)

Subsection (1B) applies if—

(a)

an owner of an animal, or a person acting as the agent of an owner of an animal, gives the animal into the temporary custody of an approved organisation; and

(b)

an arrangement exists for the return of the animal to the owner or the owner’s agent; and

(c)

the owner or the owner’s agent does not return to reclaim custody of that animal as agreed.

(1B)

If this subsection applies, the approved organisation may sell, re-home, or dispose of (including destroy) the animal in any manner that an inspector or auxiliary officer acting for the organisation thinks fit if—

(a)

the approved organisation has taken reasonable steps to locate and contact the owner; and

(b)

either—

(i)

the approved organisation has been unable to locate or contact the owner; or

(ii)

the approved organisation has located and attempted to contact the owner, but the owner will not respond; and

(c)

the approved organisation has given the owner written notice of its intention to sell, re-home, or otherwise dispose of (including destroy) the animal in accordance with the provisions of subsection (3); and

(d)

the owner has not, within the period specified in the notice, reclaimed the animal and paid any costs incurred by the organisation and specified in the notice.

(2)

Where the approved organisation cannot identify the owner of the animal, an inspector or auxiliary officer acting for the approved organisation may—

(a)

after the animal has been in the custody of the organisation for at least 7 days,—

(i)

sell the animal; or

(ii)

find a home for the animal; or

(iii)

destroy or otherwise dispose of the animal in such manner as the inspector or auxiliary officer thinks fit:

(aa)

at any time, sell, re-home, or otherwise dispose of (including destroy) the animal in any manner that the inspector or auxiliary officer thinks fit if—

(i)

the animal is wild or unsocialised; and

(ii)

the animal is severely distressed; and

(iii)

in the opinion of a veterinarian, the animal’s distress is a direct result of being contained to the extent that it would be unreasonable and unnecessary to continue to contain the animal:

(b)

at any time, in any case where the animal is diseased or is suspected of being diseased and the inspector or auxiliary officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the welfare of other animals in the custody of the approved organisation would be compromised if the organisation were to continue to hold that animal in custody,—

(i)

sell the animal; or

(ii)

find a home for the animal; or

(iii)

destroy or otherwise dispose of the animal in such manner as the inspector or auxiliary officer thinks fit.

(3)

Where the approved organisation both identifies the owner of the animal and knows the address of the owner of the animal, the approved organisation must give to the owner a written notice informing the owner that the approved organisation is holding the animal in its custody and that, unless the owner, within 7 days of the receipt of that notice, claims the animal and pays any costs incurred by the approved organisation in caring for the animal or in providing veterinary treatment to the animal (being costs that the approved organisation wishes to claim), the approved organisation may—

(a)

sell the animal; or

(b)

find a home for the animal; or

(c)

destroy or otherwise dispose of the animal in such manner as the inspector or auxiliary officer thinks fit.

(4)

If the owner does not, within the period specified in the notice, claim the animal and pay any costs incurred by the approved organisation and specified in the notice, an inspector or auxiliary officer acting for the approved organisation may—

(a)

sell the animal; or

(b)

find a home for the animal; or

(c)

destroy or otherwise dispose of the animal in such manner as the inspector or auxiliary officer thinks fit.

(5)

Where an animal is sold under subsection (1B), (2), or (4), the approved organisation must, after deducting any costs incurred by the approved organisation in caring for the animal or providing veterinary treatment to the animal, apply the proceeds of the sale towards the costs of the animal welfare work of the approved organisation.

(6)

In this section, the term animal does not include—

(a)

a native animal; or

(b)

stock within the meaning of section 2(1) of the Impounding Act 1955.

Section 141(1A): inserted, on 10 May 2015, by section 54(1) of the Animal Welfare Amendment Act (No 2) 2015 (2015 No 49).

Section 141(1B): inserted, on 10 May 2015, by section 54(1) of the Animal Welfare Amendment Act (No 2) 2015 (2015 No 49).

Section 141(2)(aa): inserted, on 10 May 2015, by section 54(2) of the Animal Welfare Amendment Act (No 2) 2015 (2015 No 49).

Section 141(5): amended, on 10 May 2015, by section 54(3) of the Animal Welfare Amendment Act (No 2) 2015 (2015 No 49).