136A Disposal of animals seized or taken into custody prior to commencement or determination of proceedings

(1)

This section applies if—

(a)

1 or more animals are seized by a constable or an inspector, under the authority of a search warrant issued under section 131, or are taken into possession by an inspector under section 127 or a constable under section 137(1); and

(b)

either—

(i)

proceedings for an offence involving that animal or those animals—

(A)

have been commenced but not yet determined; or

(B)

have not yet been commenced but are intended to be commenced within a reasonable period; or

(ii)

the owner of that animal or those animals cannot be located.

(2)

If this section applies, the District Court, on its own motion, or on an application by a constable or an inspector, may make an order authorising—

(a)

the sale of the animal or animals; or

(b)

the placement of the animal or animals with another person; or

(c)

the destruction or other disposal of the animal or animals; or

(d)

the dehorning or performance of other surgical procedures on the animal or animals.

(3)

The District Court—

(a)

must, before making an order under subsection (2), give the owner of the animal or animals, if known and able to be contacted, an opportunity to be heard; and

(b)

may make an order under subsection (2) if it is satisfied that there are good reasons for making that order; and

(c)

may, when making the order, impose conditions (whether relating to the payment of any security holder in the animal or animals or otherwise).

(4)

In determining whether to make any order referred to in subsection (2), the court must have regard to the following matters:

(a)

whether the owner of the animal or animals has been identified, and if not, the steps that have been taken to identify and contact that person:

(b)

the number of animals involved:

(c)

whether the animal or animals are being kept for economic purposes or for companionship:

(d)

the cost of continuing to hold the animal or animals:

(e)

the physical state of the animal or animals:

(f)

whether it is reasonable or practicable for the animal or animals to be placed elsewhere:

(g)

whether it is reasonable or practicable for the Ministry or an approved organisation to retain possession of and care for the animal or animals until the determination of the proceedings relating to the animal or animals:

(h)

whether any person will suffer material or other loss, and the extent of that loss, if the animal or animals are sold:

(i)

any other matters the court considers relevant.

(5)

If an animal is sold under the authority of an order under subsection (2)(a), the proceeds of sale (if any) must be held by the Ministry or an approved organisation (after deducting (in order) the costs of sale, any sums required to be paid to a security holder or any other person under a condition of the order for sale, and any costs incurred by the Crown or approved organisation in caring for the animal or animals or providing veterinary treatment to that animal or those animals).

(6)

The Ministry or approved organisation referred to in subsection (5) must, unless the proceeds of sale are forfeited to the Crown under section 172(1) or the owner of the animal is unknown or cannot be contacted, pay the proceeds of sale to the owner as soon as practicable—

(a)

after the determination of the proceedings for an offence involving that animal or those animals; or

(b)

after a decision is taken not to commence any such proceedings.

Section 136A: inserted, on 1 October 2012, by section 196 of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012 (2012 No 24).

Section 136A(1)(a): amended, on 10 May 2015, by section 52 of the Animal Welfare Amendment Act (No 2) 2015 (2015 No 49).

Section 136A(2): amended, on 1 March 2017, by section 261 of the District Court Act 2016 (2016 No 49).