I recently wrote about a terrible experience that one of our customers encountered when Animal Control was sent to confiscate her animals because she fed a raw food diet to her pets. If you haven’t read the expose yet, click here to read Mrs. V’s story.
Since then, I’ve been compelled to learn about our rights in the event that Animal Control is called on to investigate us.
The case with Mrs. V was extreme, but Animal Control will usually feel as if the call has more merit if it comes from a veterinarian – so try to stay on their good side. That doesn’t mean taking their advice and prescriptions blindly. Ask questions. Do your research. Just try not to fight with them. 🙂
Dog parents and ethical breeders are often targeted by disgruntled neighbors because of simple things like loud barking. Of course you want to be sure that your pets are not being a nuisance and, from my experience, it’s a lot easier if you befriend your neighbors as well. However, if Animal Control is called on you by a neighbor, you should understand your rights.
What Are Your Rights If Animal Control Is Called On You?
- Animal Control is law enforcement. Law enforcement cannot come into your home without a warrant or your permission. If Animal Control is called on you and you’re worried that they may take your pets – you have the right to not let them in. Step outside and speak with them – kindly. Anything they can see in “plain sight” can be probable cause for a warrant. It’s crazy, but even an electrical outlet in the wrong room or too many pets (if in an area that’s zoned for a max pet household of 3 or 4) can be a violation.
- If they say they have a warrant, ask to see it before allowing them in the house. Read the warrant. This document should tell you what they are permitted to search in your home. Do not let them search more than the warrant permits.
- You have the right to remain silent. Telling your side of the story doesn’t help unless they are really cool animal control people.
As we saw in Mrs. V’s story, Animal Control officials aren’t the enemy. Most are truly concerned about the welfare of animals. However, they have a serious job within the parameters of law enforcement that is sometimes and sadly truly needed. Always be honest and always be kind. By knowing your rights and keeping kindness on your side, hopefully you’ll come out on top if Animal Control is called on you.