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General Laws

Section 104. (a) As used in this section the word “Authority” shall mean an organization or authorized agent thereof that seizes or impounds an animal pursuant to the General Laws.

(b) If an animal is lawfully seized or impounded pursuant to the General Laws relating to cruelty to animals or animal fighting, the owner, custodian or person claiming an interest in the animal, shall be given a show cause hearing within 30 days after application for the complaint.

(c) If an animal is lawfully seized and impounded, the authority may file a petition with the court requesting that the person from whom an animal is seized or a person claiming an interest in the seized animal, be ordered to post a security. The authority shall serve a copy of the petition on the person from whom the animal was seized, or if the person cannot be found, by posting of copy at the place where the animal was taken into custody. The authority shall also serve a copy of the petition on the district attorney. The court may order that person to post a security.

(d) The security shall be in an amount sufficient to secure payment for all reasonable expenses to be incurred by the authority having custody of the seized animal for a temporary period of at least 30 days. The amount of the security shall be determined by the court upon the recommendation of the authority. Reasonable expenses shall include, but shall not be limited to, estimated medical care, shelter, and board.

(e) When security is posted in accordance with this section, the authority may draw from the security the actual reasonable costs incurred for medical care, shelter, and board.

(f) If the court orders the posting of security, the security shall be posted with the clerk within 10 business days of the show cause hearing. The court shall order the immediate forfeiture of the seized animal to the authority if the person fails to post security as ordered. The court may waive the security requirement or reduce the amount of the security for good cause shown.

(g) Posting of the security shall not prevent the authority from disposing of the seized or impounded animal before the expiration of the period covered by the security, if the court rules in favor of the authority.

(h) The authority may humanely dispose of the animal at the end of the period for which expenses are covered by the security, if the court orders the disposition. If the disposition order is denied, the court may require the owner or custodian or any other person claiming interest in the animal, to provide additional security to secure payment of reasonable expenses and to extend the period of time pending adjudication by the court of the charges against the person from whom the animal was seized.

(i) The owner or custodian of an animal humanely killed pursuant to this section shall not be entitled to recover damages or the actual value of the animal if the owner or custodian failed to post security.

(j) The court may direct a refund to the person who posted the security in whole or part for any expenses not incurred by the authority. The court may direct a refund to the person who posted security upon acquittal of the charges.

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