Seizure-Forfeiture Law– Animals

If you want to gain knowledge on forfeiture-seizure law, this is a good post for you.  If you are a hater of pitbull type dogs, then this is not the article for you. For others who have a concept of what H$U$ does in relation to swat raids, snitch $$ to get dogs killed, raids on anyone having more than probably 15-20 dogs or horses, or whatever, then this might interest you. Taken from a chat forum…

[T]he Pima Animal Care Center takes care of seized animals until it knows what it can do with them, and does not adopt out or euthanize the animals until they legally become county property, said center spokeswoman Jayne Cundy.

“In those cases we have to be told, because we’re just holding them. It’s up to the Tucson Police Department or the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, because they’re evidence,” she said.

If an owner wants their animals back, the person must appear in court at a bond hearing, Cundy said. By the time a hearing is held, caretakers at the center usually have a good idea about the animal’s temperament and adoptability, she said.
“We go in front of a judge and explain why we don’t think the animal should go back. The judge will make a determination. If the judge orders them back to owner then we have to comply with the law,” she said.

The hearing is a chance for both sides to say what should happen with the dogs. But upon seizure of the dog, the owner is given a notice that he or she must pay for at least 15 days of the animals’ care, according to Pima County Code.

“If the bond is not posted within ten days of the notice, the animal shall be deemed forfeited to the Pima Animal Control Center to be placed by adoption in a suitable home or humanely destroyed,” the code says.

But the hearing process isn’t as straight forward as it seems, lawyers say.  “If somebody could afford $200, they can have a hearing. It’s the only type of case where you have to buy your way into court,” said Mark Resnick, Patrick’s lawyer in his criminal case.

Read more:

All of this shows several things… One– H$U$ makes laws so that anyone suspected of dog “fighting” or bred for “fighting” etc– three states, possibly more right now– have preseizure forfeiture laws. Meaning your animals are potentially forfeited simply because you can’t afford the “storage” or lien costs on your animals when they seize them.  Obviously the key is not to be in a position to have your animals seized.

Seizure is  usually related to complaints by neighbors, or from people who hate you for whatever reason. Animal control is not usually correct and often makes a lot of errors, especially if you have competent defense counsel. Due to H$U$ hating all large scale breeding, selling, displaying, etc, it is not surprising that making forefeiture laws is one of their goals. Example for 2011 CA law by HSUS:

Very few groups bothered to oppose the bill.

Example: if a dogfight happened at your rental unbeknownst to you, in CA you could lose your rental property thanks to H$U$ and its possible the money could even end up GOING to H$U$ when property is sold. Michael Vick’s house [back East] was foreclosed upon after his arrest [or possibly seized by H$U$ forfeiture] and eventually guess WHO bought the house? Huge rabid AR group Dogs Deserve Better, whose leader stole a dog because it was tethered out and she said it was going to die. She was convicted of larceny (she wouldn’t give dog back) and lost on appeal as well. That group has movie starts following them so it’s likely an H$U$ supporter.

Obtaining the “VICK” property was no coincidence. Duh.

Almost every animal law is cataloged on CD by ALDF, the AR group. Almost every animal case is cataloged by AR related (and working for USDA too) sites online. We don’t give out the site because it is AR but it does have a lot of data. Do some research and you will find it.

Below is an example of how AR groups OPPOSE the “forfeiture” law change. What you see below is typical of how AR groups push and oppose laws. They are extremely vocal, despite probably being only 5% of the public–they are organized, and they are LOUD. But most importantly, they don’t give up. They are not necessarily informed on the facts, but they focus on emotion, not facts; liefestyle beliefs, not common sense. Concrete extremism, not reasonableness.

Learning to understand how bad or good laws can affect you is part of understanding your own rights as owners, as business people. Most people in the USA are rather spoon fed, lazy, and simply do not care. Until it happens to THEM. To YOU.

Measure 3


[Note; for outcome of this law, scroll to end]

I ask you to vote NO on Measure 3.

In 1989 I worked with the legislature to pass a forfeiture law that would protect innocent people, provide an easy avenue for anyone who wanted a public forum to voice concerns about the application of the forfeiture law, and to allow police agencies to use some of the forfeited funds for the investigation of our drug laws. The law envisioned that drug dealers would bear some of the burden of major drug investigations.

Since 1989 the legislature has provided additional safeguards to the law, including a requirement that innocent persons get attorney fees.

Law enforcement have used forfeiture funds to establish task forces throughout the state to investigate drug trafficking both inside the state and drugs coming into Oregon. They have become a critical part of Oregon’s efforts to pursue the biggest drug dealers.

Measure 3 prohibits the use of forfeited funds to be used in anyway for law enforcement. That means the task forces will lose vital funding. The effect to them will be disastrous.

The people who are behind Measure 3 want to abolish forfeiture. Measure 3 may accomplish this. In 1989 we were very careful to make forfeiture civil in nature. That way the state could pursue both the criminal case and the forfeiture. Measure 3 makes forfeiture criminal in nature. Therefore the state may have to choose between a criminal prosecution or forfeiture. In most cases the state will prosecute and then may have to give the money back to the criminal.

As a lawyer, a former governor and a citizen I am concerned that the backers of this measure wanted to put forfeiture into Oregon’s Constitution. It does not belong there. I am concerned about a number of things within this measure that should have been debated within the legislature; they were not.

I urge you to Vote NO on Measure 3.

(This information furnished by Former Governor Neil Goldschmidt.)


OREGON’S ANIMALSBefore an animal cruelty case finishes winding its way through our legal system, humane societies and animal shelters are currently allowed to ask a court, through a forfeiture hearing, for full custody of rescued animals, so that they may be adopted into permanent, loving homes. [PD: Note the “AR” language]

Under today’s laws, animals are still classified as property. MEASURE 3 would prohibit forfeitures ofany property before a criminal conviction. Because it fails to distinguish animals from other types of property, MEASURE 3 could keep humane societies and shelters from finding permanent, new, loving homes for abused animals until each criminal case is over — a process which can take years.


  • Bankrupt Oregon’s humane societies and shelters.

Tragically, cruelty cases often involve hundreds of animals. Providing food, housing, and medical care for animal abuse victims is very expensive. Without the ability to find permanent homes for these animals until after each lengthy case is over, the costs of this necessary care could easily bankrupt shelters and humane societies.

  • Keep abused animals in the hands of their abusers.

Because cruelty cases can take years to conclude, under MEASURE 3, authorities may be forced to reconsider rescuing abused animals due to the large financial costs of providing necessary care throughout a protracted criminal case.

  • Limit the costs of care recoverable for rescued animals.

MEASURE 3 could drastically limit the amount agencies can recover for the costs of care of abused animals. Agencies could even be forced into auctioning off rescued animals instead of being able to place them in the best new homes.


American Humane Association
Central Coast Humane Society
Klamath Humane Society
Florence Area Humane Society
Humane Society of the Willamette Valley
The Humane Society of the United States
Animal Legal Defense Fund (

[PD note: the above would be considered AR groups]

(This information furnished by Stephan K. Otto, Animal Legal Defense Fund.)


MEASURE 3 IS BAD FOR PETSThe Oregon Humane Society is the largest and oldest animal advocacy organization in Oregon. We urge you to vote no on Measure 3. A cruelty case involving multiple animals can easily cost an animal protection organization tens of thousands of dollars that can be better spent.

When animals are removed from cruel or neglectful situations in Oregon, it often falls on private or municipal animal shelters to care for them. Handling large cruelty cases can seriously impede the day-to-day operations of a busy shelter. Often dozens of dogs or cats can languish for months and even years until the case is resolved or goes to court. However, this situation was much improved in 1995 when a forfeiture clause was added to Oregon statutes. It insured that shelters would be either financially compensated by the owner or the animals would be released for adoption into new homes.

The people behind Measure 3 failed to consider how it would impact the resolution of Oregon animal cruelty and neglect cases.

If passed, Measure 3 would leave humane societies and animal shelters helpless in situations where large amounts of animals are seized.

Animals should not have to spend months or years behind bars for a crime they did not commit, paying the price with their lives. Cruelty cases happen in Oregon. Do not cripple the shelters charged with the care of the animals. Do not compromise the existing forfeiture laws that serve the animals well.

Please continue to support Oregon’s humane societies and animal shelters.



(This information furnished by Susan Mentley, Operations Director, Oregon Humane Society.)


Measure 3 Will Forfeit the Well-being of AnimalsAll animals are considered property under the law. Our companion animals don’t seem like property, but the law sees it differently. We all know that our relationships to our dogs and cats feel different than our relationship to our car but according to the letter of the law, they are one in the same. Computer, rabbit, television, horse — all are treated equally under the law. Under Ballot Measure 3, all property confiscated in criminal cases must be held until the trial is completed — INCLUDING ANIMALS.

Because most people don’t think of animals as property, the authors of Measure 3 probably never even considered the effect it would have on abused and neglected animals.

In a recent Oregon animal abuse case, dozens of starving cats and several dogs were confiscated from a home, where many were found dead. Under current law, a court found probable cause to believe that the animals were mistreated and the “owner” chose not to post bond covering the costs of care for them. The court was able to award permanent custody of the animals to the local humane society, enabling it to find them loving homes.

If Ballot Measure 3 passes, impounded abused and neglected animals would not be adoptable until after a criminal conviction, which might take months or even years. Caring for rescued animals for long periods of time would drain the budgets of animal shelters and humane societies, and ultimately discourage rescue of abuse victims.

For most people, our companion animals are more like our children than they are like our cars or vacuum cleaners, and we consider ourselves more as their guardians than as their owners. However, in the eyes of the law, animals are merely property and Measure 3 would have dire consequences for some of them. This measure must be defeated. [PD note: notice the AR language, “more like our children”….]

Vote NO on Measure 3


(This information furnished by Nicole Paquette, Animal Protection Institute; Sheri Speede, In Defense of Animals.)


Ballot Measure 3 is a wish list for all criminals. They seek to diminish the effects of forfeiture on their criminal activity.

Currently the State of Oregon’s forfeiture laws allow for the seizure and forfeiture of:

– vehicles of repeat DUII offenders.
– property used in illegal activities such as manufacturing drugs
– money gained from illegal activities; and
– vehicles used to solicit prostitution

Animal shelters use forfeiture to gain permanent custody of rescued animals that have been abused or neglected.

If you do not engage in any of the above activities Measure 3 will do nothing to protect your property rights. It increases the rights of criminals who obtain property illegally. What does that mean for us as citizens?

– Drug houses in our neighborhoods will continue to operate. Existing tools to shut them down will be taken away.- Our children, friends and family will continue to be victims of DUII.

– Animal shelters will not have the means to rescue abused and neglected animals.

– Innocent property owners will bear the burden for cleaning up dangerous waste from the manufacturing of illegal drugs.

Current forfeiture process includes safeguards such as, the Asset Forfeiture Oversight Committee, no forfeiture without judge or jury approval and continual review of forfeiture cases are just a few.

Most of the $330,000 raised for this measure came from outside Oregon. We live and work in Oregon. We are Oregon’s Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police. We are your neighbors, our children attend the same schools and we live in this community.

It is our responsibility as Oregonians to ensure that law enforcement has the appropriate tools to protect everyone in our community. Measure 3 protects the property rights of criminals. Help us continue to protect law-abiding citizens. VOTE NO on 3.

The Sheriffs of Oregon Committee
Oregon Police Chiefs for Safer Communities

(This information furnished by Greg Brown, Sheriff, Deschutes County, The Sheriffs of Oregon Committee; Steven Winegar, Oregon Police Chiefs for Safer Communities.)


We are Oregonians who live in a Portland neighborhood where a drug dealer operated out of his house for many years. We oppose Ballot Measure 3 because it limits law enforcement’s ability to shut down drug houses.

Imagine buying a house in a neighborhood. You like the area, it’s safe for your children and you feel safe there. A neighbor moves in. Something is wrong. There is traffic in your neighborhood at all hours. You become suspicious and you are in communication with the police. You note license plate numbers and anything that seems out of place. You are constantly vigilant. Being at home becomes a second job.

The dealer on our street was dealing large quantities of cocaine and had guns. The house was ordered forfeited due to work done by a local drug task force investigating the dealer. Without forfeiture, the dealer, who owns numerous properties, might have returned to our neighborhood to continue his activities after his release from prison in two or three years. Or the drug house could have continued to be operated by his associates while he served his prison term. The best thing for our neighborhood was that he lost the house.

Forfeiture as it exists today already has safeguards for homeowners. That is why it took several months to forfeit the dealer’s house after his arrest.

Measure 3 would reduce enforcement against high level dealers who use houses to sell drugs. It would prohibit funds to be used for law enforcement. The task force who helped us needs forfeiture funds to continue its work. The proponents want to stop drug house forfeitures by eliminating funding for drug task forces. It is unlikely that already limited state and local budgets will replace these funds. [PD note: this seems to be a non factual argument]

Drug houses in neighborhoods affect livability, devalue property and bring unknowns into neighborhoods. Forfeiture is used by law enforcement to protect innocent property owners like us.Protect our neighborhoods. VOTE NO on 3.

(This information furnished by Brian J. Porter, Donna Faye Porter, Jeanne M. Petrella.)


Mothers Against Drunk Driving urges you to vote NO on Measure 3.

In Oregon vehicle forfeiture is a proven tool utilized by the criminal justice system. This tool helps communicate swiftly and consistently the message that drunk driving is not an option in Oregon.Counties who currently have forfeiture laws are successfully reducing injuries and fatalities attributable to intoxicated drivers.

Offenders forfeit their vehicles only after they are given many chances and warnings. How many DUII’s constitutes too many? If the first time someone drinks and drives and it results in the death of your family member or friend, then the first time is one too many.

Changing the standards of forfeiture would directly effect a valuable tool necessary in the fight against drinking and driving. The criminal justice system uses forfeiture to remove weapons from the hands of repeat DUII offenders. Forfeiture is a fair and effective process as it is currently applied in the State of Oregon.

Contrary to popular belief the majority of our members are not volunteers. They were recruited in the cruelest possible way, the death of a loved one. A mother whose 13-year-old daughter was killed by an intoxicated driver with three previous DUII convictions founded MADD in 1980. Our mission is to stop impaired driving, support victims of this violent crime and prevent underage

MADD has been successful in helping to make our streets safer from DUII however the problem still exists:

In 1998, impaired drivers killed 15,935 people in the U.S., 223 in Oregon.On the average an impaired driver injures one person every 30 seconds.

At the current rate two of every five Americans will be involved in an alcohol related crash during their lives.

Forfeiture in the State of Oregon has helped prevent unnecessary deaths and injuries caused by repeat DUII offenders. Please help us preserve this invaluable tool. VOTE NO on 3.  [PD note: this opposition is nonsensical]

(This information furnished by Sandra Nelson, State Chair, Mothers Against Drunk Driving Oregon; Jeanne Canfield, Vice Chair, Oregon MADD.)


Vote No on Ballot Measure 3As a Portland City Commissioner, I introduced the first ordinance in the country to take away the cars of repeat drunk drivers. The effect in Portland was dramatic. From 1994 to 1995 while drunk driving was on the increase nationally, we saw a 42 percent decrease in drunk driving in Portland.

I strongly believe in the effectiveness of vehicle forfeiture as a simple, common sense tool for law enforcement to keep drunk drivers off the road. Last year, according to the Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 16,000 people were killed in alcohol-related accidents.

People are frustrated and dismayed that chronic offenders continue to drive drunk. They should be. People who repeatedly drive drunk should lose their cars because, in their hands, a car is a weapon.

We will never know the feelings of the people whose lives have been snuffed out by drunk drivers. But consider how their loved ones feel about drunks who destroy the lives in family after family because no one will take cars away from them.

Take away the cars of repeat drunk drivers and keep the forfeiture laws in place!

Please vote NO on Ballot Measure 3.

Earl Blumenauer
Member of Congress

(This information furnished by Earl Blumenauer, Member of Congress.)


State Attorney General Hardy Myers and District Attorneys in 11 Oregon counties ask you to VOTE NO on Measure 3.

– Organized crime is in it for the money. Forfeiture laws help take the profit out of criminal enterprises that sell drugs or
exploit prostitutes. Measure 3 will put profit back in crime.– Forfeiture is used to take cars away from people who repeatedly drive while drunk. DUII forfeiture was enacted in
Portland in 1994 and strengthened in 1999. This year DUII deaths are at an all time low. Measure 3 will blunt this tool.

– Oregon’s forfeiture law allows your elected city and county representatives to use assets seized from criminals to support
local law enforcement. Measure 3 will cripple many drug-fighting task forces and directly affect the livability of
   your community.

– Oregon’s forfeiture law contains many built-in safe guards to protect innocent persons and avoid abuses. This includes
attorney fees for innocent property owners and a requirement that the property has to be a major component in the
facilitation of the crime. Measure 3 is unnecessary.

– Animal shelters gain permanent custody of rescued animals suffering from abuse or neglect by using forfeiture. Measure
   3 fails to distinguish animals from other types of property, thus it will invalidate Oregon’s current animal
   friendly law.

Oregon’s forfeiture law is the result of over a decade of debate and continual adjustment. Its 38 pages include numerous safeguards. Measure 3, in only three pages, will lock Oregon law into a poorly conceived Constitutional Amendment with complex and far reaching consequences.

Please join us in VOTING NO on 3.

Attorney General Hardy Myers
District Attorneys:
Michael Schrunk, Multnomah County
Dale Penn, Marion County
Josh Marquis, Clatsop County
Doug Harcelroad, Lane County
Michael Dugan, Deschutes County
Clay Johnson, Josephine County
David Allen, Morrow County
Paul Burgett, Coos County
Jason Carlile, Linn County
John T. Sewell, Hood River
Steve Atchison, Columbia County

(This information furnished by Attorney General Hardy Myers; Michael D. Schrunk, Multnomah County District Attorney; Dale Penn, Marion County District Attorney; Josh Marquis, Clatsop County District Attorney; Doug Harcelroad, Lane County District Attorney; Michael Dugan, Deschutes County District Attorney; Clay Johnson, Josephine County District Attorney; David Allen, Morrow County District Attorney; Paul Burgett, Coos County District Attorney; Jason Carlile, Linn County District Attorney; John T. Sewell, Hood River District Attorney; Steve Atchison, Columbia County District Attorney.)

Oregon Animal Protection Laws Remain Unhampered by State Supreme Court Ruling

October 24th, 2006

ALDF Disappointed by High Court’s Decision on Measure 3; Remains Confident in the Integrity of Abused Animal Forfeiture Laws 

DogSalem, Ore. — [L]ate last week, the Oregon Supreme Court, in a fractured 4-3 decision, upheld controversial State Ballot Measure 3 (2000), which restricted the forfeiture of property seized by law enforcement agencies. The measure also inadvertently created some legal confusion as to the ability of animal shelters to continue, under existing animal protection laws, to find new homes for abused animals that had been rescued, and to be able to recoup, from the defendant, the high costs of caring for these animals. The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) determined that these animal protection laws were not impacted by Measure 3, as the measure strictly applied to civil forfeiture proceedings, not to the criminal forfeiture of abused animals…..
Arguments in Favor

Explanatory Statement

State Measures

Table of Contents


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