Seizure of property is something that many people do not understand, since it is often based off of Federal Forfeiture law…….much of it involving proceeds from seized drugs or property allegedly obtained from illegally gained monies. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/981#
…an asset forfeiture proceeding is a lawsuit by the government against the property, not against its owners.1 What this means in practice is that it does not matter whether the owner of the property is found guilty or has committed a crime at all–they can still lose their property to asset forfeiture.2 (see shouselaw.com, a criminal defense site)
To illustrate the harshness of this rule: the United States Supreme Court has held that it is okay for the government to seize a car jointly owned by a husband and wife because the husband had sex with a prostitute in the car … even though the wife had no idea he was using it for that purpose!3
In California, asset forfeiture most often takes place in connection with drug offenses, under the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Health & Safety Code Section 11000 et seq HS. Another major route to asset forfeiture in California is through the Control of Profits of Organized Crime Act, Penal Code 186.1 PC et seq.
Some examples of property that can be seized in criminal cases include:
- A weapon that Is involved in an assault with a deadly weapon or firearm;14
- Telecommunications or computer equipment used to commit a telecommunications or computer crime, such as internet fraud;15
- Animals, if someone is convicted of animal abuse and cruelty;16
- A weapon that Is Involved in a criminal conviction for carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle or on your person;17
- Vehicles used to transport goods bearing counterfeit trademarks, or machines used to manufacture those goods or the trademarks, if one is convicted of manufacture or sale of a counterfeit mark (Penal Code 350 PC); and
- certain property acquired through the violation of California’s dogfighting laws.18
If ANYONE has even dared to try and READ CA PC 597.1— you will find it is poorly written on purpose. CA has the largest criminal animal code in the USA and we are willing to bet that HSUS had most of it drafted. It was specifically patterned after the child welfare codes because you will NOT find a code, for example, that says someone can break into your car if they see a baby in a carseat in a car on a hot day, but there is a specific code for breaking into a car for a dog inside a car on a hot day?
The CA penal code for animal abuse includes seizing animals, period. Animal control only has to ACCUSE you of abuse to seize everything, a warrant is not normally required if the AC claims exigency. Now how is exigency determined? Normally some neighbor complains; then AC will come out, and if they already don’t like you, or think you are a breeder, or know you are a breeder, you’re practically convicted right there.
Although we don’t recommend letting AC into your house at all, and if they don’t have a warrant then they need to get one–we have seen cases where AC gets permission to come inside homes. Sometimes by bullying. OR AC or some humane group can GET a warrant based on probable cause….Hmmm………….would that make it sufficient? It depends how good the alleged probable cause is???
But then we get to the problem…..if AC can find 99 dogs in a kennel situation (we will pretend a valid kennel–) and 3 dogs that were not in good condition, can AC seize the 100 dogs? Well, we believe that if they were valuable dogs, AC would seize them all, and get help from rescue groups. If the dogs were in good condition, or are cute or small, the AC is even happier so they can sell them all faster. There is NO provision in the CA penal code on animal abuse, that says AC cannot seize them all, or that they must seize them all. However in practice, AC will definitely seize them all.**(see note below)
Because remember, seizure calls for paying the storage for the seized animals??? And guess who has to pay the storage? Owner, of course!
FAILURE to pay the storage timely will cause forfeiture of the animals. End of story. Nearly all seizures result in forfeiture from not being able to pay the storage which is usually in the range of $20k,30k,$40,000+ and most owners never pay the storage since it is ridiculously high, unless there was only one animal seized.
When a parent has children, and abuse of a child is alleged, CPS takes all the kids, not just the abused kid. So animal activists USE that theory in their seizure code!! Seizing all of the children leads to money for Fostercare.
Seizing all of the animals leads to $$$ for the groups that then sell the animals, especially purebreds and sought after designer breeds. [Knowing that activists don’t believe in selling, showing, trading, buying, or making any profit off the sales of animals, it is not surprising that AC or Humane groups would seize every living animal during a seizure–whether in good condition or not.]
Our argument is that the animals are not children, and if in fact only a few animals may need vet care but the others don’t, then the ones that don’t really need vet care should not need to be removed (seized)….. Instead. AC can have owner sign an agreement that AC will be back to check every so often, even randomly.
Yet large seizures are commonly done purposely to rack up the “trophy mentality” of many AC officers/humane groups (like HSUS, which used to frequently do raids on dog kennel owners on a monthly bases…HSUS had to stop doing so many raids after being caught in seizures/helping groups in seizures which were not likely valid..such as the one in Hawaii which resulted in lawsuit and settlement?)
** 16 Penal Code 597(g)(1) PC. (“(g)1) Upon the conviction of a person charged with a violation of this section by causing or permitting an act of cruelty, as defined in Section 599B, all animals lawfully impounded and seized with respect to the violation by a peace officer, officer of a humane society, or officer of a pound or animals regulation department of a public agency shall be adjudged by the court to be forfeited and thereupon shall be awarded to the impounding officer for proper disposition.
A person convicted of a violation of this section by causing or permitting an act of cruelty, as defined in Section 599B, shall be liable to the impounding officer for all costs of impoundment from the time of seizure to the time of proper disposition.“)