§ 603.032  Seizure and Impoundment of Animals for Fights, Poisoning, Cruelty, Neglect or Tethering; Hearing
   (a)   As used in this section:
      (1)   "Impounding Agency" means the City of Cleveland Division of Animal Care and Control or County Humane Society organized under RC 1717.05.
      (2)   "Offense" means a violation of any of the following sections: 603.072 "Illegal Fights between Animals"; 603.08 "Poisoning Animals"; 603.09 "Cruelty to Animals"; 603.091 "Neglect of Animals"; or 603.092 "Tethering Animals".
      (3)   "Officer" means any law enforcement, County humane agent, or Animal Control Officer in the City of Cleveland.
   (b)   An officer may immediately seize and cause to be impounded at an impounding agency an animal that the officer has probable cause to believe is the subject of an offense.
   (c)   The officer shall give written notice of the seizure and impoundment to the owner, keeper, or harborer of the animal that was seized and impounded within three (3) days of seizure if they can be found. If the officer is unable to give the notice to the owner, keeper, or harborer of the animal, the officer shall post the notice on the door of the residence or in another conspicuous place on the premises at which the animal was seized.
      (1)   If the seizure is for a violation of Sections 603.072, 603.08, 603.091, or 603.092 the notice shall include a statement that, upon written request by the owner, keeper, or harborer of the animal to the impounding agency, which is received by the impounding agency within five (5) calendar days of the notice of seizure and impoundment, a hearing will be held at the next available court date, or no later than three (3) days from the date the notice of a request for a hearing was received, whichever is earlier. If a hearing is not timely requested, the animal is deemed forfeited without hearing and the impounding agency may determine the disposition of the animal.
      (2)   If the seizure is for a violation of Sections 603.09 the notice shall include a statement that, upon written request by the owner, keeper, or harborer of the animal to the impounding agency, which is received by the impounding agency within ten (10) calendar days of the notice of seizure and impoundment, a hearing will be held at the next available court date, or no later than three (3) days from the date the notice of a request for a hearing was received, whichever is earlier. If a hearing is not timely requested, the animal is deemed forfeited without hearing and the impounding agency may determine the disposition of the animal.
      (3)   In either case, the notice shall also state that the hearing will be held to determine whether the officer had probable cause to seize the animal and, if applicable, to determine the amount of a bond or cash deposit that is needed to provide for the animal's care and keeping for not less than thirty (30) days beginning on the date on which the animal was seized and impounded.
   (d)   An animal that is seized under this section may be humanely destroyed immediately or at any time during impoundment or otherwise provided with veterinary care if a licensed veterinarian determines it to be necessary because the animal is suffering.
   (e)   (1)   If the owner, keeper, or harborer of the animal has requested a hearing in writing, the court shall hold a hearing to determine whether the officer impounding an animal had probable cause to seize the animal. If the court determines that probable cause exists, the court shall determine the amount of a bond or cash deposit that is needed to provide for the animal's care and keeping for not less than thirty (30) days beginning on the date on which the animal was impounded. If a hearing is not timely requested, the animal is deemed forfeited without hearing and the impounding agency may determine the disposition of the animal.
      (2)   If the court determines that probable cause does not exist, the court immediately shall order the impounding agency to return the animal to its owner if possible.
      (3)   If the court determines that probable cause exists and determines the amount of a bond or cash deposit, the case shall continue and the owner shall post a bond or cash deposit to provide for the animal's care and keeping for not less than thirty (30) days beginning on the date on which the animal was impounded. The owner may renew a bond or cash deposit by posting, not later than ten (10) days following the expiration of the period for which a previous bond or cash deposit was posted, a new bond or cash deposit in an amount that the court, in consultation with the impounding agency, determines is sufficient to provide for the animal's care and keeping for not less than thirty (30) days beginning on the date on which the previous period expired. If no bond or cash deposit is posted or if a bond or cash deposit expires and is not renewed, the impounding agency may determine the disposition of the animal unless the court issues an order that specifies otherwise. The notice provided in this section shall include notice that if no bond or cash deposit is posted or if the bond or cash deposit expires and is not renewed and the owner or person in control of the animal fails to appear for the hearing, the impounding agency may determine the disposition of the animal.
   (f)   If a person is convicted of committing an offense, the court may impose the following additional penalties against the person:
      (1)   A requirement that the person pay for the costs incurred by the impounding agency in caring for an animal involved in the applicable offense, provided that the costs were incurred during the animal's seizure or impoundment. A bond or cash deposit posted under this section may be applied to the costs.
      (2)   An order permanently terminating the person's right to possession, title, custody, or care of the animal that was involved in the offense. If the court issues such an order, the court shall order the disposition of the animal.
   (g)   If a person is found not guilty of committing an offense, the court immediately shall order the impounding agency to return the animal to its owner if possible and to return the entire amount of any bond or cash deposit posted under division (e) of this section. If the animal cannot be returned because it has been adopted or euthanized the impounding agency shall pay the fair market value of the animal at the time that it was impounded plus statutory interest as defined in RC 1343.03 from the date of the impoundment or an amount determined by the court to be equal to the cost of treatment of the injury to the animal, as applicable. The requirements established in this division regarding the return of a bond or cash deposit and the payment of the reasonable market value of the companion animal shall not apply in the case of a dog that was not registered, in accordance with applicable registration laws, at the time it was seized and impounded.
   (h)   If charges are filed for an offense described in this section against the custodian or caretaker of an animal, but the animal that is the subject of the charges is not impounded, the court in which the charges are pending may order the owner or person having custody of the animal to provide to the animal the necessities described in division (C)(5), (D)(2), and (E)(5) of RC 959.131 until the final disposition of the charges. If the court issues an order of that nature, the court also may authorize an officer or another person to visit the place where the animal is being kept, at the times and under the conditions that the court may set, to determine whether the animal is receiving those necessities and to remove and impound the animal if the animal is not receiving those necessities.
   (i)   Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to apply to an animal impounded under Section 603.03.
(Ord. No. 1572-14. Passed 12-8-14, eff. 12-10-14)