[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Noise — See Ch. 170.
STATE LAW REFERENCES
Vaccination of dogs and cats required — See NMSA 1978, § 77-1-3.
Searches and seizures — See N.M. Const. Art. II, § 10.
Article I Release of Predatory Animals
Article II Animal Control
[Adopted 10-18-2007 by Ord. No. 07-06]
[Amended 3-13-2014 by Ord. No. 14-04]
This article may be cited as the "County of Otero Genera Ordinance."
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The act of setting free to roam at large.
As used herein, the phrase "predatory animals of genera Canis lupus, including Canis lupus baileyi (e.g., Mexican wolf and/or Southwestern wolf), Ursus (e.g., grizzly bear) and Felis (e.g., jaguar)" shall exclude the following: domestic feral cats that have been spayed and returned to the wild.
[Amended 3-13-2014 by Ord. No. 14-04]
[Amended 3-13-2014 by Ord. No. 14-04]
It shall be unlawful to import for release into the wild, or release into the wild, within Otero County or into the adjacent region surrounding Otero County predatory animals of the genera Canis lupus, including Canis lupus baileyi (e.g., Mexican wolf and/or Southwestern wolf), Ursus (e.g., grizzly bear) and Felis (e.g., jaguar).
Any person, firm or entity convicted of a violation of the provisions of § 105-3 of this article shall be deemed guilty of a petty misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $300 and/or imprisonment of no more than 90 days, or both, for each offense.
[Adopted 12-13-2012 by Ord. No. 12-05]
This article may be cited as the "Otero County Animal Control Ordinance" and is referred to hereinafter as "this article."
It is the intent of the Board of County Commissioners that enactment of this article will protect animals from neglect and abuse, will protect residents from annoyance and injury, will encourage responsible ownership of animals as pets, and will assist in providing housing for animals in an animal shelter. It is the intent of the Board of County Commissioners to organize and utilize advisory groups to assist with improving public awareness about subjects pertaining to the enactment of this article.
As stated in this article, the following definitions shall apply unless otherwise specified:
- To leave an animal for more than 24 hours without making effective provisions for its proper feeding, watering, shelter and care on one's premises, or to dump or leave off any animal on property other than one's own without the consent of the owner of the property where the domestic animal is left and without making provision for the adequate feeding, watering and shelter of the domestic animal.
- The retrieval of any animal from the County-designated animal shelter by choice and assumes responsibility for proper care in accordance with this article.
- Any vertebrate member of the animal kingdom except humans.
- ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER
- The Sheriff of Otero County or any person designated as such by the Otero County Sheriff who shall be deputized to enforce animal control laws, orders, ordinances and regulations or any person designated as the Otero County Animal Control Unit Officer.
- ANIMAL CONTROL UNIT
- The staff, facility, programs, pound, lot, premises, and buildings maintained by the County, or its agent, for the implementation of the control and care of animals.
- ANIMAL FIGHTING
- Any fight between cocks or other birds, or between dogs, bulls, bears or any other animals, or between any such animal and a person or persons.
- ANIMAL NUISANCES
- Any animal habitually or continuously barking, howling, or otherwise disturbing the inhabitants of Otero County, or are kept and/or maintained in a manner as to disturb by noxious or offensive odors, or otherwise endanger the health and welfare of the inhabitants of Otero County.
- To bite or scratch or chase.
- An actual puncture, tear, or piercing of the skin or clothing inflicted by the teeth of an animal. A scratch inflicted by the claws of an animal that results in tearing of flesh or clothing will also be treated as a bite for the purposes of quarantine.
- Permitting, either intentionally or unintentionally, a female dog or cat to produce offspring.
- CANINE HYBRID
- Any animal which, because of its pure wolf or pure coyote ancestry, cannot be vaccinated against rabies effectively.
- Detainment or isolation of an animal, securely fenced, kenneled or caged.
- The unincorporated areas within the jurisdictional boundaries of the County of Otero.
- COUNTY MANAGER
- The County Manager of Otero County or his/her designated representative(s).
- Care/or responsibility. It does not mean physical control, confinement or restraint.
- DANGEROUS ANIMAL
- Any of the following:
- DOMESTIC ANIMAL
- Includes dogs, cats, wolf hybrids, coyote hybrids, domestic ferrets and other animals commonly known and kept as domestic pets.
- A parcel of land completely surrounded at the perimeter by a wall or fence of sufficient height and strength to contain animals within or by an electric or invisible fencing that effectively contains the animal.
- A place of business together with its grounds and equipment.
- EXOTIC ANIMAL
- An animal of a species not commonly kept as a household pet or for food and fiber production. Exotic animals may or may not be native to the area and may or may not be governed by existing wildlife regulations. Exotic animals include, but are not limited to, tigers, lions, cheetahs, leopards and other wild cats, snakes, alligators, crocodiles, bears, wolves, foxes, coyotes, or nonhuman primates.
- GROOMING PARLOR
- An establishment or part thereof maintained for the purpose of performing cosmetic services for animals, including, but not limited to, bathing, brushing, grooming and nail trimming.
- GUARD DOG
- A dog that is used to protect a commercial property, but excludes a dog used exclusively to guard livestock.
- To allow stray animals to accumulate on one's premises by feeding them without making effective provisions as required by this article for their restraint, vaccinations, socialization, sterilization or other care.
- One or more individuals, related or not, occupying the premises and/or residing at one street address.
- The taking into custody or confinement in a facility designated for the keeping or confinement of such animals.
- A commercial establishment operating where dogs or cats are boarded, kept, or maintained; or sold or bred for either resale to commercial outlets or for the purposes of research, testing, or laboratory experimentation.
- Horses, cattle, llamas, pigs, sheep, goats, rabbits, fowl, ratites, or any other domestic animals typically used in the production of food, fiber, or other products or activities defined by the County Commission or their designee as agricultural. Livestock are exempt from articles included in this article unless specifically addressed as applies to article.
- MICROCHIP IMPLANT
- A passive electronic device that is injected into an animal by means of a hypodermic-type syringe device. Each microchip shall contain a unique and original number that is read by an electronic scanning device for purposes of animal identification and recovery by the animal's owners.
- MICROCHIP READER
- An electronic scanner with an operating frequency that is able to detect a microchip that has been implanted in an animal and displays the number of the microchip to its operator.
- OWNER/CARETAKER/RESPONSIBLE PERSON
- A person 18 years of age or older or the parent or guardian of a person under 18 years of age, group of persons, or business entity who owns, harbors, keeps an animal, has one in his care, or permits any animal to remain on or about the premises owned or controlled by him. "Owner" shall also mean any governmental entity owning, keeping, or harboring any animal which has been kept in captivity or confinement for more than 30 consecutive days.
- An individual, household, firm, partnership, corporation, company, society, association or legal entity and every officer, agent or employee thereof.
- PET SHOP
- Any premises, or part thereof, open to the public which engages in the purchase, sale, exchange or hire of animals of any type, except the term shall not apply to shelters or premises used exclusively for the sale of livestock.
- Any chicken, duck, goose, turkey or similar bird.
- A parcel of land and the structures thereon.
- PROFESSIONAL ANIMAL ESTABLISHMENT
- Any kennel, grooming parlor, or pet shops with the exception of state inspected veterinary hospitals and federally inspected laboratory facilities and zoos.
- A. A dog trained or being trained by a recognized school for training dogs to assist persons with disabilities; or
- B. An animal recognized as a service animal pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; or
- C. Any other animal approved by the Governor's Committee on Concerns of the Handicapped as acceptable in public places and trained to provide some special assistance to a person with a disability.
- Detention or isolation of an animal in order to observe for rabies.
- RABIES SUSPECT ANIMAL
- Any animal which has been exposed to or is suspected of having been exposed to rabies through a bite by any other animal or through contact with any other animal known or reasonably suspected to be infected with rabies. Any such animal is subject to state regulation and/or statute.
- The retrieval of a domestic animal from the animal shelter by its owner or responsible person.
- To legally set free from danger.
- Keeping any animal under the immediate control of a responsible person on a leash or lead.
- RUNNING AT LARGE
- Being on private or public property other than that belonging to, occupied by, or controlled by the owner of the animal and the animal is not under the physical control of the owner or not obedient to the owner's commands.
- A nonprofit animal facility operated by the County or member of a recognized animal humane association for the purpose of bringing aid and comfort to five or more dogs or cats, and where animals are not bred.
- The Otero County Sheriff or his/her designee.
- To be rendered permanently incapable of reproduction.
- STERILIZATION DEPOSIT
- A fee that is charged by the animal shelter when a person reclaims, adopts or rescues an unsterilized animal.
- An animal found running at large.
- To tie an animal with a rope or chain to restrict its movement.
- Protection provided against rabies by inoculation with a vaccine as required by NMSA 1978, § 77-1-3.
- VICIOUS ANIMAL
- Any animal that without provocation attacks, bites, seriously injures or kills a person or other animal. Any animal that without provocation has bitten or attacked a human being or other animal shall be prima facie presumed vicious.
- WILD ANIMAL
- A living creature that is untamed or domesticated in a natural state.
No person shall keep, own, or harbor any member of the canine or feline species over 12 weeks of age within this County unless that dog or cat is vaccinated against rabies. Every such dog or cat shall be vaccinated against rabies within 30 days upon any person harboring owning or taking custody of said animal. Upon request or demand by the Sheriff or his designee, every owner shall provide proof of the animal's rabies vaccination. Any veterinarian who vaccinates domestic animals for rabies shall issue a serially numbered tag and certificate for each vaccination. Each domestic animal must be revaccinated before the expiration of the first and each subsequent rabies vaccination period.
No person may keep any domestic animal with any symptom of rabies. Any person observing an animal with any symptom of rabies shall notify the Animal Control Officer or the Otero County Sheriff's Department immediately.
Sterilization is recommended for dogs and cats over the age of six months.
Every dog or cat reclaimed, adopted or rescued from the County animal control shelter shall be spayed or neutered by a licensed veterinarian at the expense of the responsible party or obtain an intact animal permit.
In addition to any other lawful fees due, any person reclaiming a dog or cat from the County shelter shall pay a sterilization fee equivalent to the County's actual cost for sterilization plus a five-percent administrative fee for the County animal shelter provider.
Sterilization agreement and deposit required.
In addition to any adoption fee charged, a sterilization deposit of at least $25 shall be imposed on the adoption of each animal from an animal shelter.
Animals less than six months of age shall be released only upon payment of the adoption fee and a sterilization deposit and after the adopting person has signed an agreement stating he will have the adopted animal sterilized when it is no older than six months of age.
Adult animals over the age of six months shall be released only upon payment of the adoption fee and a sterilization deposit and after the adopting person has signed an agreement stating he will have the animal sterilized within 30 days of the date of adoption.
The sterilization deposit shall be reimbursed only upon presentation of a receipt from a veterinarian that the adopted animal has been sterilized.
An unsterilized animal reclaimed by its owner shall be released without being sterilized upon payment of at least the $25 for the sterilization deposit and impoundment fees imposed by the shelter, and the owner shall sign an agreement stating he will sterilize the animal or will obtain an intact animal permit within 30 days after release. The sterilization deposit shall be reimbursed upon presentation by the owner of a receipt from a veterinarian that the animal has been sterilized or presentation of the intact animal permit.
Tethering of animals; tethering devices.
A rope, chain, or other device may be used to tether a dog or other animal on one's property, provided the following criteria are met:
The device must be affixed to the animal by use of a nonabrasive, comfortably fitted collar or harness.
The device must be at least 10 feet long. The device must be fastened so the animal can sit, walk and lie down comfortably; and must be unobstructed by objects that may cause the device or animal to become entangled or strangled. Any chain or tether shall have swivels on both ends.
The animal must have easy access to adequate shade, shelter, food and potable water.
Tethering an animal must be done humanely as not to cause behavioral or physical changes and/or cruelty to the animal. No chain or tether shall weigh more than 1/8 of the dog's weight.
The area where the animal is confined must be kept free of garbage and other debris that might endanger the animal's health or safety. Feces shall not be allowed to accumulate and shall be cleaned up by the owner.
The area where the animal is confined must be kept free of insect infestation, such as ant hills, wasps' nests, and flea, tick and maggot infestations.
Nothing in this section shall be construed as allowing any animal under physical restraint to commit any act defined as unlawful in this article.
A person who uses electric or invisible fencing designed to confine an animal to his property must clearly post a notice in two separate locations upon the property that such a device is in use.
The presence of any uninvited dog or cat upon public property or the private property of any person other than its owner shall be prima facie evidence that the owner has violated the provisions of this section, and shall make such animal liable to surrender to an Animal Control Officer as would apply to the case of a dog running at large.
Animal identification. All dogs and cats that are impounded as strays shall be required to have microchips implanted when reclaimed by their owner, adopted or rescued. Animal identification through microchips and/or tags are encouraged as a means of returning lost or stray animals to their owners, as is registration of the animal's description, owner's name, address, and telephone number, with veterinarians or a national registry.
Care and maintenance of animals.
It is unlawful for a person to fail, refuse and/or neglect to provide any animal in his charge or custody with such care and husbandry as to maintain the good health and well-being of the animal. Such care and husbandry shall include, but not be limited to, adequate wholesome food, provided daily, fresh potable water, available at all times, clean adequate living area, shade, professional veterinary care and necessary grooming.
To maintain good health and protection from weather elements, any animal, except livestock, that are routinely kept outside, shall be provided with a structurally sound, weatherproof enclosure, large enough to accommodate the animal comfortably.
Animal waste. The owner or keeper of animals, such as dogs, cats or any small household animal, shall maintain a watertight and flytight receptacle for feces from such animals which shall be emptied frequently and in such a manner so as to prevent a nuisance or health hazard. Such receptacles shall be securely covered at all times except when opened to deposit feces. No feces will be allowed to accumulate except in such receptacles.
Animals biting persons.
The owner of an animal that bites a person and a person bitten by an animal has a duty to report that occurrence to the Animal Control Unit within 24 hours of the occurrence. The owner of an animal that bites a person shall surrender said animal to an Animal Control Officer if the officer deems it necessary to impound said animal for a period of observation.
A physician who renders professional treatment to a person bitten by an animal shall report to the Sheriff or his designee that he has rendered professional treatment within 24 hours of his first professional attendance. The physician shall report the name and address of the person bitten as well as the type and location of the bite. The physician shall report the name and address of the owner of the animal that inflicted the bite, if known, and any other facts or details that may assist the Animal Control Unit in ascertaining the immunization status of the animal.
An animal that bites a person shall be confined securely at a place and for a period of time deemed necessary by the Animal Control Officer. The owner of the animal shall bear the cost of confinement.
The Animal Control Officer may take up and impound the animal into protective custody for the period of the quarantine, and the owner shall pay all related costs of the impoundment prior to reclaiming the animal.
The Animal Control Officer may consent to confinement of the animal on the owner's premises. The premises where the home confinement is to occur shall be inspected and approved for such purpose by the Animal Control Officer. The owner of the animal shall be required to enter into an indemnity agreement on a form approved and prescribed by the County Commission for such home confinement.
If the animal shows signs of sickness or abnormal behavior, or if the animal escapes confinement, the person shall immediately notify the Animal Control Unit. The person having custody of an animal that dies during the confinement period shall notify the Animal Control Unit and surrender the carcass of the animal immediately to an Animal Control Officer.
Abandonment. It is unlawful for a person to intentionally abandon an animal.
It is unlawful for a person to allow an animal to persistently or continuously bark, howl or make noise common to their species or otherwise disturb the peace and quiet of inhabitants of the County for more than 60 consecutive minutes.
No person may keep any animals and/or livestock in unclean or unsanitary conditions or in such numbers so as to result in noxious or offensive odors or accumulations of feces, urine or other bodily wastes that disturbs others or confine the animals in such conditions so as to become unmanageable or potentially vicious.
No owner or responsible person of any domestic animal shall allow that animal to defecate upon public property or upon any private property other than the property of the owner of the animal without thoroughly and immediately removing and disposing of the feces.
Animals at large.
It is unlawful for a person to allow or permit any animal to run at large in or on any alley, street, sidewalk, vacant lot, public property, other unenclosed place in the County, or private property without permission of the property owner.
An animal permitted to run at large in violation of this section is declared to be a nuisance and a menace to the public health and safety. Such animal may be taken up and impounded. An officer may not enter a private building or residence in pursuit of an animal without permission of the owner.
A working dog performing such acts as herding or search and rescue that is under the control and supervision of the owner or handler shall not be considered as unleashed while performing or being trained for its duties. A hunting, obedience, tracking or show dog that is under the control and supervision of the owner or handler shall not be considered as unleashed while performing in or being trained for those capacities.
Animals transported in vehicles.
It is unlawful for a person to carry an animal in or upon any vehicle in an unsafe manner.
If an Animal Control Officer determines that an animal in a closed vehicle is in immediate danger or serious injury or death, the officer may enter the vehicle, by whatever means necessary, and impound the animal into protective custody.
Breaking into animal control facilities or vehicles. It is unlawful for a person to break into any pound, center, facility or vehicle wherein animals are impounded, or to in any manner remove or assist in the removal of any animal or equipment from such.
Cruelty to animals. Cruelty to animals shall consist of the placement of an animal in a circumstance which endangers or puts the animal at substantial risk of loss of life or limb. It includes, but is not limited to the following:
Torturing, tormenting, poisoning, mutilating, cruelly killing or overdriving any animal.
Depriving of shelter to an animal to the extent it endangers or could endanger the life of said animal.
Depriving any animal of necessary food and/or drink.
Abandonment or dumping of an animal.
Placement of an animal in a vehicle or other confined area whereby it is subjected to extreme temperatures or conditions.
Vicious or dangerous animals.
It shall be unlawful to maintain or harbor a vicious/dangerous animal in a manner which constitutes a threat to any person or other animal. All vicious/dangerous animals must be securely confined in escape-proof locked structures and the owner must post warning signs warning people to remain a safe distance from said animals. Any person attacked by a vicious/dangerous animal may use reasonable force to repel the attack. Any Animal Control Officer who determines that the present conditions of confinement for a vicious/dangerous animal do not meet the above standards and that a present substantial danger to the public exists may, consistent with the constitutional rights of the owner, take control of said animal and confine it in a humane and safe cage, pending further court action.
It is unlawful for any person to keep or harbor a vicious animal. When an Animal Control Officer has probable cause to believe that an animal is vicious, the officer may, consistent with the constitutional rights of the owner, impound the animal into protective custody awaiting appropriate court proceedings. Following judicial determination that an animal is vicious, the court having jurisdiction over the enforcement of this article shall, in addition to any fine or imprisonment imposed for violation of this section, order the owner or keeper of such vicious animal to destroy it humanely or turn such animal over to the Sheriff or his designee for destruction.
An Animal Control Officer or Sheriff's deputy who learns of a stray vicious or dangerous animal within the County, which is a threat or potential threat to human life, is authorized to destroy said stray, vicious or dangerous animal if he is unable to capture said animal without any substantial danger to himself or others.
Unlawful use of vaccination certificates. No person may remove any vaccination tag from one domestic animal to another, or manufacture or cause to be manufactured or to possess or control a stolen, counterfeit or forged animal vaccination certificate or tag.
Exotic animal registration.
This article shall not apply to municipal zoos and aquarium facilities, veterinary facilities, or individuals holding a State of New Mexico wildlife rehabilitation or educational use permit.
Any person may hold or keep an exotic animal as defined in this section in the unincorporated areas of the County under the following conditions and/or any person who lawfully holds or keeps an exotic animal as defined in this sections prior to the effective date of this article may maintain that individual animal until its death under the following conditions:
The keeping of exotic animals, such as tigers, lions, and cheetahs or other wild cats, snakes, alligators, bears, wolves, foxes, coyotes, or nonhuman primates shall require a permit issued by the County. The application for an exotic animal permit and annual permit fee must be submitted to the County within 60 days of the effective date of this article. A permit will be issued for all or part of a calendar year and must be renewed at least 15 days prior to the expiration date.
Annual inspection of the premises at which the animals are kept will be conducted at the discretion of the County.
Certification of experience or proof of attendance at a recognized husbandry course covering the species involved and permanent identification of each animal by microchip are required to obtain a permit.
Housing, including perimeter fencing surrounding interior pens and buildings, shall be used to provide a safe and secure environment appropriate to the species. Exotic animals that may pose a threat to humans or pets must be confined behind a locked fence of sufficient height and materials to securely contain the animal and prevent risk to the animal and public.
The keeping of poisonous snakes and rare or endangered species listed by the state is prohibited without a permit from the State Department of Wildlife and registration with the County.
The keeping of rare or endangered species listed by the federal government is regulated by federal law.
Exotic animals must be under the control of a legally competent person at all times.
The keeping of exotic animals for exhibit or educational purposes is governed by the Unite States Department of Agriculture. Owners and exhibitors must also abide this article requiring permits, identification, and housing.
Transporting exotic animals. Exotic animals must be confined in a crate in a closed, locked vehicle to prevent opportunities for escape and in a manner sufficient to prevent children from coming into contact with the animal through an open window in the vehicle.
Procedure when exotic animals run at large.
Owners must notify the authorities of the escape of an exotic animal that poses a threat to people, pets, or the environment immediately after the escape is discovered.
Depending on the circumstances of the escape and the threat posed, the exotic animal may be returned to the owner, held until the facility passes inspection, or confiscated or killed.
Agreements. The animal shelter shall not release any domestic animal for reclaim, adoption, or rescue unless the owner or responsible person signs a reclaim, adoption and rescue agreement, the form of which shall be titled "Appendix A" and shall be adopted by the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County in a resolution separate from this article. In accordance with § 105-7A, B and C of this article, the reclaim/adoption/rescue agreement shall:
Obligate the reclaiming/adopting/rescuing person to vaccinate any animal not proven to be vaccinated for rabies; and
Obligate the reclaiming/adopting/rescuing person to have a domestic animal older than six months of age sterilized or obtain an intact permit within 30 days of the date of reclaim/adoption/rescue.
Fees. Fees for licenses and permits required pursuant to this article shall be established and adopted annually through resolution by the Board of County Commissioners.
Authority of the Animal Control Officer. Animal Control Officers will be properly trained and, subject to constitutional limitations, shall have the following authority:
To require responsible persons to exhibit proof of rabies vaccination for any dog, cat or domestic ferret in their custody.
To enter upon private property to affix any summons, notice or official document upon the door of any residence occupied by a responsible person.
To enter upon any premises or go upon unenclosed parcels of land, enter any pen, enclosure, yard or vehicle to enforce this article. However, the Officer must personally view any violation proscribed by this article that would place a domestic animal in immediate peril. Furthermore, the Officer may enter only to the extent necessary for the immediate rescue of an imperiled animal.
Animal Control Officer may not enter any building, dwelling or place of business without the permission of the owner. However, nothing in this section limits the authority of an Animal Control Officer pursuant to a warrant issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Responsibilities of the Animal Control Officer.
The Animal Control Officer shall make every attempt to impound any domestic animal that he or she finds running astray and not under the control of the owner or responsible person.
The Animal Control Officer may destroy any dog he or she finds in the act of pursuing or wounding livestock or wounding and killing poultry or attacking humans.
The Animal Control Officer shall detain any domestic animal exhibiting symptoms of rabies. The Animal Control Officer shall have any such animal tested for rabies by the New Mexico Department of Health.
The Animal Control Officer must obtain proper training for duties and responsibilities required as an Animal Control Officer to apprehend, handle and care for animals.
An Animal Control Officer may detain and impound in the designated animal control facility a stray or any animal kept or maintained contrary to the requirements of this article.
If a stray, domestic animal is wearing a license, collar, antirabies tag, has an identifying tattoo, microchip or is otherwise identifiable, the animal shall be impounded for at least three days. During the three days of impoundment, the animal shelter shall attempt, at least once daily, to notify the animal's owner(s) or responsible person(s) of the impoundment by either direct communication or oral or written message. Further, the animal shelter shall not release the animal for adoption during the three days of impoundment.
If an owner or responsible person contacts the animal shelter before expiration of the impoundment period, but cannot arrange to reclaim the animal before the impoundment period expires, the animal shelter shall assist the owner or responsible person in making alternative arrangements, at the owner or responsible person's expense.
The owner or responsible person shall be responsible for all impound fees, boarding fees, and other costs whether or not the animal is reclaimed.
Any stray which is not reclaimed and cannot be adopted may be euthanized in accordance with the impound facility's regulations.
The animal may be confined in accordance with the facilities regulations.
The directors of such facility shall maintain, as required by statute, a record of all animals impounded. At least the following information shall be included:
Owners requesting removal of an animal shall be required to sign an owner's release at the time of impoundment.
If a stray animal is not wearing a current rabies tag and is deemed critically injured or critically ill by an Animal Control Officer, the officer may deliver the animal to the Otero County Humane Society for euthanasia. A report must be filed with the Sheriff. A properly trained and equipped Animal Control Officer may euthanize said animal if he/she believes it's necessary.
Whenever an Animal Control Officer finds that any animal is or will be without adequate care because of injury, illness, incarceration or other absence of the owner or person responsible for the care of such animal, the Sheriff or his designee may take up such animal for protective care. The owner of the animal may reclaim the animal after paying all required fees and costs imposed by the impound facility. If the animal is unclaimed at the end of the protective custody period, the animal may be humanely destroyed or otherwise disposed of by impound facility.
The owner of any impounded dog or cat that has not been vaccinated as required by this article may redeem the animal by paying for the rabies vaccination plus impoundment charges at the animal shelter. The owner will be allowed 96 hours to get such animal vaccinated. If such owner fails to procure a vaccination certificate within such 96 hours, the paid vaccination fee shall be forfeited and the animal may be impounded again.
Procedures for complaints.
A complaint alleging any violation of this article may be filed with the Sheriff's office by a person who has personal knowledge of such violation and who can identify the owner of the animal involved or the premises where the animal is located. The Sheriff or his designee may require the complainant to provide his name and address and swear to and affirm the complaint.
An Animal Control Officer must include all findings in the investigation report narrative and submit a copy to all parties involved.
Procedure for Sheriff and Animal Control Officers.
The Sheriff or his deputies shall have the authority, and are directed to investigate upon probable cause, any alleged violation of this article or of any law of the State of New Mexico relating to the care, treatment, control and prevention of cruelty to animals.
An Animal Control Officer shall wear a uniform and shall carry appropriate identification.
In enforcing this article, the County's personnel shall observe all of the legal rights granted its citizens under United States or New Mexico law, including citizens' constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. All such searches and seizures shall be conducted in such a manner as to protect the citizens' rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article II, § 10, of the New Mexico Constitution. These protections require that the officer have consent of the person or a warrant to enter upon private property or that such entry be in accordance with a recognized exception to the warrant requirement. If an officer receives a complaint of a violation, or observes a violation, he/she may only enter the property if such entry is done in conformance with the above constitutional requirements. Where legally recognized exigent circumstances exist to justify such an entry and a warrant cannot reasonably be obtained by the officer, he/she can enter the premises to the extent justified by law. For example, exigent circumstances exist where an animal appears to have been abandoned, as defined in this article, and the officer reasonably believes it is necessary to protect the life and safety of the animal; the officer may enter the property to detain the animal.
Whenever a deputy or an Animal Control Officer has probable cause to believe that a person has violated this article, the Animal Control Officer may prepare a criminal complaint to be filed with the appropriate court or prepare a citation for the alleged violator to appear in court. The citation shall contain the name, date of birth, address and telephone number, if known, of the person violating this article, the driver's license number of such violator, if known, the code section allegedly violated, and the date and place when and where such person allegedly committed the violation, and the location where such person shall appear in court and the deadline for appearance. The Animal Control Officer shall present the citation to the person he has probable cause to believe violated the code section in order to secure the alleged violator's written promise to appear in court by having the alleged violator sign a copy of the citation. The Animal Control Officer shall deliver a copy of the citation to the person promising to appear.
Penalties. Any violation of this article shall constitute a petty misdemeanor and shall be punishable by a fine up to $500 and/or imprisonment up to six months, or both.
Suspensions and revocations of permits.
When the Sheriff discovers that a permitted premises is in violation of this article, he shall give notice of the violations to the permit holder, operator or person in charge by means of an inspection report or other written notice. The notification shall:
Set forth each specific violation.
Establish a specific and reasonable period of time for the correction of the violation.
State that failure to comply with a notice issued in accordance with the provisions of this article may result in immediate suspension or revocation of the permit.
State that an opportunity for appeal from a notice or inspection findings will be provided if a written request for a hearing is filed with the Sheriff's office within five days of receipt of the notice.
Notices under this section shall be deemed properly served and received when the original inspection report or other notice has been personally served on the person in charge, or sent by registered or certified mail to the last known address of the permit holder.
Permits may be suspended for failure of the holder to comply with the requirements of this article or other applicable laws, ordinances or regulations. The suspension may be lifted when the Sheriff's office determines the violations have been corrected.
Permits may be revoked for serious or repeated violations of the requirements of this article, or for violation of other applicable laws, ordinances or regulations. A permit shall be revoked for one year. The permit shall be surrendered to the Animal Control Unit upon suspension or revocation.
A person whose permit has been suspended may apply for an inspection of the premises for the purpose of reinstating the permit. If the applicant and the site are in compliance with the requirements of this article and all other applicable laws, ordinances and regulations, the permit shall be reinstated. The reinstated permit shall expire on the date of expiration of the previously-suspended permit.
If an exotic or wild animal permit is suspended or revoked, all animals received, purchased, owned or kept under the authority of the permit shall be surrendered to the Animal Control Officer for impoundment. After a period of at least seven days, if the violations of this article which resulted in suspension or revocation of the permit have not been corrected, the County Commission or his/her designee may sell or dispose of the animal(s) as provided in this article. The applicant may appeal the suspension or revocation in the manner provided in § 105-13C of this article.
Appeal procedures for permit denial, suspension or revocation.
A person whose application for a permit or permit renewal has been approved on condition or denied and a permit holder, whose permit has been suspended or revoked, may submit to the County Manager a written request for a hearing. The written request must be received within 10 days of the applicant's receipt of the written notice from the County. The hearing shall be conducted within a reasonable time after the County Manager receives the request for a hearing.
Hearings shall be conducted by a Hearing Officer at a time and place designated by the County Manager and shall be recorded. All witnesses shall be sworn or affirmed. Written notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be mailed to the applicant and the County Manager.
The applicant shall be afforded a fair hearing which provides the basic safeguards of due process which shall include:
The opportunity to examine before the hearing and, at the expense of the applicant, to copy all documents, records and regulations of the Sheriff's office that are relevant to the hearing. Any document not made available by the Sheriff's office, after written request by the applicant, may not be relied upon by the Sheriff's office at the hearing.
The right to be represented by counsel or other persons chosen as his representative.
The right to present evidence and arguments in support of his appeal to controvert evidence relied on by the Department, and to confront and cross-examine all witnesses on whose testimony or information the County Manager relies.
A decision based solely and exclusively upon the facts presented at the hearing.
The Hearing Officer shall prepare a written report of his findings and decision within 10 days after the hearing and shall provide copies to the parties.
The Sheriff of Otero County or his designee shall be responsible for the enforcement of this article. The Sheriff shall have the discretion to name a designee and describe the duties of said designee in accordance with New Mexico law and Otero County ordinances and policies.