TITLE 3

Agriculture

Domestic and Foreign Animals, Birds, Reptiles and Insects

CHAPTER 79. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS CONCERNING ANIMALS


(a) Incorporation. — The Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a Delaware corporation.

(b) Objects. — The objects of the Society are to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the State and to conduct educational or other programs as specified in its bylaws.

(c) Powers. — The Society shall have the power to enforce all laws enacted for the protection of animals; to purchase, print and circulate books and publications designed to promote the objects of the Society; to appoint or employ such agents or employees as the Board of Directors may from time to time deem necessary; to sue and be sued, in its corporate name, in any court in this State or elsewhere; to exercise all of the legal incidents common to a body corporate, including the right to use a seal, to receive legacies and donations, to acquire by purchase and transfer by sale, lease or mortgage real estate or any interest therein; to make and perform contracts of every kind with any person, corporation, government, state, county or municipality which are designed to promote the objects of the Society.

(d) Offices. — The principal office of the Society shall be located in the County of New Castle, but the Society is authorized and empowered to establish branch offices at any place or places within the State.

(e) Existence. — The Society shall have perpetual existence.

(f) Management. — The affairs of the Society shall be conducted by a Board of Directors, the size, selection, and tenure of which shall be prescribed in the Society's bylaws, and whose powers and duties are as described in the bylaws and as otherwise given by the laws of this State to corporate directors.

(g) Membership. — Membership in the Society shall be open to all persons interested in the objects of the Society; provided, however, that the bylaws may prescribe conditions of membership, including an annual dues or assessment. The private property of the members of the Society shall not be subject to the payment of Society debts to any extent whatsoever.

(h) Officers. — The officers of the Society shall be selected by the Board of Directors and shall be those officers provided for in the bylaws.

(i) Bylaws. — The Society shall have the power to adopt a code of bylaws and said bylaws shall be binding upon the Society and its members until modified or rescinded as provided for in its bylaws.

Code 1935, § 2556; 49 Del. Laws, c. 256, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 118, §§ 1, 2; 78 Del. Laws, c. 282, § 1.;

The constables of the several counties of this State, and the police force of the City of Wilmington, as well as all other places in the State where police organizations exist, shall, as occasion requires, assist the Kent County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or The Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, their members or agents, in the enforcement of all laws which are enacted for the protection of dumb animals.

14 Del. Laws, c. 477, § 6; Code 1915, § 2237; Code 1935, § 2561; 3 Del. C. 1953, § 7904; 60 Del. Laws, c. 209, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 283, § 11; 78 Del. Laws, c. 266, § 9.;

All fines, penalties and forfeitures, imposed and collected in any county of the State under every act relating to or affecting cruelty to animals, in every case where the prosecution shall be instituted and conducted by the Kent County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and The Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, shall enure to such Society in aid of the purposes for which they were incorporated.

16 Del. Laws, c. 382, § 3; Code 1915, § 2239; Code 1935, § 2563; 3 Del. C. 1953, § 7905; 60 Del. Laws, c. 209, §§ 3, 4; 70 Del. Laws, c. 283, § 11.;

Any warrant of arrest, or other process, issued under or by virtue of the several laws in relation to cruelty to animals may be directed to and executed by any agent so appointed by either the Delaware or Kent County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of this State. No compensation shall be paid to the agent except by the societies.

18 Del. Laws, c. 246; Code 1915, § 2249; Code 1935, § 2573; 3 Del. C. 1953, § 7906; 60 Del. Laws, c. 209, §§ 5, 6; 70 Del. Laws, c. 283, § 11; 77 Del. Laws, c. 393, § 1.;

(a) Any agent in Sussex and New Castle Counties of this State, so appointed by the Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or in Kent County of this State, so appointed by the Kent County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or any law enforcement officer as defined in § 222 of Title 11, may, in instances of alleged acts of animal cruelty and as provided for by the laws of Delaware relating to seizure of property, impound in the appropriate S.P.C.A. shelter or, if required, in an appropriate veterinarian facility, any animal subjected to cruel mistreatment or cruel neglect. Should the owner or custodian of an animal not be available at or near the premises where the animal is located, upon taking an animal under this section the agent shall leave in an appropriate place written notice to the animal's owner or custodian of such action. Societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals shall take all reasonable action to insure that owners or custodians of an animal, impounded under this section, shall have received notice of such action as soon as possible and no later than 24 hours after the impoundment.

(b) An animal impounded under this section shall not remain in the custody of the appropriate Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals longer than 48 hours and shall be returned to its owner or custodian unless a complaint is filed within the 48-hour period in the appropriate court under the animal cruelty laws against the owner or custodian, except that upon good cause shown a court may permit a reasonable extension of the 48-hour period not to exceed 30 days. When a complaint is filed in the appropriate court, the impounded animal shall remain in the custody of the appropriate Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals pending the outcome of the action. If the owner or custodian is found to be in violation of the animal cruelty laws the court shall make a final determination as to the disposition of the animal. Should the complaint be withdrawn, prior to a court hearing, the animal shall be immediately made available to its owner or custodian.

(c) Upon a determination that probable cause exists to believe that the animal cruelty or animal fighting laws have been violated by the owner or custodian of any impounded animal, the State and/or the appropriate Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shall have the right to recover the costs of holding and caring for any animal impounded under this section from the owner or custodian of the animal. Upon impoundment, the State or appropriate Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shall submit a detailed billing to the owner or custodian of the animal, listing the monthly costs of boarding, evaluation, veterinary and other costs associated with care. Notwithstanding any provision of this section or any other law to the contrary, failure of the animal's owner or custodian to pay these costs within 30 days of the receipt of a detailed monthly billing will result in ownership of the animal reverting to the State or to the appropriate Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The provisions of this subsection shall be applicable notwithstanding the final disposition of the criminal charges.

(d) An owner or custodian of an animal impounded under this section who is found guilty of cruelty to the animal, and the court orders the animal returned to such owner or custodian, shall, prior to taking the animal, reimburse the appropriate Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals its regular standard fees charged for the care of animals while in the Society's custody plus any veterinary fees incurred for the animal during the period of impoundment. Failure of the animal's owner or custodian to pay such fees within 5 days after a finding of guilty will result in ownership of the animal reverting to the appropriate S.P.C.A...The S.P.C.A. may then dispose of the animal in accord with its procedures for such disposition.

(e) Should an animal which has been impounded under this section expire while in the custody of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the animal shall, as soon as possible, be turned over to the State Veterinarian at the Department of Agriculture. The State Veterinarian shall take whatever action necessary, including autopsy if required, to determine cause of the animal's death and shall record such cause. The cause of death shall, if requested, be furnished to the animal's owner and to the court handling the complaint relative to the animal. Disposition of the animal's remains shall be coordinated with the animal's owner and, provided a complaint has been filed, with the court handling the complaint.

63 Del. Laws, c. 104, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 283, § 11; 73 Del. Laws, c. 238, §§ 6-8; 79 Del. Laws, c. 374, § 1.;