New Mexico Statutes Chapter 77. Animals and Livestock § 77-18-2. Seizure and disposition of cruelly treated livestock

A. If a livestock inspector or other peace officer has reason to believe that livestock is being cruelly treated, the inspector or peace officer may apply to a court in the county where the livestock is located for a warrant to seize the allegedly cruelly treated livestock.

B. On a showing of probable cause to believe that the livestock is being cruelly treated, the court shall issue a warrant for the seizure of the livestock and set the matter for hearing as expeditiously as possible within thirty days unless good cause for a later time is demonstrated by the state.  Seizure as authorized by this section shall be restricted to only those livestock allegedly being cruelly treated.  The board by rule shall establish procedures for preserving evidence of alleged cruel treatment of livestock.

C. If criminal charges are filed against the owner, the court shall, upon proper petition, proceed to determine if security is required to be posted pursuant to Section 30-18-1.2 NMSA 1978 .  Otherwise, the judge or magistrate executing the warrant shall notify the board, have the livestock impounded and give written notice to the owner of the livestock of the time and place of a hearing to determine disposition of the livestock.

D. All interested parties, including the district attorney, shall be given an opportunity to present evidence at the hearing, and if the court finds that the owner has cruelly treated the livestock, the court shall order the sale of the livestock at fair market value or order humane destruction.  If the livestock is ordered sold, the sale shall occur within ten days of the order.  If the court does not find that the owner has cruelly treated the livestock, the court shall order the livestock returned to the owner.

E. If the court orders the sale of the livestock, the board shall take proper action to ensure the livestock is sold at fair market value, including acceptance of reasonable bids or sale at auction.  A bid by the owner of the livestock or the owner's representative shall not be accepted.

F. Proceeds from the sale of the livestock shall be forwarded to the court ordering the sale.  From these proceeds, the court shall pay all expenses incurred in caring for the livestock while it was impounded and any expenses involved in its sale.  Any excess proceeds of the sale shall be forwarded to the former owner.  If the expenses incurred in caring for and selling the livestock exceed the amount received from the sale, the court shall order the former owner to pay the additional cost.


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