Y’all may have noticed a drought as such hit Roaming The Range recently. I have spent some time back home this month.

My best friend and I were introduced by our mothers on the first day of first grade. They had known each other quite a while. My mom had been her class president in ’57 while his was the same class’s secretary. Those are some ties that bind.

My best friend’s mom passed away back in February. His dad passed away a couple of weeks ago. His 2014 has been especially tough.

But both of those sad occasions generated the opportunity for me to celebrate their wonderful lives with ones still here as well as celebrating the lives of those still dear though not always near. They also reminded me of the importance of the strength of roots in enabling folks to weather the storms of everyday living, or to fly far and wide. That’s something I’m especially thankful for.

Y’all enjoy the ride.

AVMA Ebola Virus FAQ

In the last couple of days, several pieces of information have been issued in the Ebola Virus world.

The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) has published a couple of guides for their members. Plus their Ebola Virus FAQ covers several aspects of the questions of animals and Ebola.

One point that might allay some folks’ fears comes from a study that found no virus in dogs that were studied in a Gabon outbreak that occurred in 2001-2002.

Also a very good discussion of Ebola and Dogs covers the scientific evidence on the subject. I think the information on this page is presented in an understandable manner. No easy feat with this topic.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held another conference call on the matter yesterday. They have a specific page devoted to the concerns of parents and school officials. Their FAQ on Ebola and pets and other animals can be found here.

The last item in this update of responses to the ebola situation that I’d like to note is that the Governor’s Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Council is meeting 10 AM Nov 7 in the AZ Public Health Lab Conf Room.

Stay safe. But remember to enjoy the ride.

Timing Has A Lot To Do With The Success Of A Rain Dance

I hadn’t planned on visiting the subject of Animals in the Road and the various legal ramifications again any time soon. But as the title of this post denotes, “Timing has a lot to do with the success of a rain dance” which is right up there with another veterinary truism – “Strike while the iron’s hot.” So I’ll take the hint and spend just a little more time on the subject.

At 0443 today my phone was ringing. Most of you probably understand that’s no big surprise. On the other end was an officer along a highway (again, not a surprise) who had attended last Friday’s Table Top Exercise. Now the story starts to get interesting. Remember I talked about how many trailers loaded with hundreds of thousands of animals are traveling the roads every day?

The SGT in question has been working the graveyard shift for a few weeks now. Early this morning a part of the eastern horizon in this young man’s patrol area lit up a little earlier and a little smaller than usual. Guess what? A trailer load of fat cattle had caught on fire!



As you can see from the picture aluminum melts when it gets hot enough, say from a burning rubber tire. And yes, there were cattle in the compartment involved.

Fortunately with quick thinking and quick acting, losses were kept to 2 animals.

No doubt training played a role (with a little luck) in minimizing the losses. Just 3 days prior the SGT had received instructions not only on the legal ramifications of the situation, but also the practical, tactical information on how to swiftly and humanely euthanize various species in circumstances such as this. What’s that adage about people making their own luck? and all things come to him who waits – provided he hustles while he’s waiting? And no doubt the benefit of modern comm tech was huge. I was looking at stills and video within 10 minutes of the initial call.

The point I’ll ask your indulgence for me to make plainly, is because ADA-ASD-SVO staff had put on the training exercise, have been doing the leg work in building bridges to other agencies and communities, and spending effort urging other folks and groups to get involved in livestock matters, the SGT involved in this situation was prepared to deal with the mess effectively, safely and quickly.

I think that says a lot about this group’s ability to build functional response capacity across the state. For me, that’s a very gratifying moment.

Remember to enjoy the ride.

Seizure and Property Destruction

As a follow up to last week’s exercise concerning animals in the road, I thought I’d post some of the various statutes and rules that pertain in these situations, especially ones concerning seizures and destruction of private property. I’m trying to convey a “legal lay of the land” if you will.

So I’ll be highlighting laws of dominion and ownership, movement requirements, disease control, etc. Remember, most of these are excerpts, not the full statutory verbiage. I encourage you to do your research. And be forewarned – this is a long one.

The Constitution of the United States. Amendment V.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Livestock and Ownership Law

ARS 3-1201. Definitions.

4. “Equine” means horses, mules, burros and asses.
5. “Livestock” means cattle, equine, sheep, goats and swine, except feral pigs.
7. “Poultry” means any domesticated bird, whether live or dead, and includes chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, guineas, ratites and squabs.
8. “Range” means every character of lands, enclosed or unenclosed, outside of cities and towns, upon which livestock is permitted by custom, license or permit to roam and feed.
9. “Range livestock” means livestock customarily permitted to roam upon the ranges of the state, whether public domain or in private control, and not in the immediate actual possession or control of the owner although occasionally placed in enclosures for temporary purposes.

ARS § 3-1293. Procedure for owner to authorize another person to deal with animals; violation.

A. A person who desires to authorize another person to gather, drive or otherwise handle animals bearing the recorded brand or mark owned by the person granting the authority, or animals of which he is the lawful owner but which bear other brands or marks, shall furnish the other person an authority in writing which lists the brands or marks authorized to be handled, and authorizes the other person to gather, drive or otherwise handle the animals described.

ARS § 3-1291. Bill of sale required in transfer of livestock.

Upon the sale or transfer of livestock, except dairy calves under thirty days of age, delivery of the animals shall be accompanied by a written and acknowledged bill of sale from the vendor to the purchaser.

ARS § 3-1261. Adoption and recording of brand and earmark; brand as property right; sale or transfer.

A. Every person owning range livestock in this state shall adopt and record a brand with the division with which to brand such livestock. Branding shall be performed by a hot iron, freezing, acid or any other method that will result in a permanent mark. Any person owning range livestock may also record an earmark with which to mark such livestock as long as the earmark is not recorded for use by neighboring range livestock owners. Sheep shall be marked distinctly with a mark or device sufficient to distinguish them. Every owner of other animals may adopt a brand or earmark with which to brand or earmark such animals.

ARS § 3-1340. Unbranded livestock kept in close confinement; shipment, sale and inspection.

A. Owners of livestock, other than equines, who do not have a recorded brand and who maintain their animals in close confinement not exceeding ten acres may transport their animals to livestock auctions licensed in this state, feedlots licensed in this state or slaughter plants licensed in this state without first having those animals inspected if the shipment does not exceed five cattle or calves or ten sheep.
B. Animals shipped, conveyed or transported under this section shall be accompanied by proof of ownership, such as auction invoices or inspection certificates which the owner received at the time of purchase.

ARS § 3-1336. Inspection of livestock to be slaughtered, sold or transported; fee; violation; classification.

A. Except as otherwise provided in this section, livestock, other than equines and livestock inspected at feedlots or dairies pursuant to section 3-1337, shall not be slaughtered, sold, purchased, driven, transported, shipped or conveyed unless the animals have been inspected by a livestock officer or inspector for health, brands and marks before they are slaughtered, sold, purchased, driven, transported, shipped or conveyed and the inspection fee paid.

ARS § 3-1401. Definition of stray animal.

“Stray animal” as used in this article means livestock, bison or ratites whose owner is unknown or cannot be located, or any such animal whose owner is known but permits the animal to roam at large on the streets, alleys, roads, range or premises of another without permission, except that this section does not apply to livestock where the principles of a federal permit, federal allotment or federal lease are in dispute.

Seizure and Destruction

 ARS § 3-1371. Seizure of livestock by a livestock officer.

Livestock officers shall seize livestock, except unweaned animals running with their mothers, wherever found and when the livestock officer questions the livestock’s ownership. The question of ownership may be raised in the following circumstances:
1. The livestock is not branded as required by this chapter.
2. The ownership of the livestock is questioned by another person.
3. The livestock has brands so mutilated, indistinct, burned or otherwise disfigured as to be difficult of ascertainment.
4. The livestock bears a brand which is not recorded.
5. The livestock is freshly branded and not found with its mother.
6. The livestock has a brand or mark which is not the recorded brand or mark of the owner.
7. The livestock is that which is known as “leppys,” “orejanas,” “sleepers,” “dogies” or “mavericks.”
8. Other circumstances raising questions as to the livestock’s ownership.

ARS § 3-1205. Control of animal diseases…

B. The state veterinarian may enter any place where a suspected animal or poultry may be and take custody of the animal or poultry for the purpose of determining the presence of a contagious, infectious or communicable disease.
C. The director may direct the state veterinarian and agency employees to:
2. Destroy animals or poultry when necessary to prevent the spread of any infectious, contagious or communicable disease.

ARS § 3-1742. Entry upon premises to inspect animals; condemnation of diseased animals.

A. The state veterinarian and inspectors may enter any place where an animal may be and take custody of the animal to examine it for contagious disease, including tuberculosis. Custody may be retained for the purpose of applying the tuberculin test to the animal.
B. If the animal reacts to the test, the inspecting officer may immediately condemn the animal and order it destroyed.

ARS § 3-1721. Petition of seizure; notice of seizure; lien for expenses; forced sale; disposition of proceeds; nonliability of state; neglect or cruel treatment of equine; civil penalty; legal representation.

D. On failure of the owner to be awarded immediate, expense-free possession of the equine pursuant to subsection C of this section, the department shall either sell the equine at public auction or, if the equine’s condition makes its sale impractical, dispose of the equine in the most humane manner possible.

AAC R3-2-605. Quarantine for Animals Entering Illegally.

B. The State Veterinarian may request that an imported animal failing to meet entry requirements be returned to the state of origin, consigned directly to slaughter, confined to a designated feedlot, or consigned to a feedlot in another state within two weeks of the request. Any extension to this time-frame shall be approved in writing by the State Veterinarian.

Severity of Infractions

ARS § 3-1307. Unlawfully killing, selling or purchasing livestock of another; classification; civil penalty; exception.

A. A person who knowingly kills or sells livestock of another, the ownership of which is known or unknown, or who knowingly purchases livestock of another, the ownership of which is known or unknown, from a person not having the lawful right to sell or dispose of such animals, is guilty of a class 5 felony.
B. A person who knowingly attempts to take or does take all or any part of a carcass of any such animal, pursuant to subsection A, for such person’s own use, the use of others or for sale is guilty of a class 5 felony.
C. In addition to any other penalty imposed by this section, a person depriving the owner of the use of his animal or animals under subsection A or B of this section shall be liable to the owner for damages equal to three times the value of such animal or animals.
D. This section shall not apply to taking up animals under the estray laws.

ARS § 13-2910. Cruelty to animals; interference with working or service animal; classification; definitions.

A. A person commits cruelty to animals if the person does any of the following:
2. Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly fails to provide medical attention necessary to prevent protracted suffering to any animal under the person’s custody or control.
H. For the purposes of this section:
2. “Cruel mistreatment” means to torture or otherwise inflict unnecessary serious physical injury on an animal or to kill an animal in a manner that causes protracted suffering to the animal.
3. “Cruel neglect” means to fail to provide an animal with necessary food, water or shelter.

Traffic Control

ARS § 28-858. Approaching horses and livestock.

A person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway and approaching a horse-drawn vehicle, a horse on which a person is riding or livestock being driven on the highway shall exercise reasonable precaution to prevent frightening and to safeguard the animals and to ensure the safety of persons riding or driving the animals. If the animals appear frightened, the person in control of the vehicle shall reduce its speed and if requested by signal or otherwise shall not proceed further toward the animals unless necessary to avoid accident or injury until the animals appear to be under control.

Liability Protections

ARS § 32-2261 Emergency aid; nonliability.

“Any person licensed or certified pursuant to this chapter who gratuitously and in good faith gives emergency treatment to a sick or injured animal at the scene of an emergency shall not be liable in damages to the owner of such animal in the absence of gross negligence.”

ARS § 26-314(C) Immunity of state, political subdivisions and officers, agents and emergency workers; limitation; rules.

“Emergency workers engaging in emergency management activities… shall have the same degree of responsibility for their actions, and enjoy the same immunities and disability workers’ compensation benefits as officers, agents and employees of the state… Coverage is provided if the emergency worker is acting within the course and scope of assigned duties and is engaged in an authorized activity, except for actions of wilful misconduct, gross negligence or bad faith.”

ARS § 26-353 Emergency response; immunity.

“A licensed, certified or authorized emergency responder and its employees at the scene of an emergency, when the emergency response is provided in good faith, have the immunities provided in section 26-314 in carrying out the provisions of this article”.

Agency Cooperation

ARS § 3-1379. Notification required on seizure by government agencies.

All federal, state and local governmental agencies shall notify the department within two hours of any seizure of any livestock or property in or on which livestock is present or when a person responsible for the care of any livestock is taken into custody and the person from the federal, state or local governmental agency knows that the person taken into custody is responsible for the care of any livestock.


How many of you noticed there is no language addressing humane euthanasia in situations like our table top exercise addressed? That’s correct. Not even the state veterinarian is vested with that power. The argument I put forth essentially boils down to avoiding criminal cruelty charges. Because if you are the authority and take custody of an animal, then you do not prevent protracted suffering, you are most certainly looking at an animal cruelty violation.

Think on that one while you enjoy the ride.