February 27, 2003





HOUSE BILL No. 1882

_____


DIGEST OF HB 1882 (Updated February 25, 2003 9:15 PM - DI 107)



Citations Affected: IC 15-5; IC 35-46; noncode.

Synopsis: Dog attacks. Specifies that a dog owner may be held civilly liable if the owner's dog attacks someone, even if the attack occurs on the dog owner's property. Provides that the owner of a dog that attacks another person may be criminally liable for failing to reasonably restrain the dog, even if the dog attack occurs on the dog owner's property.

Effective: July 1, 2003.





Pierce, Foley , Bardon




    January 23, 2003, read first time and referred to Committee on Judiciary.
    February 26, 2003, amended, reported _ Do Pass.






February 27, 2003

First Regular Session 113th General Assembly (2003)


PRINTING CODE. Amendments: Whenever an existing statute (or a section of the Indiana Constitution) is being amended, the text of the existing provision will appear in this style type, additions will appear in this style type, and deletions will appear in this style type.
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HOUSE BILL No. 1882



    A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning agriculture and animals.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:

SOURCE: IC 15-5-12-1; (03)HB1882.1.1. -->     SECTION 1. IC 15-5-12-1 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2003]: Sec. 1. If a dog, without provocation, bites any person who is peaceably conducting himself in any place where he the person may be required to go or has the authority to go for the purpose of discharging any duty imposed upon him the person by the laws or regulations of this state, or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States of America, or the postal regulation of the United States of America, the owner of such dog may be held liable subject to civil liability for any damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.
SOURCE: IC 35-46-3-6; (03)HB1882.1.2. -->     SECTION 2. IC 35-46-3-6, AS AMENDED BY P.L.76-2002, SECTION 3, IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2003]: Sec. 6. (a) This section does not apply to a violation of section 1 of this chapter.
    (b) Any law enforcement officer or any other person having authority to impound animals who has probable cause to believe there

has been a violation of this chapter or IC 15-5-12-3 may take custody of the animal involved.
    (c) The owner of an animal that has been impounded under this section may prevent disposition of the animal by an animal shelter that is caring for the animal by posting, not later than ten (10) days after the animal has been impounded, a bond with the court in an amount sufficient to provide for the animal's care and keeping for at least thirty (30) days, beginning from the date the animal was impounded. The owner may renew a bond by posting a new bond, in an amount sufficient to provide for the animal's care and keeping for at least an additional thirty (30) days, not later than ten (10) days after the expiration of the period for which a previous bond was posted. If a bond expires and is not renewed, the animal shelter may determine disposition of the animal, subject to court order. If the owner of an animal impounded under this section is convicted of an offense under this chapter, or IC 15-5-12-3, the owner shall reimburse the animal shelter for the expense of the animal's care and keeping. If the owner has paid a bond under this subsection, the animal shelter may euthanize an animal if a veterinarian determines that an animal is suffering extreme pain.
    (d) If the owner requests, the court having jurisdiction of criminal charges filed under this chapter or IC 15-5-12 shall hold a hearing to determine whether probable cause exists to believe that a violation of this chapter or IC 15-5-12 has occurred. If the court determines that probable cause does not exist, the court shall order the animal returned to its owner, and the return of any bond posted by its owner.
    (e) This subsection applies only to livestock animals. Whenever charges are filed under this chapter, the court shall appoint the state veterinarian under IC 15-2.1-2-50 or the state veterinarian's designee to:
        (1) investigate the condition of the animal and the circumstances relating to the animal's condition; and
        (2) make a recommendation to the court under subsection (f) regarding the confiscation of the animal.
    (f) The state veterinarian or the state veterinarian's designee who is appointed under subsection (e) shall do the following:
        (1) Make a recommendation to the court concerning whether confiscation is necessary to protect the safety and well-being of the animal.
        (2) If confiscation is recommended under subdivision (1), recommend a manner for handling the confiscation and disposition of the animal that is in the best interests of the animal.


The state veterinarian or the state veterinarian's designee who submits a recommendation under this subsection shall articulate to the court the reasons supporting the recommendation.
    (g) The court:
        (1) shall give substantial weight to; and
        (2) may enter an order based upon;
a recommendation submitted under subsection (f).
    (h) If a person is convicted of an offense under this chapter, or IC 15-5-12, the court may impose the following additional penalties against the person:
        (1) A requirement that the person pay the costs of caring for an animal involved in the offenses that are incurred during a period of impoundment authorized under subsection (b).
        (2) An order terminating the person's right to possession, title, custody, or care of an animal that was involved in the offense.
    (i) If a person's right to possession, title, custody, or care of an animal is terminated under subsection (h), the court may:
        (1) award the animal to a humane society or other organization that has as its principal purpose the humane treatment of animals; or
        (2) order the disposition of the animal as recommended under subsection (f).
SOURCE: IC 35-46-3-14; (03)HB1882.1.3. -->     SECTION 3. IC 35-46-3-14 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2003]: Sec. 14. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) and subject to section 16 of this chapter, an owner of a dog commits a Class C misdemeanor if the owner recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally fails to take reasonable steps to restrain the dog and:
        (1) the dog enters property other than the property of the dog's owner; and
        (2) as the result of the failure to restrain the dog, the dog bites or attacks another person, resulting in unprovoked bodily injury to the other person.
    (b) The offense under subsection (a) is:
        (1) a Class B misdemeanor if the person has been convicted of one (1) previous unrelated violation of this section;
        (2) a Class A misdemeanor if:
            (A) the person has been convicted of more than one (1) previous unrelated violation of this section; or
            (B) the violation results in serious bodily injury to a person;
        (3) a Class D felony if the owner recklessly violates this section

and the violation results in the death of a person; and
        (4) a Class C felony if the owner intentionally or knowingly violates this section and the violation results in the death of a person.

SOURCE: IC 35-46-3-15; (03)HB1882.1.4. -->     SECTION 4. IC 35-46-3-15 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2003]: Sec. 15. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) and subject to section 16 of this chapter, if a dog, without provocation, bites any person who is peaceably conducting himself in any place where the person may be required to go or has the authority to go for the purpose of discharging any duty imposed upon the person by the laws or regulations of this state, the laws or regulations of the United States of America, or the postal regulation of the United States of America, the owner of the dog commits a Class C misdemeanor, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.
    (b) The offense under subsection (a) is:
        (1) a Class B misdemeanor if the dog owner has been convicted of one (1) previous unrelated violation of this section;
        (2) a Class A misdemeanor if:
            (A) the dog owner has been convicted of more than one (1) previous unrelated violation of this section; or
            (B) the violation results in serious bodily injury to a person;
        (3) a Class D felony if the dog owner recklessly violates this section and the violation results in the death of a person; and
        (4) a Class C felony if the dog owner intentionally or knowingly violates this section and the violation results in the death of a person.

SOURCE: IC 35-46-3-16; (03)HB1882.1.5. -->     SECTION 5. IC 35-46-3-16 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2003]: Sec. 16. An owner of a dog does not commit an offense under section 14 or section 15 of this chapter if:
        (1) the dog commits the act described in section 14 or section 15 of this chapter while owned by:
            (A) the United States;
            (B) an agency of the United States; or
            (C) a governmental entity (as defined in IC 34-6-2-49);
        and while engaged in assisting the owner or the owner's agent in the performance of law enforcement or military duties; or
        (2) the dog bites a person while the person is committing a

misdemeanor or felony.

SOURCE: IC 35-46-3-17; (03)HB1882.1.6. -->     SECTION 6. IC 35-46-3-17 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2003]: Sec. 17. If a law enforcement officer or any other person having authority to impound animals has probable cause to believe that there has been a violation of section 14 or section 15 of this chapter, section 6 of this chapter applies.
SOURCE: IC 15-5-12-3; IC 15-5-12-4; IC 15-5-12-5.
; (03)HB1882.1.7. -->     SECTION 7. THE FOLLOWING ARE REPEALED [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2003]: IC 15-5-12-3; IC 15-5-12-4; IC 15-5-12-5.
SOURCE: ; (03)HB1882.1.8. -->     SECTION 8. [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2003] IC 15-5-12-1, as amended by this act, applies only to causes of action arising after June 30, 2003.