Court rules police can enter a home based on hearing an animal in distress

The animals got a legal victory last week – in a California state appeals court.

The ruling affirms law enforcement officers can enter a home without a search warrent if they hear an animal in distress.

I particularly like the following paragraph from the Chicago Sun-Times story

“”But the Second District Court of Appeal said Thursday that although pets are considered personal property, protecting them is a legitimate government concern.””

While I wish animals could gain a status beyond “personal property,” it’s good to read a court ruling that suggest protecting animals from harm is a legitimate government concern.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by D Gary Grady on June 9, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Note that this goes beyond protecting animals from abuse. Pretty much everywhere it’s legal for officers or firefighters or indeed pretty much anybody to enter a home if there is a strong, clear, legitimate reason to believe that someone inside is in grave and immediate danger, whether the danger is a criminal assault, a medical emergency, a fire, or what. An obvious example is someone yelling for help. This ruling extends that principle to animals crying out.

    Incidentally, a number of years ago there were reports (and I believe even a released recording) of a 911 center getting a call from a cat that had tried to take its flea collar off and managed to get it into a position that was choking it. Flailing about in terror, the cat managed to hit the 911 speed-dial button on a phone, and when the dispatchers heard what sounded like a distressed cat, they sent the police, who entered the otherwise vacant home, found the distressed cat, and rescued it. It was lucky the cat just happened to hit that speed dial. Then again, maybe cats know more than they’re letting on. I have personally seen one leap up, grasp a doorknob, and turn it. Maybe Steve Martin wasn’t joking when he said he caught his cat embezzling from him.


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