PARDALIS & NOHAVICKA CRIMINAL PROCEDURE LAW UPDATE:
Trooper, While Rescuing Abused Beagle Puppies In Yard, Legally Seizes Pot Plants With No Warrant
State Police responded to a 911 call for animal abuse. Passing by the house, a State Police Trooper saw six barking beagles (four being puppies) in a feces-filled pen without food, water, or shelter, on a hot day. The dogs appeared to be suffering, and he entered the yard to assist the pets. He heard more barking coming from the backyard and proceeded to investigate. In the course of the rescue, the Trooper spotted illegal herbage being grown in the backyard and inside an empty above-ground pool. Some plants were as tall as the roof. The owner was arrested and immediately tried to have the case dismissed claiming that search and seizure was illegal because the Trooper had no warrant.
The Court disagreed. Applying the Emergency Doctrine to animals, the Court ruled that, “The Trooper was thus authorized to go to the backyard to ascertain the situation in order to determine whether immediate action was necessary to alleviate needless suffering or avoid irremediable harm to the dogs.” A warrant was not necessary.
Animal Rescue removed the abused pets.