Animal control legislation could impact law enforcement in the Ozarks

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OZARK, Mo. -- Some changes to a couple of animal abuse laws in Missouri could affect not only animal abusers across the state, but law enforcement too.

It's House Bill 204, and it would change the law so that public health officials could no longer get a warrant and take someone's animal away when they are suspected of abuse. The bill would read that only law enforcement can do that.

"There is some counties that have animal control officers who are not sworn law enforcement officers," said Christian County, Sheriff Brad Cole. "It would take their ability away to do their jobs in these cases and put the burden directly on law enforcement."

Sheriff Cole says that could mean more money, and time.

"The money that they pay for their taxes now will have to be reallocated to cover the cost of this bill," said Cole.

Greene County Republican Representative Sonya Anderson introduced the bill and says theses changes would "fix a very bad law."

In an email she says, in part, this bill "protects the welfare of confiscated animals, reinforces a citizen's right to due process and protects the innocent"

Sheriff Cole believes the bill has good intentions, he just wish there was better communication.

"I just wish the sponsor of the bill would've reached out to law enforcement had more contact with law enforcement and actually asked them how this would affect the law enforcement agencies across the state," explained Cole.

Representative Anderson said in her statement that, "Removing an animal from their home can be very traumatic for animals and I want to make sure there is probable cause before those animals are removed."