Full Ordinance Name:  Santa Fe County Code of Ordinances. TITLE IX GENERAL REGULATIONS . CHAPTER 95: ANIMALS.

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Primary Citation:  Santa Fe County, New Mexico Code of Ordinances sections 95.24, 95.75 - 95.86 (2013) Date Adopted:  1991 Jurisdiction Level:  New Mexico Last Checked (local ordinances are no longer checked and are kept only for archival and example purposes):  August, 2013

Under these Santa Fe County, New Mexico ordinances, if an animal control officer finds that a horse has been abused as stated in these provisions, then the officer will issue the owner a citation and may place the horse in the custody of a caretaker. Furthermore, these ordinances provide provisions on how the owner can petition a court   to return an impounded horse, as well as the fees and penalties a horse owner may face for violating these ordinances.

Sec. 95.24      Impoundment of horses

Sec. 95.75      Physical abuse

Sec. 95.76      Molesting animals

Sec. 95.77      Work cruelly

Sec. 95.78      Care and maintenance

Sec. 95.79      Un-cared for animals; abandonment

Sec. 95.80      Injury to animal by motorists

Sec. 95.81      Keeping of diseased or painfully crippled animals

Sec. 95.82      Animal fights

Sec. 95.83      Birds; impoundment, crating and the like

Sec. 95.84      False reports prohibited

Sec. 95.85      Scope of subchapter

Sec. 95.86      Repeat offenses

Sec. 95.999      Penalty


Sec. 95.24     Impoundment of horses

(A)     If an [animal control officer] ACO finds that a horse has been abused by being untreated for serious medical or health problems or by being seriously underfed to an extent that its backbone shows through its skin, then an ACO shall cite the owner under a provision(s) from sections 95.75 through 95.86 herein and may, in his or her discretion, allow a responsible person who is knowledgeable in horse care and able to provide suitable food, water and veterinary care (hereinafter, “caretaker”), while in the presence of the ACO, to temporarily take custody of the horse, in order to provide care and maintenance for the horse, provided:

(1)     The caretaker shall provide transportation for the horse from the site where the horse is found to the caretaker’s premises;

(2)     The caretaker shall provide adequate food, shelter and veterinary care for the horse; and

(3)     The caretaker agrees to abide by any court order regarding the custody and ownership of the horse.

(B)     The owner of an abused horse who has been temporarily deprived of the custody of his or her horse may, at the hearing on the issue of his or her citation for abuse, petition the court for the return of his or her horse. Until a judicial determination, the horse shall remain in the custody of the caretaker and the owner shall be assessed a reasonable fee for the transportation of the horse to the caretaker’s premises, plus $10.00 per day boarding charge for each day or part thereof that the horse remains on the caretaker’s premises. The amount can be awarded by a court to the caretaker.

(C)     If the owner does not pay all fines and charges, including those imposed by a court under this section within five days of imposition, then the horse shall be deemed forfeited by the owner and the title and ownership shall vest in the caretaker.

(Ordinance 1991-06 adopted 3/12/91)



Sec. 95.75     Physical abuse

It is unlawful for any person to willfully or maliciously kill, beat, sexually abuse, maim, poison, disfigure, burn or scald any animal, or to attempt to kill or poison any animal that is not a wild animal, except that reasonable force may be employed only to drive off a vicious or trespassing animal. (Ordinance 1991-06 adopted 3/12/91) Penalty, see section 95.999

Sec. 95.76     Molesting animals

It is unlawful for any person to tease, annoy, disturb or molest any animal which is on the property of its owner or under the control of its owner. (Ordinance 1991-06 adopted 3/12/91) Penalty, see section 95.999

Sec. 95.77     Work cruelly

It is unlawful for any person to drive or work any animal cruelly. (Ordinance 1991-06 adopted 3/12/91) Penalty, see section 95.999

Sec. 95.78     Care and maintenance

(A)     It is unlawful for any owner of an animal to fail, refuse or neglect to provide an animal with proper and adequate food, drink, shade, shelter and ventilation. Any animal habitually kept outside shall be provided, by its owner, with a structurally sound, weather-proof enclosure large enough to accommodate the animal in a manner suitable for that species.

(B)     An owner must keep the premises where an animal is kept free from garbage, hazardous materials, feces, insect infestation and other debris which may endanger the animal’s health and safety.

(C)     An owner must provide an injured or sick animal with adequate veterinary care so as to reduce its suffering.

(Ordinance 1991-06 adopted 3/12/91) Penalty, see section 95.999

Sec. 95.79     Un-cared for animals; abandonment

(A)     (1)     Whenever an ACO finds that any animal is or will be without proper care because of injury, illness and/or incarceration or as a result of the absence of the owner or person responsible for the care of the animal, the ACO may enter onto the property or premises where the animal is located and may take up the animal for protective care.

(2)     In the event of sickness or injury of the animal, upon the instruction of a licensed veterinarian, the ACO may take the action as called for to prevent undue pain and suffering, including immediate destruction of the animal.

(B)     It is unlawful for any person to abandon any animal in the county.

(Ordinance 1991-06 adopted 3/12/91) Penalty, see section 95.999

Sec. 95.80     Injury to animal by motorists

(A)     (1)     Every operator of a vehicle or other self-propelled vehicle upon the streets and ways of the county shall immediately, upon hitting, striking, maiming or running down any animal, give aid as is reasonable to render.

(2)     In the absence of the owner, the operator shall immediately notify the ACO, furnishing sufficient facts relative to the incident to identify the location of the injury, type of animal injured and name and address or the motorist striking the animal.

(3)     It is the duty of the operator to remain at or near the scene for a reasonable length of time or until the time as the appropriate authorities arrive unless permission is granted from those authorities to leave the scene after providing his or her name, address and other relevant information as requested by the appropriate authorities.

(4)     Alternatively, in the absence of the owner, a person may give aid by taking the animal to a licensed veterinarian or to an animal control shelter and notifying an ACO.

(B)     Any animal struck by a motor vehicle, as provided herein, shall be deemed an un-cared for animal within the meaning of section 95.79.

(C)     Emergency vehicles in the course of emergency duties are excluded from this provision with the exception of reporting the incident.

(Ordinance 1991-06 adopted 3/12/91) Penalty, see section 95.999

Sec. 95.81     Keeping of diseased or painfully crippled animals

(A)     It is unlawful for any person to have, keep or harbor any animal which is afflicted with any incurable or infectious disease or is in any painfully crippling condition, except as hereinafter provided. The ACO may impound the diseased or painfully crippled animal in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(B)     (1)     All such animals impounded may be destroyed humanly as soon thereafter as is practicable.

(2)     In the case of destruction of the animal, the ACO shall be required to give any of the aforesaid notice as provided in this chapter.

(C)     This section shall not be construed to include animals receiving veterinary care.

(Ordinance 1991-06 adopted 3/12/91) Penalty, see section 95.999

Sec. 95.82     Animal fights

It is unlawful for any person to promote, stage, hold, manage, conduct, carry on or attend any game, exhibition or contest in which one or more animals are engaged for the purpose of injuring, killing, maiming or destroying themselves or any other animal. (Ordinance 1991-06 adopted 3/12/91) Penalty, see section 95.999

Sec. 95.83     Birds; impoundment, crating and the like

(A)     It is unlawful for any person to a confine any bird unless provisions are made for the proper feeding and the furnishing of water to the bird at intervals not longer 48 hours.

(B)     No person shall contain any bird in a crate, box or other enclosure which does not permit each bird confined therein to stand in a naturally erect position.

(Ordinance 1991-06 adopted 3/12/91) Penalty, see section 95.999

Sec. 95.84     False reports prohibited

It is unlawful for any person to make a false report to a sheriffs deputy or an ACO regarding any animal in danger or estray or regarding any supposed violation of this subchapter or chapter. (Ordinance 1991-06 adopted 3/12/91) Penalty, see section 95.999

Sec. 95.85     Scope of subchapter

It is expressly provided that this subchapter shall apply equally to domestic livestock, exotic animals and wild animals in addition to dogs and cats. (Ordinance 1991-06 adopted 3/12/91) Penalty, see section 95.999

Sec. 95.86     Repeat offenses

(A)     In ceases of repeat offenses for animals subjected to cruelty, neglect or abandonment, the ACO may have the animal adopted to another owner, thereby extinguishing all property rights of the existing owner, provided the ACO serves written notice upon the existing owner, informing him or her of the ACO’s intent to have the animal adopted by another owner, and giving the existing owner three business days to:

(1)     Declare his or her intention to maintain ownership of the animal and object to the adoption; and

(2)     Pay all impoundment, boarding and veterinary costs, up to the date of the owner’s declaration of intent to maintain his or her ownership of the animal.

(B)     This intent must be in writing, signed by the animal’s owner and delivered to the animal shelter keeping the animal. The statement of intent and payment of fees and costs will serve to stop any animal adopting proceedings.

(Ordinance 1991-06 adopted 3/12/91)

. . .

Sec. 95.999     Penalty

(A) Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter for which no specific penalty is prescribed shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction of violating the chapter, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500.00 and/or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or shall be subject to the fines stated in appendix A of this chapter.

(B) A person may, in addition to any other penalty, be required to attend an animal training or care school/class in the discretion of the court.

(C) Any person violating section 95.39 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by incarceration and/or by a fine as set forth in appendix A to this chapter.

(D) Each day this chapter is violated shall be considered a separate offense.

(Ordinance 1991-06 adopted 3/12/91)

Appendix A

 Type                                            Fee                                                           
 Fines for Violations                                                                                 
     Neglect, Care and Maintenance                                                                
    First Offense $50.00
    Second Offense Up to $200
    Third Offense Up to $500
    First Offense $50.00
    Second Offense $200.00
    Third Offense Up to $500
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