(a) Any employee of a county child or adult protective services agency, while acting in his or her professional capacity or within the scope of his or her employment, who has knowledge of or observes an animal whom he or she knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of cruelty, abuse, or neglect, may report the known or reasonably suspected animal cruelty, abuse, or neglect to the entity or entities that investigate reports of animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect in that county.
(b) The report may be made within two working days of receiving the information concerning the animal by facsimile transmission of a written report presented in the form described in subdivision (e) or by telephone if all of the information that is required to be provided pursuant to subdivision (e) is furnished. In cases where an immediate response may be necessary in order to protect the health and safety of the animal or others, the report may be made by telephone as soon as possible.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose a duty to investigate known or reasonably suspected animal cruelty, abuse, or neglect.
(d) As used in this section, the terms “animal,” “cruelty,” “abuse,” “neglect,” “reasonable suspicion,” and “owner” are defined as follows:
(1) “Animal” includes every dumb creature.
(2) “Cruelty,” “abuse,” and “neglect” include every act, omission, or neglect whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering is caused or permitted.
(3) “Reasonable suspicion” means that it is objectively reasonable for a person to entertain a suspicion, based upon facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position, drawing, when appropriate, on his or her training and experience, to suspect animal cruelty, abuse, or neglect.
(4) “Owner” means any person who is the legal owner, keeper, harborer, possessor, or the actual custodian of an animal. “Owner” includes corporations as well as individuals.
(e) Reports made pursuant to this section may be made on a preprinted form prepared by the entity or entities that investigate reports of animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect in that county that includes the definitions contained in subdivision (d), and a space for the reporter to include each of the following:
(1) His or her name and title.
(2) His or her business address and telephone number.
(3) The name, if known, of the animal owner or custodian.
(4) The location of the animal and the premises on which the known or reasonably suspected animal cruelty, abuse, or neglect took place.
(5) A description of the location of the animal and the premises.
(6) Type and numbers of animals involved.
(7) A description of the animal and its condition.
(8) The date, time, and a description of the observation or incident which led the reporter to suspect animal cruelty, abuse, or neglect and any other information the reporter believes may be relevant.
(f) When two or more employees of a county child or adult protective services agency are present and jointly have knowledge of known or reasonably suspected animal cruelty, abuse, or neglect, and where there is agreement among them, a report may be made by one person by mutual agreement. Any reporter who has knowledge that the person designated to report has failed to do so may thereafter make the report.
(Added by Stats.2002, c. 134 (A.B.670), § 1. Amended by Stats.2003, c. 62 (S.B.600), § 236.)