Animal Welfare Department has a new option to enforce pet laws

Animal welfare department

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department has a measure to enforce pet laws. Officers will soon have the ability to issue civil citations for situations that violate the Animal Welfare Department HEART Ordinance without having to go through the court system.

These offenses may be charged as either civil or criminal violations. Animal Protection Services Officers are not required to provide a warning before issuing a citation; however, when possible, efforts are made to seek a resolution for non-violent offenses before issuing a fine, according to a news release from the city.

“It is time for AWD to stress to the community that pet laws are as important as human laws and to hold pet owners accountable when these laws are broken,” Carolyn Ortega, director of the Animal Welfare Department, stated in the news release.

Fines for civil violations are $200 for the first offense, $300 for the second offense, and $500 for a third or subsequent offense. The violation must be addressed, by payment or appeal, within fifteen days. The new change will begin on Feb. 16.

The only choice previously for the Animal Welfare Department to enforce pet laws was criminal citations. If you receive a criminal violation, you will be notified of a court date by Metro Court. Penalties for criminal violations are determined by the judge hearing the case. Metro Court Judges can issue a fine up to $500, jail time up to 90 days, or both. Click here to learn more.

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