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House Bill 707 — Estrays (-1)

House Bill 707 — Estrays (-1)

Parrish Miller
March 11, 2024

Bill Description: House Bill 707 would shorten time periods and increase penalties in law that have to do with stray livestock. 

Rating: -1

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?

House Bill 707 would amend Section 25-2302, Idaho Code, which deals with what happens "when a sheriff or brand inspector finds stray livestock or stray livestock are reported to him." Under current law, if the owner does not take possession of the livestock within five days, the sheriff or brand inspector can seize and sell the livestock. This bill would shorten the five-day period for the owner to act to just three days. 

House Bill 707 would amend Section 25-2309, Idaho Code, which provides for imposing fees on a livestock owner when a sheriff or brand inspector incurs expenses for caring for stray livestock. The maximum fee for "food and care" would increase from $2 per head per day for cattle and horses to $5 per day, and it would increase from $0.75 per head per day for other animals to $2 per head per day. These fees are in addition to "mileage and inspection fees" and "standard fees … for sale by the livestock market and for health and brand inspection and assessments or taxes for sale of livestock as provided for by law."

House Bill 707 would create Section 25-2313, Idaho Code, to criminalize as a misdemeanor "willfully" allowing livestock to stray and to impose escalating fines for subsequent offenses. 

It would establish that an owner who refuses to take possession of livestock within the shortened three-day period discussed in the first paragraph of this analysis has "willfully" allowed the livestock to stray. The owner would be subject to the criminal penalties created in this section. 

The combination of the shortened time period, criminalization, and broad definition of "willfully" would make these laws as modified by this bill significantly more onerous than they are at present.

Another subsection would say, "If such stray livestock enter and cause damage to any cultivated land …, then the owner of the livestock may be charged at a rate not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00) per head per day for cattle and horses or at a rate not to exceed four dollars ($4.00) per head per day for other animals. Such damages shall be payable to the damaged party."

To the extent laws of this nature may be necessary, selling livestock an owner refuses to claim after sufficient notice is given and requiring the payment of restitution for harm done are reasonable remedies. It is not necessary to make the owner a criminal, and doing so does not serve to restore any harmed parties.


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