Thousand Oaks has begun a controversial code enforcement program after contracting with the Animal Care and Control Division of neighboring Los Angeles County. The enforcement program is sending Los Angeles County animal control officers through Thousand Oaks neighborhoods in search for unlicensed animals.
Door-to-door search raises constitutional questions
Owners of animals found with expired licenses are assessed a $30 late fee. Owners of unlicensed animals are assessed a $40 enforcement fee in addition to the cost of the license, which ranges between $20 and $60, depending upon whether the animal has been neutered. Thousand Oaks looks for unlicensed animals using door-to-door enforcement about once every five years.
The city has contracted with Los Angeles County for animal control services for about 30 years because the two counties use a shared animal control facility. Ventura County pays about $240,000 per year to Los Angeles County for animal control services. About half of the cost of the animal control contract is paid for by licensing and enforcement fees.
The door-to-door nature of the searches has some residents questioning whether the approach is a violation of residents’ Fourth Amendment rights regarding search and seizure. Thousand Oaks notified all residents in writing in February that it would begin animal license enforcement in March.
When it comes to the legality of searches, don’t take chances. Instead work with an attorney who has significant experience in search and seizure cases. Whether you’re dealing with simple code enforcement, or more complicated cases of searches and seizures that involve your home, vehicle or property. The government has a limited ability to conduct searches of your property, but that’s frequently not enough to stop them from trying. If you believe you’ve been the subject of an illegal search, or unfair law enforcement that arises from an illegal action, get legal assistance.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County search and seizure case.
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