Maryland  |  Constitutional Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 8/25/07, 10:26 pm

Fourth amendment law

I am an animal control officer in maryland. I was called to a house by local police. They had done a wellness check at the location and found no one at home. They did however, observe a small dog and several cats loose inside the home. The house had excessive clutter and a fowl odor inside. The police described the animals as being in good condition, but were concerned that the animals did not have food or water. By the time i arrived on the scene, only 1 police officer remained. He was in his patrol car. We went to the back of the house and through the glass patio door i could see a large bowl of clean water and a large bowl of dry pet food. The house was extremely cluttered and you could smell a foul odor that i recognized as old animal urine. My immediate supervisor demanded that i remove the animals from the house, even though we had no warrant. I refused to remove the animals because they were not in any immediate danger. I posted the front door of the house with corrective measures and feel a warrant could be obtained at a later time if neccesary. It is my opinion that removing the animals at this time would have violated the owners fourth amendment rights. My supervisor strongly disagrees. What could i have legally done?

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