(A) As used in this chapter of the Administrative code:
(1) "Brand" means a distinctive design, mark of identification, or number that is applied to the hide of livestock by a hot iron or other humane method approved by the director of the Ohio department of agriculture.
(2) "Department" means the Ohio department of agriculture.
(3) "Director" means the director of the Ohio department of agriculture.
(4) "U.S.D.A." means the United States department of agriculture.
(B) Livestock brands within the state of Ohio shall be recorded with the department .
(C) The brand, after being received and approved by the director in accordance with this rule, shall be recorded in the department's central registry. A formal certificate containing a facsimile of the brand shall be issued to the applicant as proof of ownership.
(D) Except for in-herd individual livestock identification or disease control purposes, no persons within the state of Ohio may use any brand for identifying livestock unless that brand has been recorded with the department .
(E) No brand may be recorded or used which is identical with, or in the opinion of the director, is so similar to any brand previously recorded that it is liable to cause confusion as to the identity or ownership of the livestock.
(F) In order to avoid confusion, the director requires that :
(1) Brands are read from:
(a) Left to right;
(b) Top to bottom;
(c) Outside to inside.
(2) All stacked and/or connected brands will be read from top to bottom whether or not the bottom letter may extend to the left.
(3) Brands will be filed in the category read first (left takes preference over top).
(4) Brands will be filed in the following sequence:
(a) "A" to "Z";
(b) "1" to "9";
(c) Symbols and characters:
(i) Double letters;
(ii) Letter with numbers;
(iii) Letters with characters (to the right or below).
(5) Single letter brands shall not be recorded.
(6) No lazy open "As" will be recorded.
(7) "><" will be considered as "Vs."
(8) The letter "G" will only be recorded in the reverse position.
(9) The letter "C" will never be recorded in the reverse position.
(10) The letter "W" will not be recorded in the lazy position, it will be considered as the letter "M."
(11) The letter "I" will only be recorded with another letter.
(12) Lower case (e.g., a, c, t, d,) will not be recorded.
(13) Circles and zeros will be recorded as the letter "O."
(14) The letter "Q" will not be recorded.
(15) Half diamonds must always have the point ends toward the brands.
(16) Quarter circles must always be recorded with the points away from the brand, and are never connected with the letter.
(17) Brands consisting of Arabic numerals only may be used for individual livestock identification (in-herd) if they are located at least ten inches away from any recorded brand. In-herd brands are not to be recorded.
(18) When a recorded brand is applied to livestock which may have been branded by a previous owner, the new brand must be applied so as not to knowingly overlap, obliterate, disfigure, or mutilate the previous brand.
(19) Brands shall be placed in one specific location upon an animal. The appropriate location shall be designated on the brand recordation application.
(20) Horses may be branded on the shoulders or neck regardless of the specific location designated for other livestock. Brands shall not be recorded on the ribs of horses.
(21) All cattle brands must be a minimum of three inches in height and all other brands must be a minimum of two inches in height.
(G) The director shall adjust conflicting livestock brands and make such changes as may be necessary. Such changes are conclusive and such brand as the director indicates may be recalled or adjusted at any time by means of written notice from the director to the owner. Written notice will include an explanation for the recall or adjustment together with any suggestions for changes that would be appropriate. All livestock marked with brands later recalled or adjusted, shall retain said brand on livestock previously branded. The owner of the recalled or adjusted brand shall not knowingly apply any new brand so as to interfere, overlap, obliterate, disfigure, or mutilate the previously recorded brand. If applicant disagrees with the decision of the director he shall issue a written request for an appeal within thirty days of receiving a rejection notice. The director will then schedule a hearing to hear the appeal and make a decision in the matter.
(H) Any brand which, in the opinion of the director, is designed in such a manner as to cause difficulty in obtaining a readable brand shall not be recorded. The director shall notify the applicant and either adjust or return the facsimile brand. If the facsimile brand is returned to the applicant, the recording fee shall also be returned.
(I) Owners of livestock wishing to use earmarks or notches in addition to a recorded brand may so notify the director, in writing, and the marks or notches will be listed in the state brand book.
(J) Freeze branding is an approved humane method of applying brands.
(K) For the purpose of determining renewal date, the period between the date the brand is recorded by the director and January first of the next year shall constitute the first year of the five-year period.
(L) If the owner of a brand of record fails, refuses, or neglects to pay the fee by June thirtieth of the year in which it is due, the brand shall be forfeited and no longer carried in the record. A forfeited brand may not be issued to another person for a period of five years following the date of forfeiture. During this five-year period, the former owner of record may make application to the department for reinstatement of a forfeited brand. Such application shall be accompanied by a re-recording fee as established in rule 901:1-25-02 of the Administrative Code. The renewal date for a reinstatement brand shall remain the same and renewal fees on such brands shall be due on January first of each fifth year following original recording.