901.73 Investigations concerning livestock exhibitions.

(A)

(1) The director of agriculture may inspect and investigate any matter involving livestock that is not present at an exhibition, but is registered or entered in an exhibition, or raised with the apparent intent of being so registered or entered, when the director reasonably suspects any of the following:

(a) There has been a violation of section 901.76 or 2925.09 of the Revised Code or a rule adopted under section 901.72 of the Revised Code;

(b) The livestock's health, safety, or welfare may be threatened;

(c) The livestock constitutes a threat to or may adversely affect food safety.

(2) The director may conduct random inspections and investigations regarding any matter involving livestock present at an exhibition.

(3) With the consent of the property owner and the livestock owner, the director or the director's designee may enter at all reasonable times any premises, facility, pen, yard, vehicle, or means of conveyance for the purpose of sampling and testing livestock registered or entered in an exhibition or raised with the apparent intent of being so registered or entered. If the director or the director's designee is denied access to any premises, facility, pen, yard, vehicle, or means of conveyance by the property owner or to livestock by the livestock owner, and if the director reasonably suspects that food safety or the health, safety, or welfare of livestock is threatened, the director may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction in the county in which the premises, facility, pen, yard, vehicle, means of conveyance, or livestock are located for a search warrant authorizing access to the premises, facility, pen, yard, vehicle, means of conveyance, or livestock for the purposes of this section. The court shall issue the search warrant for the purposes requested if there is probable cause to believe that livestock is involved that is registered or entered in an exhibition or raised with the apparent intent of being so registered or entered, and that food safety or the health, safety, or welfare of livestock is threatened. The finding of probable cause may be based on hearsay, provided there is a substantial basis for believing that the source of the hearsay is credible and that there is a factual basis for the information furnished.

The director may designate employees of the department of agriculture, employees of the United States department of agriculture, licensed veterinarians, or employees or students of an approved or accredited veterinary school or college to perform the inspecting, sampling, and testing. The director may contract with laboratories, universities, or other persons or institutions, both public and private, to perform the livestock testing.

(B) While the director or the director's designee is sampling or testing the livestock, the owner or custodian of the livestock shall render assistance in accordance with sections 941.05 and 941.08 of the Revised Code. Any person who refuses to cooperate with the director or the director's designee in the inspection, sampling, and testing of livestock may be prohibited by the director acting under section 901.74 of the Revised Code from participating in any exhibition.

(C) A person may register, enter, or exhibit at an exhibition only livestock owned by that person for the length of time specified by rule of the director, unless one of the following applies:

(1) The livestock owner suffers from a recognized physical handicap that prevents the owner from showing the livestock;

(2) The sponsor provides written permission to someone other than the livestock owner to register, enter, or exhibit the livestock;

(3) A rule of the director provides that this division shall not apply to an exhibition.

Effective Date: 07-01-1996