(A) As used in sections 955.51 to 955.53 of the Revised Code:
(1) "Animal" means a horse, mule, sheep, head of cattle, swine, goat, domestic rabbit, or domestic fowl or poultry .
(2) "Fair market value" means the average price that is paid for a healthy grade animal at a livestock auction selected by the director of agriculture and licensed under Chapter 943. of the Revised Code.
(3) "Grade animal" means an animal that is not eligible for registration by a breed association or in a registry.
(4) "Predator" means a coyote or a black vulture.
(B) An owner of an animal that has been injured or killed by a predator and that the owner believes has a fair market value of more than twenty-five dollars shall do both of the following within seventy-two hours after the loss or injury has been discovered:
(1) Notify the dog warden by telephone;
(2) Document by photograph the wounds sustained by the animal.
If the owner chooses to file a claim under sections 955.51 to 955.53 of the Revised Code, the owner shall complete a claim form for indemnification in quadruplicate as prescribed by the director in section 955.53 of the Revised Code and provided by the dog warden. The owner may request, and the dog warden shall provide, assistance in filling out the form. For the purposes of section 955.52 of the Revised Code, the owner shall send to the department of agriculture, within thirty days after discovery of the animal, the original copy of the claim form, all photographs documenting the wounds of the animal, and any other pertinent facts in the possession of the owner.
If the animal that is killed or injured is registered by an accepted association or in an accepted registry, the owner shall submit with the claim form that is filed with the department the registration papers showing the animal's lines of breeding, age, and other relevant information. If the animal is the offspring of registered stock and is eligible for registration, the registration papers showing the lines of breeding of the offspring shall be submitted as well.
The owner shall retain a copy of the claim form and provide a copy of the form to both the dog warden and the wildlife officer who investigates the claim, if applicable.
(C) Following notification from the owner of an animal under division (B) of this section, the dog warden promptly shall investigate the loss or injury and shall determine whether or not the loss or injury was made by a predator. If the dog warden determines that the loss or injury was not made by a predator, the owner has no claim under sections 955.51 to 955.53 of the Revised Code. If the dog warden determines that the loss or injury was made by a predator, the dog warden promptly shall notify by telephone the wildlife officer of that determination. For the purposes of section 955.52 of the Revised Code, the dog warden shall send to the department the dog warden's determination of whether the animal was killed or injured by a predator and any other documents, testimony, or information that the dog warden has received relating to the loss or injury of the animal.
(D) Following notification from the dog warden under division (C) of this section, the wildlife officer shall confirm the determination of the dog warden on the claim, disaffirm it, or state that the wildlife officer is uncertain about the determination. If the wildlife officer disaffirms the determination of the dog warden, the owner has no claim under sections 955.51 to 955.53 of the Revised Code. If the wildlife officer affirms the determination of the dog warden or states that the wildlife officer is uncertain about that determination, the wildlife officer shall so notify in writing the department for the purposes of section 955.52 of the Revised Code.
Effective Date: 09-26-2003; 04-15-2005