Section 20 - to do or not to do that is the question......

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Section 20 - to do or not to do that is the question......

Post  millie1* on Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:55 pm

Well here we are again discussing the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

You have had you animals seized and you want them back......

They have been seized under Section 18 5 of the AWA by the Police and passed to the RSPCA under section 18 8.
The POLICE have possession of you animals in the law, but the RSPCA has full control over the animals and will refuse you access....

What can you do???
1) Write to the Chief Constable of the Force requesting permission to see you animals in accordance with Section 21 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. They will tell you (if they dont ignore you) to ask the RSPCA. I suggest you write back and explain that under Section 18 5 they are the possessors and as such you are asking their permission, you want an urgent reply and will be happy for the Police to attend if they fear and Breach of the Peace.
2) You can apply to Court under Section 20 1 b of the AWA to regain your animals. However this is not what it seems and can lead to other difficulties if circumstance change.

a) It is a civil matter - you will have to pay a solicitor or do this yourself - bearing in mind most solicitors are about £200/hr plus VAT and they have to prepare case and go to court etc,....... you will also have to pay for attendance of expert witnesses on your side......
b) if you apply the RSPCA will make a rebuttal claim also under the same section that they should keep the animals - they can easily fund solicior, barrister and witnesses and they CRUCIALLY have evidence of when the animals were taken and what they look like now - which if winter /summer scenario they are bound to look better.
c) you can make these applications at any time but BEWARE - if you make them before your case comes to court (the criminal bit) then the RSPCA can in fact discontinue the criminal case - ie pull the rug out from under you, your witnesses all paid for under the criminal legal aid will be let go and never heard. The Section 20 will then be heard both yours and the RSPCA but you have no witnesses or legal help and no evidence that you can care for them better........they will probably win.......The Owner of the animals can appeal this to Crown court and I suggest you do this but ONLY if you can get a solicitor to help you in the Crown Court. In order to get a Section 20 the RSPCa have to prove that there was a Section 18 5 seizure - basically it boils down to legalised theft, you have no criminal record from the RSPCA if they discontinue the case - you are neither guilty or not guilty.
d) If you do apply under Section 20, you must also summons the Police who seized them........they often fail to turn up but as possessors they must be there so you have a case for requesting adjournment and slap on the wrist issued by the Court to the police.

There is a good article on Nigel Wellers Website about Section 20, once the RSPCA have possession they can do what they like - if they do carry on with the case against you and the Section 20 was heard before the trial there is a very good chance that your animals might be Put to sleep before the trial and if you are found Not Guilty they can never come home to you......

YOU MUST WEIGH IT UP WHETHER TO APPLY UNDER SECTION 20 OR NOT.......IF YOU DO NOT APPLY THE RSPCA ARE NOT USUALLY SWITCHED ON ENOUGH TO APPLY OFF THEIR OWN BAT, THEN IF YOU WIN YOUR CRIMINAL CASE THEY HAVE NO ARGUMENT ABOUT RETURNING THE ANIMALS AND IN FACT IF THEY DO KICK UP A FUSS THEN YOU NEED A WRITTEN COPY OF THE COURTS DECISION AND SEND A COPY TO THE POLICE REQUESTING THEIR HELP IN RETURNING THE ANIMALS TO YOU.

I believe the Section 20 is a wolf in sheeps clothing and think you might be as well to leave things until your trial has been concluded - if you have plead not guilty and are found guilty, you can appeal to crown court and nothing can happen to your animals in the meantime...........

Sorry if this is a bit disjointed, am typing thoughts as they fall out my head, and I dont have as much time on line now!




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millie1*

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Re: Section 20 - to do or not to do that is the question......

Post  Candcane on Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:27 pm

This is excellent from Millie1! I am at this stage with my case and Millie1 and I have had endless phone calls on different topics, but this being one of the most discussed I think.

I very much agree with what Millie1 has listed above and I think anyone else in this situation needs to think hard before going ahead with a Section 20 application.

I've changed tactics with my case and at present I am holding back with a section 20.

Candcane

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