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Can the SPCA legally seize and give away my dogs without a hold period?


I live in New York State. The SPCA took 2 of my dogs and gave them to their friends. They openly admit it. They say the dogs were adopted immediately by people they knew very well and in regards to getting them back they state "That ship has sailed". I was told that in NY State it is illegal for them to do this. I was told even if an animal is seized or surrendered the SPCA is required by law to hold the animal for 5 days before it can offer for adoption or humanely euthanize the animal. I can't find the specific law or case law that states this. I need to stop them and expose this, it's theft of my personal property. Can you confirm this law exists and point me to it so I can confirm what my recourse is? I havent been able to locate it online. Thank you in advance.


There is no simple answer when it comes to hold times since one needs to have all of the facts to know what law or laws would be applicable. SPCAs that are exercising their humane law enforcement powers seize animals when they have probable cause to believe an animal has been mistreated. An SPCA may also seize lost and stray animals. Dogs (and other animals) seized in conjunction with an animal cruelty charge are generally held pending the disposition of the case, unless the animal is surrendered. ‘Owner’ surrendered animals are usually not required to be held for any length of time (although municipalities may provide for a limited hold time even in this situation). Article 26 of NYS’s Agriculture and Markets Law addresses the seizure of abused and neglected animals (and in some other situations). Section 374 (2) of the Agriculture and Markets Law also provides for a five day hold for certain animals---animals found abandoned and not properly cared for, or lost, strayed, homeless or unwanted animals--- but this section refers to other sections of law which contain different hold times (Article 7 of the Agriculture and Markets Law). To access the laws, go to and click “Bill Search” and then “NYS Laws.” I hope the dogs are doing well and that all involved consider their best interests.

Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott


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