HOUSE BILL 423
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
Luis M. Terrazas and Jenifer Jones and Derrick J. Lente
RELATING TO LIVESTOCK; AMENDING REQUIREMENTS AND PROCEDURES RELATING TO ESTRAYS; AUTHORIZING THE GATHERING AND SALE OF ESTRAYS BY A PERSON OTHER THAN THE NEW MEXICO LIVESTOCK BOARD IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. A new section of Chapter 77, Article 13 NMSA 1978 is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] PETITION TO REMOVE FIFTEEN OR MORE ESTRAYS--BOARD DUTIES--PETITIONER AUTHORIZED ACTIONS.--
A. If a person finds fifteen or more head of cattle on property the person owns or is entitled to graze cattle on pursuant to a permit, lease or allotment, or if the number is fewer than fifteen and constitutes ten percent of the carrying capacity of the land, permit, lease or allotment, as applicable, and the cattle appear to be unbranded, the person may petition the board in writing to inspect the cattle, determine if the cattle are estrays and, if the cattle are estrays, determine their disposition. Within fifteen days after receipt of the petition, the board shall make an inspection of the cattle.
B. If the board determines that the cattle are estrays, the board shall cause publication and posting notice of the estrays pursuant to Section 77-13-4 NMSA 1978.
C. If, after five days of the publication of the notice, the cattle are not claimed, the board may make arrangements to sell the estrays pursuant to the provisions of Sections 77-13-5 and 77-13-6 NMSA 1978; provided that if the board is unable to or fails to remove the cattle within sixty days of receiving the petition, the board shall relinquish all jurisdiction over the cattle and the cattle may be sold or branded pursuant to Paragraph (1) or (2) of Subsection D of this section.
D. If the board is unable or unwilling to sell the estrays, the board may allow the petitioner to:
(1) gather the cattle for inspection and sale, in which case, notwithstanding the provisions of Section 77-13-6 NMSA 1978, the proceeds of the sale shall go to the petitioner; or
(2) notwithstanding the provisions of Section 30-18-3 NMSA 1978, claim ownership by legally branding the cattle.
E. If the board allows the petitioner to gather the cattle for inspection and sale pursuant to Paragraph (1) of Subsection D of this section, the petitioner shall have twelve months to complete the process of gathering the cattle; provided that the board may allow for an extension of up to twelve months or require another petition.
F. Cattle removed pursuant to this section by the petitioner shall be exempt from any health test required by the board if sold to slaughter within the state or sold directly to a slaughter facility within thirty days of inspection by the board. Cattle sold within the state shall be slaughtered within thirty days or comply with all board health and brand requirements. If a buyer of the estrays or the petitioner desires to brand and keep the cattle, all board health requirements shall be complied with."
SECTION 2. Section 77-13-4 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1907, Chapter 80, Section 4, as amended) is amended to read:
"77-13-4. OWNER UNKNOWN--PUBLICATION AND POSTING OF NOTICE.--If the director [of the New Mexico livestock board] is unable to determine from the records and description who is the owner or probable owner of [such] an estray, [or estrays, he] the director shall publish at least once in some publication in general circulation in the county in which the estray animal was picked up, [said] the publication to be designated by the [New Mexico livestock] board, a notice of [such] the estray [which]. The notice shall give a description of the animal [or animals], shall state when and where [the same were] it was impounded and shall give notice that unless the animal [or animals are] is claimed by the legal owner within five days after the publication of the notice, the [same shall] animal may be sold by the [New Mexico livestock] board for the benefit of the owner when found or the board may relinquish jurisdiction over the estrays and the estrays may be sold or branded pursuant to Subsection D of Section 1 of this 2023 act."
SECTION 3. Section 77-13-5 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1907, Chapter 80, Section 5, as amended) is amended to read:
"77-13-5. SALE OF UNCLAIMED ESTRAYS--BILL OF SALE--EFFECT--SALE WITHOUT ADVERTISEMENT--CONDITIONS.--Except as provided in Section 1 of this 2023 act, if an estray is not claimed within five days after the last publication of notice, it may be sold by the board through an inspector in such manner as the board may direct. The inspector making the sale shall give a bill of sale to the purchaser from the board, signed by [himself as] the inspector. The bill of sale shall be legal evidence of the ownership of the livestock by the purchaser and shall be a legal title to the livestock. Where the director determines that it is impractical to publish notice, the estray may be sold immediately without notice. In such case, the board shall publish notice of the proceeds from the sale of the estray in the same manner and for the same length of time as provided for the notice of the sale and shall hold and distribute the proceeds from the sale in the same manner as if the sale were made after notice."
SECTION 4. APPROPRIATION.--Five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) is appropriated from the general fund to the New Mexico livestock board for expenditure in fiscal year 2024 for personnel and equipment necessary to carry out the board's duties related to estrays. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2024 shall revert to the general fund.
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