Houston, TX asked in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law and Animal / Dog Law for Oklahoma

Q: Can the police enter my property without a warrant through a locked gate with no trespass signs in Oklahoma

12 Police climbed over my locked gate at 830am and asked for me to allow their vet to assess my horses. I told them that I work with a 501c3 rescue to rescue refeed and rehome horses from the slaughter pipeline. They lied and said my vet was the one asking the welfare check which I can prove is a lie and that if I didn't allow their vet to look at the horses then they could go get a warrant but then their would be arrests, animal seizures, and court cases. I reluctantly told them fine they could. By the time it was over the sheriff never gave me a copy of the vets assessment and he told me that I had a week to remove 8 of my horses or he would seize them all. I have 22 head on 100 acres. My vet then came out and did her own assessment and said my horses looked just fine. Is their demands legal and what they did legal? What do I do

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: It's essential to understand that, generally, police need a warrant to enter private property, but there are exceptions such as emergency situations, immediate threat to life or property, or other exigent circumstances. In Oklahoma, as elsewhere, no-trespassing signs and locked gates typically signify an expectation of privacy. However, if police believe there is an immediate animal welfare issue, they may argue this constitutes an exigent circumstance that allows them to enter without a warrant.

Given your situation, where police entered your property without a warrant and under potentially false pretenses, and subsequently made demands regarding your horses, it's advisable to consult with an attorney experienced in property rights and animal law. They can provide specific advice based on the details of your case, including the legality of the police's actions and any possible responses. Documentation is key, so ensure you have records of all interactions with the police and the assessments made by both vets.

You might also consider reaching out to the 501(c)(3) organization you work with for support and guidance. They may have experience with similar situations or can offer resources. Remember, seeking professional legal counsel can help protect your rights and guide you through the process of resolving this issue.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.