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AGO 1954 No. 198 - February 05, 1954
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

AGRICULTURE ‑- ANIMALS ‑- CAN THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE REQUIRE "BANG'S" TESTS ON CATTLE HERDS ‑- IF REFUSED BY OWNER, AVAILABLE REMEDY.

The State of Washington Department of Agriculture may require "Bang's" tests on cattle herds in Klickitat County and if the owner of any untested bovine animals refuses to have them tested, the Director may order the premises on which they are kept quarantined, and no animals or the product of such animals may be removed from the premises.  The violation of a quarantine order, the willful obstruction or hindrance of a duly authorized agent of the Director, or a failure to comply with or violation of any order, rule or regulations promulgated by the Director under applicable statutes is a misdemeanor and is punishable as such.

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                                                                 February 5, 1954

Honorable Thurman E. Ward
Prosecuting Attorney
Klickitat County
Goldendale, Washington                                                                                         Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 198

Dear Sir:

            This is in response to your request for an opinion on the question of whether or not the State of Washington, Department of Agriculture can require "Bang's" tests on cattle herds in Klickitat County, and, if refused by the owner, what remedy is available.

            Our conclusions may be summarized as follows:

            The State of Washington, Department of Agriculture may require "Bang's" tests on cattle herds in Klickitat County, and if the owner of any untested bovine animals refuses to have them tested, the Director may order the premises on which they are kept quarantined.  The violation of a quarantine order, the willful obstruction or hindrance of a duly authorized agent of the Director, or a  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] failure to comply with, or violation of, any order, rule or regulation promulgated by the Director under applicable statutes is a misdemeanor and is punishable as such.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Livestock in general, and bovine animals in particular, are subject to inspection and quarantine when infected or exposed to contagious or infectious diseases.  The Director of Agriculture is vested with general supervision of the prevention of the spread and the suppression of infectious, contagious, communicable and dangerous diseases affecting domestic animals within this state and he may establish and enforce the quarantine of and against any and all such animals affected or exposed to any such disease for such length of time as he deems necessary to determine whether any such animal is infected with any such disease.  RCW 16.36.020 1953 Supp.

            The laws relative to the inspection and quarantine of cattle herds are found in chapter 16.36 RCW and chapter 16.40 RCW of the Revised Code of Washington.

            RCW 16.40.010 provides for the examination and testing for tuberculosis and/or Bang's disease.  Such tests are to be made under the supervision of the Director by any authorized veterinary inspector of the Department of Agriculture in such manner and at such reasonable and seasonal times and in such counties or localities as the Director may prescribe.

            The owners of a majority of the bovine animals in any county may petition the Director to have the animals in their county tested and examined, but if no petition is filed or the tests are completed in the counties where petitions were filed, the Director may designate in what county or localities the tests shall be made.  (RCW 16.40.030).

            If an owner of any untested bovine animals refuses to have them tested, the Director may order the premises on which they are kept quarantined, and no animals or the products of such animals may be removed from the premises.  (RCW 16.40.040).  It is a misdemeanor for any person to violate a quarantine order or to remove the animals or the products of such animals from the quarantined area.  (RCW 16.36.030).

            In addition, under the provision of RCW 16.36.060, it is unlawful for any person to willfully hinder, obstruct, or resist the Director of Agriculture, or any duly  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] authorized representative, or any peace officer acting under him or them, when engaged in the performance of the duties conferred under the act, or to willfully fail to comply with any rule, regulation, or order promulgated by the Director of Agriculture or his duly authorized representative.  Such action constitutes a misdemeanor.

            Our conclusions, therefore, after a consideration of the aforementioned statutes, are that the State of Washington, Department of Agriculture may require "Bang's" tests on cattle herds within Klickitat County if said county has been designated by the Director as a locality where such tests shall be made, and if the owners refuse to submit their cattle to such tests, the premises on which the cattle are kept may be quarantined, and no animals or the products of such animals may be removed from the premises.

            A violation of any quarantine order, or the willful obstruction or hindrance of the duly authorized representative of the Director or failure to comply with any rule, regulation or order promulgated by the Director of Agriculture under the provisions of the applicable statutes, constitutes a misdemeanor.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General

PHYLLIS DOLVIN
Assistant Attorney General

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