H. B. 2396
(By Delegate Williams)
[Introduced January 17, 2003; referred to the
Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources then Finance.]
short title; legislative findings; definitions; license
and fees for the breeding, rearing, dealing, taking and
killing of game stock; enclosures and pens for game stock;
removal of game stock from licensed premises and
identification of the removed game stock; records of
transactions; inspection of records and facilities by the
commissioner of agriculture; investigation of complaints;
orders and hearings; suspensions, revocations and refusals of
licenses; importing game stock into the state; health
inspection requirements; requirement for a health certificate;
commissioner of agriculture to enforce and propose rules to administer the article; and criminal and civil penalties for
violation of this article or commissioner's rules.
A BILL to amend chapter nineteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article ten-c, relating to
"The West Virginia Wild Game Breeder's and Dealer's Licensing
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter nineteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding
thereto a new article, designated article ten-c, to read as
ARTICLE 10C. THE WEST VIRGINIA WILD GAME BREEDER'S AND DEALER'S
§19-10C-1. Short title.
This article may be known and cited as "The West Virginia Wild
Game Breeder's and Dealer's Licensing Act."
§19-10C-2. Legislative purpose.
The Legislature finds that the farming and agricultural
processing industries are very important to the economy of this
state, and that a sound economy is in the public interest and
promotes the general welfare of the people of this state. The
Legislature further finds that there exists a viable economic
market and need for the farming, breeding and dealing of wild game
and the agricultural products which are produced therefrom.
(a) General. -- When used in this article, or in the
administration of this article, terms defined in subsection (b) of this section, have the meanings ascribed to them by this section,
unless a different meaning is clearly required by the context in
which the term is used.
(b) Terms defined. -
(1) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of agriculture of
the state of West Virginia and duly authorized representatives.
(2) "Department" means the department of agriculture of the
state of West Virginia.
(3) "Game stock" means deer, wild turkey and elk (game animals
and fur-bearing animals as further defined in section two, article
one, chapter twenty).
(4) "Game stock dealer" means a person other than a game
stock producer who buys, receives or assembles game stock for
resale, either for his or her own account or that of another
(5) "Game stock producer" means a person selling game stock
which he or she has raised or game stock which he or she has
additionally purchased and summered or wintered.
(6) "Person" means an individual, partnership, corporation,
association or other legal entity.
(7) "License" means a game breeder's or dealer's license
issued pursuant to this section.
§19-10C-4. License required; fee; lawful acts of a licensed
person; taking or killing of game stock.
(a) It is unlawful for any person except a game stock producer
to engage in the business of buying, receiving or assembling game
stock for resale, or selling game stock in this state without being
licensed as a game stock dealer and producer by the commissioner.
All applications for a game stock dealer and producer's license or
renewal of the license must be made on forms provided by the
commissioner and must be filed on or before the thirtieth day of
June of each year with the commissioner. A fee of fifty dollars
must be remitted with each application. Any license not renewed by
the first day of July of any year expires.
(b) A person who has secured a license may possess, propagate,
use, buy, sell, trap, kill, consume, ship, or transport any or all
of the game stock designated in that license, and offspring,
products, carcasses, pelts or other parts of the game stock as
provided in this article.
(c) Game stock covered by a license may be taken or killed in
any manner and at any time.
§19-10C-5. Islands, enclosures, and pens used for game stock
All enclosures and pens used for any game stock purposes shall
be of a character and in a location that the department approves as
satisfactory to keep in complete and continuous captivity the stock
covered by the license, and shall be constructed in a manner to
prevent the entrance of wild stock of the same species.
§19-10C-6. Removal from licensed premises; identification.
(a) Game stock, including the parts or products of game, may
be removed from licensed premises only when identified as required
by the department. This identification may be by bill of sale,
invoice, seals, tags, bands or appropriate stamp mark affixed to
carcasses and their parts or to wrappers, crates or other
containers. Required tags and seals shall be provided to the
license holder by the department at reasonable cost. The use of
seals, bands and tags may not be required on consignments of game
stock sent to the department or to other state institutions to be
used for scientific purposes.
(b) Live game stock may be removed from licensed premises only
by licensed game breeders, shooting game preserve operators or
persons holding permits authorizing possession of the game. Wild
turkey or wild turkey hybrids may not be removed from licensed
premises unless they are pinioned.
(c) Fertile eggs from wild turkeys or wild turkey hybrids may
not be removed from licensed premises.
§19-10C-7. Records of transactions; inspection by commissioner.
(a) Every licensed game stock dealer and producer shall make
and retain for at least two years written game stock sales records
in the form and manner prescribed by the commissioner, including,
but not limited to, records indicating the identification numbers
or letters, sex, brand and approximate weight of all game stock bought, sold, received, exchanged or otherwise transferred, and the
names and addresses of all owners, sellers, consignors or buyers
with whom he or she has in any manner exchanged game stock, with
the date of exchanges.
(b) If the commissioner has reasonable cause to believe any
game stock in this state are diseased in a manner that constitutes
a health hazard to other game stock or livestock, wherever located,
he or she may request in writing the game stock sales records of
any game stock dealer and producer in the state for the purpose of
tracing or discovering the diseased game stock, the source of the
disease, and all other game stock which may be affected by the
disease. A game stock dealer and producer shall comply with the
request within twenty-four hours.
(c) The commissioner has the authority to enter premises and
buildings occupied by a game stock dealer and producer at any
reasonable time in order to examine books and records maintained by
the game stock dealer and producer.
(d) The commissioner may require game stock dealers and
producers to file in such form as he or she may prescribe, regular
or special reports, or answers in regard to specific questions, for
the purpose of providing information concerning game stock movement
and animal disease control.
§19-10C-8. Investigation of complaints; orders of the
commissioner; hearing; review.
(a) The commissioner of agriculture has the authority to, and
shall upon the verified written complaint of any person or by his
or her own initiative, investigate the actions of any game stock
dealer and producer, or any person who assumes to act in that
capacity. Upon verification of the complaint that there is
probable cause, the commissioner shall consider all of the facts
and then issue an order.
(b) The order by the commissioner shall be served upon all
persons affected thereby by registered mail. Within ten days of
receipt of the order, any party adversely affected thereby may, in
writing, request a hearing before the commissioner. The hearing
and any judicial review thereof shall be conducted in accordance
with the applicable provisions of articles five and six, chapter
twenty-nine-a of this code. The effect of any order is suspended
during the course of any hearing or subsequent appeals.
§19-10C-9. Refusals, suspensions or revocation of licenses.
The commissioner may refuse to grant or may suspend or revoke
a game stock dealer and producer's license when it is determined
from the evidence that there is reasonable cause to believe that
any of the following situations exist:
(a) Where the applicant or licensee has violated the laws of
the state or official rules governing the interstate or intrastate
movement, shipment or transportation of game stock or livestock.
(b) Where there have been false or misleading statements as to the health or physical condition of the animals with regard to the
official tests or quality of the animals, or the practice of fraud
or misrepresentation in connection therewith; in the buying or
receiving of animals; or in the receiving, selling, exchanging,
soliciting or negotiation of the sale, resale, exchange, weighing
or shipment of animals.
(c) Where the applicant or licensee acts as a dealer for a
person attempting to conduct business in violation of this article,
after the notice of violation has been given the licensee by the
(d) Where the applicant or licensee fails to practice measures
of sanitation, disinfection and inspection of premises or vehicles
used for the feeding, propagation, yarding, holding or
transportation of game stock or livestock.
(e) Where there has been a failure to keep records required by
the commissioner, or where there is a refusal on the part of the
applicant or licensee to produce records of transactions in the
carrying on of the business for which the license is granted.
(f) Where the licensee fails to maintain a bond or to adjust
a bond upon thirty days' notice, or refuses or neglects to pay the
fees or inspection charges required to be paid.
(g) Where the licensee is convicted of a violation of the game
laws of this state.
§19-10C-10. Bringing animals into state; health certificate.
It is unlawful for any person or his or her agents or
employees knowingly to drive, cause to be driven, bring or cause to
be brought into this state any game stock infected with any
communicable disease. All game stock being brought into the state
for any purpose, by any means of transportation are subject to the
restrictions imposed by section eleven of this article, unless the
animal is accompanied by a certificate of good health issued by the
state veterinarian or other accredited authority of the state from
which the animal originates, or the certificate of a veterinary
inspector of the bureau of animal industry of the United States
department of agriculture, setting forth that the animal is free
from all communicable diseases and does not originate from a
district of quarantine or infection, and showing inspection to have
been made within a period of thirty days prior to the arrival of
the animal: Provided, That in the case of deer and elk the
duration of the period of test shall be sixty days or such other
period as conforms to the legislative rules of the commissioner.
The certificate shall be made in triplicate, the original to be
retained by the owner or person in charge of the animal, and by him
or her attached to the bill of lading accompanying shipment of the
animal, the duplicate to be forwarded to the commissioner, and the
triplicate to be retained by the veterinarian making the
§19-10C-11. Animals entering state without health certificate.
It is the duty of the owner or owners of any game stock, which
is to enter this state without a certificate of health, to notify
the commissioner in writing stating when, where and how the animal
is to be brought into this state. The notice must reach the
commissioner before the animal arrives at the point of destination.
Any animal entering the state without a certificate of health may
be placed in quarantine by the commissioner under such rules as he
or she may approve, and held therein at the expense of the owner,
and if the animal is found infected with any communicable disease,
it shall, at the option of the owner, be killed, without
compensation to the owner, or continued in quarantine at the
expense of the owner. The expenses incurred in providing the
animal or animals with proper quarters, food and water may be
recovered by the commissioner from the owner in a suit in the name
of the state, as other debts are by law collectible. It is
unlawful to remove any domestic animal from quarantine unless it
has passed a satisfactory examination, and the tuberculin test and
the brucellosis, bangs or contagious abortion test, and unless the
charge for the quarters, feed, water and attendance have been paid
to the person entitled thereto.
§19-10C-12. Fees paid into special fund in state treasury.
All funds collected under this article shall be paid into the
state treasury and credited to a special fund to be appropriated by
order of the commissioner for the enforcement of this article.
§19-10C-13. Commissioner to enforce article; rules.
The commissioner shall administer and enforce the provisions
of this article and has the authority to propose rules for
legislative approval, after a public hearing, following due notice
in conformance with the provisions of the state administrative
procedures as set forth in chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, to
carry out the provisions of this article.
(a) Criminal penalties. -- Any person who violates any of the
provisions of this article or rule adopted hereunder is guilty of
a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less
than one hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars for the
first offense, and upon conviction of each subsequent offense,
shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than
five thousand dollars. Magistrates have concurrent jurisdiction
with circuit courts to enforce the provisions of this article.
(b) Civil penalties. --
(1) Any person violating a provision of this article or rule
adopted hereunder may be assessed a civil penalty by the
commissioner. In determining the amount of any civil penalty, the
commissioner shall give due consideration to the history of
previous violations by any person, the seriousness of the
violation, and the demonstrated good faith of any person charged in
attempting to achieve compliance with this article before and after written notification of the violation.
(2) The commissioner may assess a penalty of not more than
five hundred dollars for the first offense, and not less than five
hundred dollars nor more than five thousand dollars for the second
and subsequent offenses.
(3) The civil penalty is payable to the state of West Virginia
and is collectible in any manner now or hereafter provided for
collection of a debt. Any person liable to pay the civil penalty
and neglecting or refusing to pay the penalty, shall be assessed
interest at ten percent from the date the penalty was assessed.
The penalty and interest constitute a lien in favor of the state of
West Virginia and shall attach on the person's property when the
lien is properly recorded in the county where the property is
situated. There shall be no cost as a condition precedent to
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the
contrary, the commissioner may propose rules for legislative
approval in accordance with the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a
of this code, which permit consent agreements or negotiated
settlements for the civil penalties assessed as a result of
violation of the provisions of this article, and which deal with
the civil penalties and procedures thereunder.
(d) No state court may allow for the recovery of damages for
any administrative action taken if the court finds that there was a probable cause for such action.
The provisions of this article are remedial and shall be
liberally construed and applied so as to promote the purposes set
out in the various sections of the article.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish a licensed,
regulated means for the farming of certain wild game, to be
administered by the Commissioner of Agriculture.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.