I just got paperwork set up for my first year of taxidermy. I was wondering, when the gamewarden comes to check records, what is he aloud to search? Can he search any room in your home (home bussiness) or just the shop only? I just wanted to know, any input would help or advice because even though I am legal I am still nervous for when he comes here.
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First of all, what do you agree to when you are issued your taxidermy license? What rights to privacy, search and seizure, freedom of commerce, etc. did/do you sign away in your state?
They are allowed to search your business only. Also, IF your shop is attached to your home, well, the DNR has the right to go in there in certain circumstances.
The state and Law Enforcement in general has the right or will manufacture a reason or right to do as they see fit.
I better not get started on this one. Gotta get back to work!
Take care and good luck.
Robert, check the archives using "searches" or "inspections" or "PA taxidermists" and you will find a wealth of information.
I will sum it up for you though:
ANY Law Enforcement officer may ONLY inspect your records and any pertinent information and only during business hours. Looking at anything other than your records and the areas normally open to the visiting public would require a search warrant.
I cannot stress this enough: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! A Fish and Game Officer IN ANY STATE has no more rights and priviledges than a State Trooper in that state. I always suggest assisting Fish and Game officers in an investigation but, without probable cause, you have every right to politely refuse a warrantless search. Under NO circumstances should you allow a Fish and Game Officer into ANY room in your home or into ANY freezer in your place of business. If he is looking for something in particular simply tell him to wait out front and YOU look through YOUR freezer to find it for him.
By knowing your rights and assisting the officer in his investigation you will gain much more respect from him than if you just cave in to his "demand" to "inspect" your business.
IF any law enforcement officer is invited into any home, business or what have you, (IF you invite them in) you have WAVED your rights where the Officer can conduct a search free and clear of any warrant.
IF you have a "WELCOME" matt on your porch, you wave your right.
Court decisions over these matters are on record and the Law Enforcement agencies won!
I just saw on the news where a major drug dealer was taken down by a SWAT team WITHOUT a search warrant. In the interview afterward the Lieutenant said he "didn't need a warrant because the suspect had a WELCOME matt on his doorstep"! LOLOLOL
Kim, while I agree that an individual waives his right to a warrantless search by inviting the officer in, the WELCOME matt analogy is a bit much, don't ya think?
I'll say it again! A Fish and Game Officer has the right to go ONLY where the public is allowed to go. If that is your living room then he has a right to be there. If your studio has a "showroom" that is open to the public and a "work area" that is not he may ONLY visit the showroom. Unless, of course, you have a WELCOME--WE'RE OPEN sign in your window. LOLOL!
Robert, all the information is in the Archives. Look up the Mike Showers case for the FEDERAL decision which limits the scope and intensity of searches.
If you need more info give me a call.
I am looking for Ohio in particular because that is where I am at. All you need is a vendor's liscence, no taxidermy.
If they can't search anything but records, then why...
...any officer authorized to enforce this may enter such establishment or plants at all reasonable hours and inspect the records AND premises where operations are being carried on.
What is the deal with that second part, anyone have any trouble?
..............something shortly (hour) about PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT. It will be in the main menu.
Those two words are what lawyers and law enforcement refer to as a "gray area". Law enforcement uses it to "broaden" the scope of searches while attorneys use it to further restrict searches.
If you read Showers v. Spangler et.al you will find that the Federal Court defined the "inspection statute" very well as it pertains to taxidermy and taxidermy studios. "Premises" is taken by the FEDERAL COURT to mean "anything that is open to view in areas accessible to the eye". That DOES NOT include areas behind closed doors or INSIDE closed freezers.
Every law enforcement agency has their own interpretation of the law. Fish and Game officials are no different. That is why it is so important that you work WITH them so they feel at ease with you all the while making sure they don't stomp all over YOUR Constitutional Rights.
Keep reading---there's lots more!
I am from ohio also and I was told by the clerk at the courthouse that you do not need a vendors liscence for a taxidermy business. I asked the lady twice if she was sure and she said that she could not find taxidermist on her list anywhere. I do not have one one it has been three years now and noone has called wanting money so I guess I am alright>
I swear it is the truth... My welcome mat clearly states...
Go Away instead of welcome I thought it was funny. I didnt know it would be on the test. wink