87-4-426. Criteria for issuance of license -- fencing and enclosure requirements -- rules. (1) A game farm license may be issued by the department only to an applicant:
(a) who owns or leases the premises on which the operations are to be conducted;
(b) who has not been or whose principal manager has not been convicted of or who has not forfeited bond of $100 or more for more than one violation of the fish and game laws or applicable regulations of any state or the United States within a 5-year period prior to application;
(c) who has not or whose principal manager has not at any time pleaded guilty to or been convicted of a felony, unless civil rights have been restored pursuant to law. A person may not apply for licensure during any time in which a deferred or suspended felony sentence is in effect.
(d) who is or whose principal manager is at least 18 years of age.
(2) A game farm license must be issued by the department if:
(a) the applicant has properly fenced the perimeter of the land upon which the game farm is to be located with fencing designed and constructed to prevent the escape of the species of game farm animal kept on the game farm and to prevent the entry of the same species of game animal or other native game animal species capable of interbreeding with or contracting diseases or parasites from game farm animals;
(b) the application is for a single location;
(c) it is demonstrated that the applicant or the applicant's principal manager has the necessary skills to properly care for game farm animals or intends to employ a person who has those necessary skills; and
(d) the application has not been denied under this section or issued with stipulations under subsection (3).
(3) An application for a game farm license may be denied in its entirety or issued with stipulations if necessary to prevent public safety hazards or significant negative impacts to Montana's wildlife resources. Denial of an application or stipulations attached to a game farm license must be based on one or more of the following potential impacts ascribed to the physical location of the proposed game farm:
(a) substantial loss or destruction of critical seasonal game animal habitat or habitat of federally designated threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. 1531, et seq., including but not limited to critical breeding, birthing, rearing, and wintering areas;
(b) blockage or disruption of major traditional seasonal migration corridors or major travel routes;
(c) unacceptable threat of introduction or transmission of serious diseases or parasites to native wildlife populations, as determined by the state veterinarian appointed pursuant to 81-1-301;
(d) unacceptable threat of escape of captive game farm animals and establishment of feral populations that would result in habitat damage or competition with or genetic pollution of native wildlife populations;
(e) the creation of a significant threat to the safety of the general public and surrounding landowners by the shooting of game farm animals.
(4) If the department determines that it will propose, within the time allowed under 87-4-409(3), to deny a game farm license or issue a license with stipulations, the applicant must be given an opportunity to make changes to the application within 30 days of receipt of the department's written determination in order to mitigate or correct any problems or deficiencies. The department shall reconsider the application with the proposed changes within 30 days of receipt of changes to the application before granting, proposing to deny, or proposing to issue the license with stipulations.
(5) An applicant may request that the commission review a department proposal to deny a game farm license or to issue a license with stipulations by petitioning the commission for review within 10 days of the department's proposed decision. The commission shall decide whether to grant the license, propose to deny the license, or issue the license with stipulations. The commission's decision then becomes the department's proposed decision, subject to an opportunity for hearing under 87-4-428.
(6) The department shall by rule establish:
(a) criteria for the classification of amendments to an existing license as major or minor; and
(b) an expeditious amendment process for minor amendments.
History: En. Sec. 4, Ch. 315, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 12, Ch. 503, L. 1995.