(a)(1) If a qualified veterinarian, as defined in the Agriculture Article, or a commercial boarding kennel operator gives care or custody to any animal or performs medical or other services necessary and incidental to their professions to any animal under care or custody, the veterinarian or commercial boarding kennel operator may notify the owner after the animal is ready for delivery that the animal is ready.
(2) Notice may be given in person or by registered or certified mail or, if the owner's address is unknown, by posting the notice for 10 days on the door of the courthouse or on a bulletin board in the immediate vicinity of the courthouse of the county where the animal is located.
(b) If the animal is not claimed and taken by the owner from the veterinarian or the boarding kennel within 10 days of the date the notice is given or posted, the owner forfeits his title to the animal and the veterinarian or the commercial boarding kennel operator may:
(1) Sell the animal at public sale, except for purposes of experimentation or vivisection;
(2) Turn the animal over to an animal welfare agency serving the county in which the animal is located or, if there is no animal welfare agency in that county, to the nearest animal welfare agency; or
(3) Turn the animal over to a responsible private individual in the county.
(c) If the veterinarian or commercial boarding kennel operator gives notice to the owner of the animal as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the veterinarian, commercial boarding kennel operator, and any custodian to whom the animal may be given are relieved of any further liability for disposal.
(d)(1) The proceeds of any sale under subsection (b)(1) of this section shall be applied, in the following order, to:
(i) The expenses of the sale; and
(ii) The amount of the indebtedness of the owner of the animal.
(2) After application of the proceeds in accordance with paragraph (1) of this subsection, any balance shall be held for 30 days for the benefit of the owner of the animal. If the balance is unclaimed after 30 days, the veterinarian or commercial boarding kennel operator shall turn the balance over to the local board of education.
(e) The exercise of any right provided in this section does not prevent a subsequent action at law for the collection of any money remaining due and unpaid to the veterinarian or commercial boarding kennel operator.
Added by Acts 1975, c. 49, § 3, eff. July 1, 1975. Amended by Acts 1975, c. 366, § 1; Acts 1982, c. 161; Acts 1994, c. 424, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 1994.
Formerly Art. 63, § 52.