Full Statute Name:  MONTANA CODE ANNOTATED. TITLE 07. LOCAL GOVERNMENT. CHAPTER 23. DOMESTIC ANIMAL CONTROL AND PROTECTION; TITLE 27. CIVIL LIABILITY, REMEDIES, AND LIMITATIONS.CHAPTER 1. AVAILABILITY OF REMEDIES – LIABILITY. PART 7. LIABILITY; TITLE 81. LIVESTOCK. CHAPTER 7. PREDATORY ANIMAL CONTROL. PART 4. DOGS.

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Primary Citation:  MCA 7-23-101 to 7-23-105; 7-23-2108 to 7-23-4104; 7-23-4201 to 7-23-4203; 27-1-715; 81-7-401 to 81-7-403; 87-6-404 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  March, 2016 Alternate Citation:  MT ST 7-23-101 to 7-23-105; 7-23-2108 to 7-23-4104; 7-23-4201 to 7-23-4203; 27-1-715; 81-7-401 to 81-7-403; 87-6-404
Summary:

These Montana statutes comprise the state's dog laws.  Among the provisions include strict liability for all dog bites, authority for counties to enact ordinances regarding dangerous dogs, barking dogs, and destruction of unlicensed dogs, as well as general laws related to registration and licensing.

Statute Text: 

TITLE 07. LOCAL GOVERNMENT.  CHAPTER 23. DOMESTIC ANIMAL CONTROL AND PROTECTION.  PART 1. LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONTROL OF DOGS.

7-23-101 . Dog collar and license tag required

7-23-102 . Seizure and impounding of dogs running at large without tag

7-23-103 . Local government cooperation in the operation of pounds

7-23-104 . Violations

7-23-105 . Disposition of fines

PART 21. COUNTY CONTROL OF DOGS.

7-23-2108 . County control of dogs

7-23-2109 . Vicious dog control

7-23-2110 . Barking dog control

PART 41. MUNICIPAL CONTROL AND PROTECTION OF DOMESTIC ANIMALS.

7-23-4101 . Control of animals running at large

7-23-4102 . Licensing of dogs

7-23-4103 . Relation of municipal dog license tags to other laws

7-23-4104 . Cruelty to animals

PART 42. REQUIRED SPAYING OR NEUTERING OF CAT OR DOG.

7-23-4201 . Sale or adoption of cat or dog -- information required

7-23-4202 . Adoption of cat or dog from humane society, animal shelter, or pound -- spay or neuter required -- deposit -- penalty -- exceptions

7-23-4203 . Additional spaying or neutering requirements not precluded -- cooperative agreements

TITLE 27. CIVIL LIABILITY, REMEDIES, AND LIMITATIONS.CHAPTER 1. AVAILABILITY OF REMEDIES – LIABILITY.  PART 7. LIABILITY

27-1-715 . Liability of owner of vicious dog

TITLE 81. LIVESTOCK.   CHAPTER 7. PREDATORY ANIMAL CONTROL.   PART 4. DOGS.

81-7-401 . Killing of dogs harassing, destroying, or injuring stock -- notice to owner -- penalty81-7-402. Liability of owner of dog for damages to livestock or poultry

81-7-402 . Liability of owner of dog for damages to livestock or poultry

81-7-403 . Dogging livestock

Title 87. Fish and Wildlife. Chapter 6. Fish and Wildlife Criminal Provisions. Part 4. Hunting Offenses

87-6-404. Unlawful use of dog while hunting

 

 

TITLE 07. LOCAL GOVERNMENT.  CHAPTER 23. DOMESTIC ANIMAL CONTROL AND PROTECTION.  PART 1. LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONTROL OF DOGS.

7-23-101. Dog collar and license tag required

    It is unlawful, when part 21, 7-23-4103, and this part apply, for any person to own, harbor, or keep any dog over the age of 5 months or to permit a dog owned, harbored, or controlled by the person to run at large unless the dog has attached to its neck a substantial collar on which is fastened a license tag issued by the authority of a county or a municipal corporation for the purpose of identifying the dog and designating the owner. It is lawful to remove the collar and license tag when the dog is under the immediate control of its owner or the owner's agent.

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 280, L. 1959; R.C.M. 1947, 16-4601; amd. Sec. 668, Ch. 61, L. 2007.

 

 

7-23-102. Seizure and impounding of dogs running at large without tag

    A dog found running at large without a valid current dog license tag issued by the authority of a county or municipal corporation pursuant to the provisions of part 21, 7-23-4103, and this part may be seized and impounded by any sheriff, deputy sheriff, police officer, game warden, county poundmaster, or other law enforcement officer.

History: En. Sec. 5, Ch. 280, L. 1959; R.C.M. 1947, 16-4605; amd. Sec. 669, Ch. 61, L. 2007.

37-18-306. Display of license and certificate

 

 

7-23-103. Local government cooperation in the operation of pounds

     The board of county commissioners may enter into contracts with municipal corporations for the use by the county or by the municipal corporation of the impounding facilities of the other.

History: En. Sec. 7, Ch. 280, L. 1959; R.C.M. 1947, 16-4607(part).

 

7-23-104. Violations

     Violation of any provision of this part shall constitute a misdemeanor.

History: En. Sec. 13, Ch. 280, L. 1959; R.C.M. 1947, 16-4613; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 508, L. 1983.

 

7-23-105. Disposition of fines

     All fines collected under the provisions of this part and part 21, except those collected by a justice's court, shall be paid into the county treasury and shall be used to pay fees, salaries, costs, or expenses for the enforcement of this part and part 21.

History: En. Sec. 12, Ch. 280, L. 1959; R.C.M. 1947, 16-4612(part); amd. Sec. 6, Ch. 557, L. 1987.


 

PART 21. COUNTY CONTROL OF DOGS.

7-23-2108. County control of dogs

     (1) The governing body of the county may regulate, restrain, or prohibit the running at large of dogs by the adoption of an ordinance which substantially complies with the provisions of 7-5-103 through 7-5-107 and which may provide for the wearing of a license tag upon the collar of the dog and the keeping of a record which will establish the identity of the person who owns, keeps, or harbors the dog.

     (2) Violation of an ordinance adopted under subsection (1) is a misdemeanor.

     (3) The county governing body is authorized to impound, sell, kill, or otherwise destroy dogs found at large contrary to ordinances.

     (4) Nothing in this section restricts the governing body from enacting dog control measures in a portion of the county only.

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 208, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 508, L. 1983.

 

7-23-2109. Vicious dog control

       (1) The county governing body may regulate, restrain, control, kill, or quarantine any vicious dog, whether such dog is licensed or unlicensed, by the adoption of an ordinance which substantially complies with the provisions of 7- 5-103 through 7-5-107.

     (2) A violation of any ordinance established as provided in subsection (1) is a misdemeanor.

     (3) For purposes of this section, a "vicious dog" is defined as one which bites or attempts to bite any human being without provocation or which harasses, chases, bites, or attempts to bite any other animal. The term "animal" includes all livestock and any domestic pet.

History: En. Sec. 2, Ch. 208, L. 1979.

 

7-23-2110. Barking dog control

     The governing body of a county may, by adoption of an ordinance that substantially complies with 7-5-103 through 7-5-107, regulate barking dogs. An ordinance adopted pursuant to this section may not apply to a dog that is owned, kept, or harbored as part of the business of a licensed veterinarian, animal boarding facility, or agricultural or livestock operation.

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 238, L. 1999.

 

PART 41. MUNICIPAL CONTROL AND PROTECTION OF DOMESTIC ANIMALS.

7-23-4101. Control of animals running at large

     The city or town council has power to regulate, restrain, or prohibit the running at large of horses, cattle, swine, sheep, goats, and dogs or other animals and to authorize the impounding and sale thereof if found at large contrary to ordinances.

History: En. Subd. 36, Sec. 5039, R.C.M. 1921; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 115, L. 1925; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 20, L. 1927; re-en. Sec. 5039.35, R.C.M. 1935; R.C.M. 1947, 11-938.

 

7-23-4102. Licensing of dogs

     The city or town council has power to license the keeping of dogs and to provide for the killing or destruction thereof if found running at large without license.

History: En. Subd. 37, Sec. 5039, R.C.M. 1921; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 115, L. 1925; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 20, L. 1927; re-en. Sec. 5039.36, R.C.M. 1935; R.C.M. 1947, 11-939.

 

7-23-4103. Relation of municipal dog license tags to other laws

     Any dog license tag issued annually by any municipal corporation pursuant to an ordinance which substantially complies with parts 1 and 21 and which provides for the wearing of the license tag upon the collar of the dog and the keeping of a record which will establish the identity of the person who owns, keeps, or harbors the dog constitutes compliance with the licensing provisions of parts 1 and 21.

History: En. Sec. 4, Ch. 280, L. 1959; R.C.M. 1947, 16-4604.

 

7-23-4104. Cruelty to animals

The city or town council has power to prohibit and punish cruelty to animals.

Enacted Subd. 32, Revised Code of Montana 1921, § 5039; amended by Laws 1925, ch. 115, § 1; amended by Laws 1927, ch. 20, § 1; reenacted Revised Code of Montana 1935, § 5039.31; Revised Code of Montana 1947, 11-934.

 

PART 42. REQUIRED SPAYING OR NEUTERING OF CAT OR DOG.

7-23-4201. Sale or adoption of cat or dog -- information required

     (1) The following information must be provided by any pet shop operator, humane society, or publicly operated animal shelter or pound that makes a cat or dog available for sale or adoption:

     (a) age, sex, and weight of the animal;

     (b) breed of the animal;

     (c) a record of vaccinations and veterinary care and treatment the animal has received, including, if available, the manufacturer's name and the serial number of the vaccination used; and

     (d) a record of surgical sterilization of the animal or notice of the lack of surgical sterilization, as applicable.

     (2) The following information must be retained for a period of 2 years and remains confidential unless requested pursuant to an enforcement action or legal proceeding:

     (a) if known, the name and address of the breeder of the animal;

     (b) if known, the name and address of any person who owned or harbored the animal between its birth and the time of sale or adoption; and

     (c) a copy of the import permit and health certificate pertaining to an animal imported from outside Montana.

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 426, L. 1997.

 

7-23-4202. Adoption of cat or dog from humane society, animal shelter, or pound -- spay or neuter required -- deposit -- penalty -- exceptions

     (1) Except as provided in subsections (6) and (7), a humane society or publicly operated animal shelter or pound may not offer for adoption, sale, or trade any cat or dog that has not been redeemed by the owner unless:

     (a) the animal has been spayed or neutered; or

     (b) the person to whom the animal is released agrees in writing to have the animal spayed or neutered and a deposit for spaying or neutering the animal has been paid. The deposit must be in an amount determined by the humane society or publicly operated animal shelter or pound to be comparable to the lowest fee for spaying or neutering that is charged by veterinarians in the locale.

     (2) Upon payment of the deposit required in subsection (1), the person who is adopting the animal must receive a certificate for spaying or neutering, to be presented to a licensed veterinarian, who shall complete the certificate when the spaying or neutering is done. Upon receipt of the completed certificate verifying that the animal has been spayed or neutered, the humane society or publicly operated animal shelter or pound shall forward the deposit to the veterinarian who performed the procedure.

     (3) The deposit must be forfeited if the spaying or neutering is not done:

     (a) within 30 days if the cat or dog is more than 6 months old at the time of adoption; or

     (b) by the time the animal reaches the age of 6 months if the animal is less than 6 months old at the time of adoption, or within 30 days of the adoption, whichever is longer.

     (4) A deposit forfeited pursuant to subsection (3) may be used only for the following purposes:

     (a) a public education program designed to prevent the overpopulation of cats and dogs;

     (b) a program to spay or neuter cats and dogs; and

     (c) costs incurred in the enforcement of this section, including a followup program to ensure that animals adopted from or sold or traded by the humane society or publicly operated animal shelter or pound are spayed or neutered.

     (5) Failure to fulfill the terms of an agreement entered into pursuant to subsection (1)(b) may, at the discretion of the county attorney, result in the filing of a misdemeanor charge punishable by a fine of not more than $500.

     (6) The provisions of this section do not apply to an animal for which a licensed veterinarian verifies in writing that spaying or neutering would be injurious to the animal's health.

     (7) The provisions of this section do not apply when a humane society or publicly operated animal shelter or pound, at its discretion, chooses to accept an adoption fee of not less than $50 from a person who wishes to adopt an animal for breeding purposes.

History: En. Sec. 2, Ch. 426, L. 1997.

 

7-23-4203. Additional spaying or neutering requirements not precluded -- cooperative agreements

     (1) Humane societies and publicly operated animal shelters and pounds may enter into cooperative agreements with each other and with licensed veterinarians in carrying out the provisions of 7-23-4202.

     (2) Section 7-23-4202 does not preclude humane societies and publicly operated animal shelters and pounds from engaging in activities set forth in their charters as long as the activities are not inconsistent with 7-23-4202.

     (3) Humane societies and publicly operated animal shelters and pounds may establish spaying and neutering requirements in addition to the requirements set out in 7-23-4202, such as:

     (a) shorter timeframes for compliance with spaying and neutering requirements;

     (b) arranging an appointment for spaying or neutering with a licensed veterinarian; and

     (c) delivering the animal to a licensed veterinarian for surgery prior to releasing the animal to the adopting person.

History: En. Sec. 3, Ch. 426, L. 1997.

 

TITLE 27. CIVIL LIABILITY, REMEDIES, AND LIMITATIONS. CHAPTER 1. AVAILABILITY OF REMEDIES -- LIABILITY. PART 7. LIABILITY.

27-1-715. Liability of owner of vicious dog

(1) The owner of a dog that without provocation bites a person while the person is on or in a public place or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, located within an incorporated city or town is liable for damages that may be suffered by the person bitten regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of the viciousness.

(2) A person is lawfully upon the private property of the owner within the meaning of this section when the person is on the property in the performance of any duty imposed upon the person by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States of America or when the person is on the property as an invitee or licensee of the person lawfully in possession of the property.

CREDIT(S)

Enacted by Laws 1943, ch. 113, § 1; Revised Code of Montana 1947, 17-409. Amended by Laws 2009, ch. 56, § 588, eff. Oct. 1, 2009.

HISTORICAL AND STATUTORY NOTES

Laws 2009, ch. 56, amended this section to provide gender neutral language and conform to current bill drafting standards

.

 

TITLE 81. LIVESTOCK.   CHAPTER 7. PREDATORY ANIMAL CONTROL.   PART 4. DOGS.

81-7-401. Killing of dogs harassing, destroying, or injuring stock -- notice to owner -- penalty

     (1) As used in this section, "harasses" means worries, chases, or runs after livestock, including ostriches, rheas, and emus, in a manner that may lead to subsequent injury to the livestock.

     (2) A dog, whether licensed or not, that, while off the premises owned or under control of its owner and on property owned, leased, or controlled by the livestock owner, harasses, kills, wounds, or injures livestock not belonging to the owner of the dog is considered a public nuisance and:

     (a) may be killed immediately by the owner of the livestock or an agent or employee of the owner; or

     (b) the owner of the dog, when reasonably notified after due process, shall kill the dog within 24 hours of notification. If the owner fails to do so, an officer may be notified and shall kill the dog or cause the dog to be killed.

     (3) A dog may not be killed in a manner that will endanger a person.

     (4) This section does not apply to a dog herding livestock under the direction of its owner or the agents or employees of its owner.

     (5) This section does not apply to a dog engaged in legitimate sport hunting or predator control activities under the direction of its owner or the agents or employees of its owner.

     (6) The owner of a dog that harasses, kills, wounds, or injures livestock is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than $500.

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 142, L. 1933; re-en. Sec. 3417.15, R.C.M. 1935; R.C.M. 1947, 46-1916; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 106, L. 1993; (6)En. Sec. 2, Ch. 106, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 12, Ch. 206, L. 1995.

 

81-7-402. Liability of owner of dog for damages to livestock or poultry

     (1) The owner of livestock or poultry injured or killed by any dog may recover as liquidated damages from the owner of the dog the actual value of the animals killed or the value of the damages sustained by reason of the injuries as the case may be. If two or more dogs kept by two or more owners or keepers injure or kill any livestock or poultry at the same time, the owners or keepers of the dogs are jointly and severally liable for such damages. It is no defense to the action that the owner or keeper of the dog had no knowledge of the dog's whereabouts at or prior to the time when the dog injured or killed livestock or poultry or that the owner or keeper of the dog had no knowledge of the dog's disposition or inclination to worry, kill, or injure livestock or poultry.

     (2) The word "owner" when used in this section in relation to property interest in or possession of dogs includes every person who owns, harbors, or keeps a dog.

History: En. Secs. 14, 15, Ch. 280, L. 1959; R.C.M. 1947, 16-4614, 16-4615; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 14, L. 1979.

 

81-7-403. Dogging livestock

Any person who permits or directs any dog owned by the person or in the person's possession to chase or run any cattle or other livestock of which the person is not the owner or the person in charge upon the open range or government lands or away from any watering place upon the open range is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.

CREDIT(S)

Enacted by Laws 1903, ch. 110, § 1; reenacted Revised Code 1907, § 8861; reenacted Revised Code of Montana 1921, § 11552; reenacted Revised Code of Montana 1935, § 11552; Revised Code of Montana 1947, § 94-3567; redesignated 46-3001 by Laws 1973, ch. 513, § 29. Amended by Laws 1977, ch. 12, § 56; Revised Code of Montana 1947, 46-3001; amended by Laws 1993, ch. 106, § 3; amended by Laws 2009, ch. 56, § 2673, eff. Oct. 1, 2009

 

Title 87. Fish and Wildlife. Chapter 6. Fish and Wildlife Criminal Provisions. Part 4. Hunting Offenses

87-6-404. Unlawful use of dog while hunting

(1) Except as provided in subsections (3) through (6), a person may not:

(a) chase any game animal or fur-bearing animal with a dog; or

(b) purposely, knowingly, or negligently permit a dog to chase, stalk, pursue, attack, or kill a hooved game animal. If the dog is not under the control of an adult at the time of the violation, the owner of the dog is personally responsible. A defense that the dog was allowed to run at large by another person is not allowable unless it is shown that at the time of the violation, the dog was running at large without the consent of the owner and that the owner took reasonable precautions to prevent the dog from running at large.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3)(d), a peace officer, game warden, or other person authorized to enforce the Montana fish and game laws who witnesses a dog chasing, stalking, pursuing, attacking, or killing a hooved game animal may destroy that dog on public land or on private land at the request of the landowner without criminal or civil liability.

(3) A person may:

(a) take game birds during the appropriate open season with the aid of a dog;

(b) hunt mountain lions during the winter open season, as established by the commission, with the aid of a dog or dogs;

(c) hunt bobcats during the trapping season, as established by the commission, with the aid of a dog or dogs; and

(d) use trained or controlled dogs to chase or herd away game animals or fur-bearing animals to protect humans, lawns, gardens, livestock, or agricultural products, including growing crops and stored hay and grain. The dog may not be destroyed pursuant to subsection (2).

(4) A resident who possesses a Class D-3 resident hound training license may pursue mountain lions and bobcats with a dog or dogs during a training season from December 2 of each year to April 14 of the following year.

(5)(a) A person with a valid hunting license issued pursuant to Title 87, chapter 2, may use a dog to track a wounded game animal during an appropriate open season. Any person using a dog in this manner:

(i) shall maintain physical control of the dog at all times by means of a maximum 50-foot lead attached to the dog's collar or harness;

(ii) during the general season, whether handling or accompanying the dog, shall wear hunter orange material pursuant to 87-6-414;

(iii) may carry any weapon allowed by law;

(iv) may dispose of the wounded game animal using any weapon allowed by the valid hunting license; and

(v) shall tag an animal that has been reduced to possession in accordance with 87-6-411.

(b) Dog handlers tracking a wounded game animal with a dog are exempt from licensing requirements under Title 87, chapter 2, as long as they are accompanied by the licensed hunter who wounded the game animal.

(6) Any person or association organized for the protection of game may run field trials at any time upon obtaining written permission from the director.

(7) A person who is convicted of or who forfeits bond or bail after being charged with a violation of this section shall be fined not less than $50 or more than $1,000 or be imprisoned in the county detention center for not more than 6 months, or both. In addition, the person, upon conviction or forfeiture of bond or bail, may be subject to forfeiture of any current hunting, fishing, or trapping license issued by this state and the privilege to hunt, fish, and trap in this state or to use state lands, as defined in 77-1-101, for recreational purposes for a period of time set by the court.

(8) A violation of this section may also result in an order to pay restitution pursuant to 87-6-905 through 87-6-907.

Credits
Enacted by Laws 2011, ch. 258, § 127, eff. Oct. 1, 2011. Amended by Laws 2015, ch. 149, § 2, eff. July 1, 2015.

 

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