(1)(a) An animal dealer shall permit inspection during normal business hours of companion animal records and the location at which companion animals are kept. The dealer may require documentation that a person seeking to inspect the location is the owner of a companion animal. When making the inspection, the person may be accompanied by an animal control officer. A person may demand inspection only if it is for the purpose of seeking the person's own companion animal. A person is allowed no more than three inspections per week for up to six weeks following the disappearance of the person's companion animal.
(b) The person may prove ownership of a companion animal by providing the dealer with:
(A) Photographs clearly showing the companion animal and any distinguishing markings;
(B) Licensing information;
(C) Veterinary records;
(D) Registration records;
(E) Microchip-implantation records; or
(F) Tattooing records.
(2)(a) When a person claims to be the owner of a companion animal being held by an animal dealer, the animal dealer shall:
(A) Upon proof of ownership and payment by the person of actual direct expenses incurred by the animal dealer in obtaining and caring for the dog or cat, turn the dog or cat over to the person; or
(B) If the animal dealer disputes the identification, or if the amount of expenses cannot be agreed upon, turn the dog or cat over to an animal shelter pending resolution of the dispute.
(b) If the person claiming to be the owner and the animal dealer cannot resolve the dispute within a reasonable length of time, the circuit court for the area in which the dog or cat is located may, upon petition, designate a third party to serve as an impartial adjudicator of the issue. The decision of the third party is final and the dog or cat shall be released accordingly. If the decision is in favor of the person claiming to be the owner, that person shall pay the animal dealer the amount of the actual direct expenses incurred by the animal dealer in obtaining and caring for the dog or cat while the dog or cat was in the possession of the animal dealer. The party losing the dispute shall pay the expenses incurred by the animal shelter in caring for the dog or cat during the pendency of the dispute. No filing or other fees shall apply to the petition to the circuit court. The court shall process the matter as informally and as expeditiously as possible.
(c) An animal dealer who fails to turn a dog or cat over as required by this subsection commits a Class A misdemeanor.
(3) Law enforcement officers or animal control officers may conduct routine inspections of animal dealer facilities during normal business hours to insure compliance with animal control statutes, ordinances and regulations.
Laws 1991, c. 837, § 7; Laws 1995, c. 658, § 110.