(a) When an agreement has been made between the owner of any animals, including, but not limited to, horses, birds and fish, and any person who keeps and feeds the animals, regarding the price of keeping, the animals shall be subject to a lien for the price of the keeping, in favor of the person keeping the animals; and the person keeping the animals may detain them until the debt is paid; and, if it is not paid within thirty (30) days after it is due, he or she may sell the animals, or so many as necessary at public auction, upon giving written notice to the owner of the time and place of the sale at least six (6) days before the sale, and apply the proceeds to the payment of any debts, returning the surplus, if any, to the owner.
(b) A kennel, as defined in § 4-19-2, or a veterinary hospital which boards or grooms animals for nonmedical purposes, may transfer any abandoned animal in its custody to a Rhode Island licensed nonprofit animal rescue, animal shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or adoption organization which annually places ten (10) or more animals in private homes as pets. An animal shall be considered abandoned if the owner or keeper of the animal fails to retrieve the animal within thirty (30) days of the date the owner or keeper was scheduled to retrieve the animal. Prior to transferring the animal, the kennel or veterinary hospital shall give notice of its intention to do so to the owner or keeper at his or her last known address by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, and shall allow a period of ten (10) days to elapse after the receipt is returned before transferring the animal. Each kennel and veterinary hospital shall post in a visible location the procedures provided for in this subsection and shall give a written notice of these procedures to any person who boards an animal at a kennel or with a veterinary hospital. Any nonprofit organization which receives an animal in accordance with the provisions of this subsection shall not be liable in any civil action brought by the previous owner or keeper of the animal for any subsequent transfer or disposal of the animal by the organization.
P.L. 2003, ch. 207, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 333, § 1.