(a) Every licensed veterinarian has a lien on each animal or pet treated, boarded or cared for by the veterinarian while in the veterinarian's custody and under contract with the owner of such animal or pet for payment of charges for treatment, board or care of such animal or pet. Such veterinarian has the right to retain such animal or pet until such charges are paid.
(b)(1) If the charges due for the services named in this section are not paid within ten (10) days after demand therefor on the owner of such animal or pet, in person, or by registered or certified mail with return receipt requested, addressed to the owner at the address given when such animal or pet is delivered, and the receipt has been returned by the United States postal authorities, such animal or pet shall be deemed to be abandoned and the licensed veterinarian is authorized to sell the animal or pet either at public or private sale, and if the veterinarian does not succeed in selling such animal or pet within ten (10) days, then the veterinarian is authorized to dispose of such animal or pet in any manner that the veterinarian deems proper or turn the animal or pet over to the nearest humane society or dog pound in the area for disposal as such custodian deems proper.
(2) An animal shall also be considered abandoned by its owner if the owner gives a licensed veterinarian a false address and telephone number and the demand mailed by the licensed veterinarian registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, is returned undelivered. Under the circumstances provided in this subdivision, the licensed veterinarian may consider the animal abandoned when the veterinarian receives notice that the mailed demand is undeliverable, and the licensed veterinarian may dispose of the animal as provided in subdivision (b)(1). As an alternative, the licensed veterinarian may turn the animal or pet over to the nearest humane society or animal control shelter in the area for disposition of the animal as such custodian deems proper without first offering the animal or pet for sale.
(c) The giving of notice to the owners, as provided herein, relieves the licensed veterinarian, or any custodian to whom such animal or pet may be given, of any further liability for disposal.
(d) Failure of the owner of any such animal or pet to receive the demand by registered or certified mail provided for in this section does not render the licensed veterinarian liable to the owner of such animal or pet for the disposal thereof in any manner provided in this section.
(e) When any animal or pet is sold as authorized in this law to satisfy a lien for any of the services enumerated, any moneys realized from the sale, less such charges, and any expenses incurred in making the demand for payment thereof in connection with the sale, shall be paid to the owner of the animal or pet.
(f) No legal proceeding for the enforcement of the lien created by this law is necessary concerning abandoned animals as defined in subsection (b), other than compliance with the requirements herein provided.
1967 Pub.Acts, c. 80, ' 34; 1983 Pub.Acts, c. 57, ' 17; 1997 Pub.Acts, c. 204, ' 1, eff. May 9, 1997.
Formerly ' 63‑1234.