Full Title Name:  State Table of Veterinary Lien Laws

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Rebecca F. Wisch Publish Year:  2020 Place of Publication:  Michigan State University College of Law Primary Citation:  Animal Legal & Historical Center
Summary: This comparative table explores veterinary and possessory lien laws. A lien is a right in property to secure payment on a debt. Since animals are considered the personal property of their owners, they can be the subject of liens. Many states have laws on liens for animal care. These range from boarding liens to veterinary liens.

A lien is a right in property to secure payment on a debt. Since animals are considered the personal property of their owners, they can be the subject of liens. Many states have laws on liens for animal care. These range from boarding liens to veterinary liens.

This table focuses on liens applicable to veterinarians or individuals who care for animals. It also covers lien laws related to individuals who are not veterinarians, but who may board animals, take in animals who appear neglected, or impound animals on behalf of a city or county.

"Pasturage liens," liens that relate to the pasturing and feeding of livestock, are not necessarily covered on this table. Sometimes these liens are called "agister's liens." An agister's lien is a type of possessory lien that applies when a person takes care of an animal (usually horses or livestock) owned by another person by providing boarding or training to that animal.

STATE AND CITATION

TYPE OF LIEN

ANIMALS COVERED

 SUMMARY

Alabama

Ala. Code 1975 § 35-11-390 - 391

 VeterinaryAnimal treated by veterinarianEvery licensed veterinarian has a lien on every animal kept, fed, treated or surgically treated or operated on by him or her while in his or her custody and under contract with the owner of such animal. This lien is for payment of the veterinarian's charges for keeping, feeding, treating or surgically treating or operating on such animal, and the vet has the right to retain such animal until said charges are paid.

Alaska

   

Arizona

A.R.S. § 12-1011

 Anti-cruelty law lien

 

An owner is liable to this state or a political subdivision of this state for the expenses incurred by this state or a political subdivision of this state in rescuing animals that belong to the owner if the animals have been cruelly treated or neglected and the owner has been convicted of a violation of § 13-2910.

Arkansas

   

California

West's Ann.Cal.Civ.Code § 3051, 3052

 Veterinary lienAnimals under careA person who is in lawful possession of an article of person property and renders service or safekeeping to the owner has a lien on that property for compensation due. The section then specifically states that, ". . . veterinary proprietors and veterinary surgeons shall have a lien dependent on possession, for their compensation in caring for, boarding, feeding, and medical treatment of animals." The companion section states that the person holding the lien under Section 3051, if not paid the amount due within 10 days, may sell such property at public auction by giving at least 10 days of notice.   
   

Colorado

C.R.S.A. § 38-20-102, 103

Care lien (covers veterinarians) Pet animalsAny feeder, veterinarian, or other person entrusted with the pet for feeding, keeping, boarding, or medical shall have a lien for the amount of costs incurred in the care of the animal. Any contracts (or copies thereof) made by the owner of the pet animal with the person caring for the animals may be filed with the county clerk where the owner resides (or where the contract was made for non-residents). The filing of this contract constitutes notice to the contents of the contract and the legal effect of the filing.   

Connecticut

C.G.S.A. § 49-70

 Care lien Any animalWhen a special agreement has been made between the owner of any animals and a person keeping/taking care of such animals for a price, those animals are subject to a lien in favor of the person keeping the animals. The person keeping those animals may detain the animals until the debt is paid. If the debt is not paid with 30 days after it becomes due, the keeper may sell the animals at public auction after he or she gives written notice to the owner of the time and place at least six days before the sale. Additionally, a commercial boarding kennel or veterinary hospital may transfer abandoned animals to a nonprofit animal rescue or adoption organization. An animal is considered abandoned if the owner or keeper of such animal fails to retrieve the animal within five days of the date on which such owner or keeper was scheduled to retrieve the animal. Written notice sent certified, return-receipt requested must first be sent to the owner with a ten-day waiting period before the transfer can occur.

Delaware

   

D.C.

   

Florida

West's F.S.A. § 713.50, 65 (care lien)

West's F. S. A. § 713.655 (veterinary lien)

Maintenance Lien (feeding/caring)

Veterinary Lien

 "Horse or other animal of another"

Any animal

Maintenance Lien:

A lien exists in favor of all persons for the "feeding or caring for the horse or other animal of another, including all keepers of livery, sale or feed or feed stables, for feeding or taking care of any horse or other animal put in their charge; upon such horse or other animal." Based on the broad language of "other animal," a lien exists for the care and feeding of all owned animals.

Veterinary Lien:

A lien exists in favor of any veterinarian who renders professional services to an animal at the request of the owner of the animal, the owner's agent, or a bailee, lessee, or custodian of the animal, for the unpaid portion of the fees for such professional services. The lien remains valid and enforceable for a period of 1 year from the date the professional services were rendered, and such lien is to be enforced in the manner provided for the enforcement of other liens on personal property in this state.

 

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann., § 44-14-490 to 494

 Veterinary lien Animal or pet treatedEvery licensed veterinarian in Georgia has a lien on each animal or pet treated, boarded, or cared for by him or her while in his or her custody and under contract with the owner of the animal or pet for the payment of charges for the treatment, board, or care of the animal or pet. The veterinarian has the right to retain the animal or pet until the charges are paid. There is a ten-day hold period after demand for payment (made in person or by registered or certified mail) until the pet is deemed abandoned and may be disposed of by the veterinary facility.

Hawaii

HRS § 507-1, 507-2, 507-3

 Care lien

 Animal

Whoever pastures, feeds, or shelters animals by virtue of a contract with or by the consent of the owner of the animals for a compensation agreed upon, has a lien on the animals for pasturing, feeding, or sheltering to secure payment thereof with costs.

Idaho

 Agricultural lien  

Illinois

 Horse lien  

Indiana

IC 32-33-8-1

 Livestock lienHorses, cattle, hogs, and other livestockThe keeper of a livery stable or a person engaged in feeding horses, cattle, hogs, and other livestock has a lien upon the livestock for the feed and care bestowed by the keeper upon the livestock.

Iowa

I. C. A. § 581.1 - 4

 Agricultural lienLivestock. “Livestock” means an animal belonging to the bovine, caprine, equine, ovine, or porcine species, ostriches, rheas, emus, poultry, or fish or shellfish.A veterinarian shall have an agricultural lien as provided in section 554.9102 for the actual and reasonable value of treating livestock, including the cost of any product used and the actual and reasonable value of any professional service rendered by the veterinarian. In order to perfect the lien, the veterinarian must file a financing statement in the office of the secretary of state as provided.

Kansas

K. S. A. 47-836

 Veterinary lien Any animalA veterinarian, a veterinary partnership or a veterinary corporation offering veterinary service to animals in the field or otherwise, who shall, at the request of the owner or lawful possessor of any animal or animals, bestow any professional attention, care, vaccines, antisera, virus, antibiotics, or other medical treatment, food or service upon the same shall have a lien upon such animal or animals for the just and reasonable charges therefor, and may hold and retain possession of such animal until such charges are paid, but such lien shall be valid if the veterinarian recorded a verified notice of the lien upon such animal or animals in the office of the register of deeds in the county in which such veterinary services were rendered prior to the expiration of 60 days after such services were rendered.

Kentucky

KRS § 376.470

Veterinary lien AnimalAny licensed veterinarian who performs professional services for an animal, by contract with, or by the written consent of, the owner or authorized agent shall have a lien on the animal to secure the cost of the service provided. The priority for the liens filed under this law is based upon when the first lien was filed.

Louisiana

LSA-R.S. 9:4661

Veterinary and feed lien Only horsesAny person who furnishes feed or medicines for a horse or horses, or any licensed veterinarian who furnishes medical services for a horse or horses, to or upon the order of the owner, has a privilege for the unpaid portion of the price thereof upon the horse or horses of the owner, which received the feed, medicine, or medical services.

Maine

10 M.R.S.A. § 3352

Care/pasturing lien AnimalsA person who pastures, feeds, or shelters animals by contract or consent of the owner has a lien for the amount due. The lien may be enforced in the same manner as liens on goods in possession.

Maryland

 

 

 Veterinarian's lien may be enforced after 10 days of giving notice to the owner. After 10 days the veterinarian may sell it, give it to an animal welfare agency or turn the animal over to a responsible private individual in the county. There also exists a lien on livestock.

Massachusetts

   

Michigan

M.C.L.A. 570.185

Care lienHorse, mule, neat cattle, sheep, or swineA person who delivers any horse, mule, neat cattle, sheep, or swine to be kept or cared for to another person, that person shall have a lien thereon for the keeping and care of such animals, and may retain possession of the same until such charges are paid. 

Minnesota

M. S. A. § 514.96 - 966

Agricultural lien on livestock livestockA licensed veterinarian performing emergency veterinary services in the ordinary course of business that cost more than $25 for animals at the request of the owner or a person in possession of the animals has a lien on the animals for the value of the services. Additionally, a veterinarian's lien, breeder's lien, livestock production input lien, temporary livestock production lien, or feeder's lien attaches to the livestock serviced by the agricultural lienholder, and products and proceeds thereof to the extent of the price or value of the service provided. To perfect the lien, a financing statement must be filed within the time periods established in the law.

Mississippi

   

Missouri

V. A. M. S. 430.150 - 220

Keeping, training, breeding lien "any horse, mule or other animal"Every person who keeps, boards or trains any horse, mule or other animal has a lien on such animal, and on any vehicle, harness or equipment that came with the animal, for the amount due. No owner or claimant has the right to take any such property out of the custody of the person having such lien, except with the lienholder's consent or on the payment of such debt. Section 430.160 outlines the procedure for enforcement of the lien, which includes where to file a claim and the notice requirements.

Montana

   

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. St. § 52-701 - 702

Agricultural lien Livestock animalsA licensed veterinarian who is contracted or hired to treat or in any way take care of any kind of livestock has a lien on that livestock for the reasonable value of services and medicines provided. This lien is treated as an agricultural lien under the UCC and may be enforced in the manner of other secured transactions in article 9 of the UCC. The lien must be perfected as provided under article 9 with the information outlined in this law.

Nevada

   

New Hampshire

   

New Jersey

N. J. S. A. 2A:44-51 (horses)

 

Care lien for horses HorsesThe law states that every keeper of a livery stable or boarding and exchange stable shall have a lien on all animals left in livery, for board, sale or exchange (and upon all carriages, wagons, sleighs and harness left for storage, sale or exchange) for the amount due for the board and keep of such animal. The keeper has the right, without process of law, to retain the same until the amount of such indebtedness is discharged. Note that the law states “keeper of a livery stable” shall include, but need not be limited to, a proprietor of a stable, a trainer, a veterinarian, a farrier, or any other person who has a financial relationship with the owner of the horse.

New Mexico

   

New York

McKinney's Lien Law § 183

 

Veterinary/boarding lienAny dog, cat, or other domestic animalAny licensed veterinarian renders professional services in the treatment of any dog, cat, or other domestic animal or boards any such animal on his premises, or a person keeping a livery stable, or boarding stable for animals, or pasturing or boarding one or more animals, or who in connection therewith keeps or stores any wagon, truck, cart, carriage, vehicle or harness, has a lien dependent upon the possession upon each dog, cat or other animal kept, pastured or boarded by him, and upon any wagon, truck, cart, carriage, vehicle or harness, of any kind or description, stored or kept provided an express or implied agreement is made with the owners thereof, whether such owner be a mortgagor remaining in possession or otherwise, for the sum due him for the professional service rendered, care, keeping, boarding or pasturing of the animal, or for the keeping or storing of any wagon, truck, cart, carriage, vehicle and harness, under the agreement, and may detain the dog, cat or other animal or wagon, truck, cart, carriage, vehicle and harness accordingly, until such sum is paid.

North Carolina

   

North Dakota

   

Ohio

R.C. § 1311.48

R.C. § 4741.30 (veterinary abandonment?)

 Care lien"Animal” means any animal other than man and includes fowl, birds, fish, and reptilesAny person who feeds or boards an animal under contract with the owner shall have a lien on such animal to secure payment for food and board furnished.

Oklahoma

   

Oregon

O.R.S. § 87.159

 Cruelty lien AnimalA person who, or governmental agency that, transports, pastures, feeds, cares for or provides treatment to an animal that has been impounded under ORS 167.345 has a lien on the animal in the possession of the person or governmental agency for the reasonable charges for transportation, pasturage, feed, care or treatment provided by the person or governmental agency, and the person or governmental agency may retain possession of the animal until those charges are paid.

Pennsylvania

   

Rhode Island

Gen. Laws, 1956, § 34-48-1

Care/keeping lienAny animals, including, but not limited to, horses, birds and fishWhen an agreement has been made between the owner of any 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. The person may detain the animals until the debt is paid and, if not paid within 30 days, he or she may sell the animals at public auction after giving written notice to the owner of the time and place of the sale at least six days before the sale. Additionally, 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 as defined.

South Carolina

Code 1976 § 29-15-60 (boarding)

Code 1976 § 40-69-285

Boarding lien

Veterinary lien

Animal

Animal

Boarding lien:

The owner of an animal boarding facility, at the end of an agreed upon term of boarding, shall have a lien upon any animal which is left for upkeep until the cost has been paid by the owner of the animal. The owner of the animal shall also be responsible for payment of the cost of care for the animal after notice of the lien. If the owner of the animal has not paid the cost after actual notice of the lien within ten days of such notice, the animal boarding facility owner may sell the animal after having advertised the time and place of the sale at least seven days before the sale is to be held.

Veterinary lien:

A licensed veterinarian has a lien on each animal treated, boarded, or cared for while in the veterinarian's custody for payment of charges for treatment, board, or care of the animal. The veterinarian has the right to retain the animal until the charges are paid by the owner of the animal.

South Dakota

   

Tennessee

   

Texas

V. T. C. A., Property Code § 70.010

Veterinary lien for large animalsLarge animals, defined as livestock or a cow, horse, mule, ass, sheep, goat, llama, alpaca, farm elk, or hog.A licensed veterinarian has a lien on a large animal and the proceeds from the disposition of the large animal to secure the cost of veterinary care the veterinarian provided to the large animal. The lien attaches on the 20th day after the veterinarian first provided care to the large animal and attaches regardless of whether the veterinarian retains possession of the animal.

Utah

   

Vermont

   

Virginia

   

Washington

   

West Virginia

W. Va. Code, § 38-11-4

Boarding, pasturing, care lien Animal not specifiedA person who keeps a livery stable, or boarding stable for animals, or one who boards, pastures, feeds or trains animals for hire, has a lien upon such animals for the sum due him for the care, boarding, pasturage, feeding, or training of such animals, or the care, keeping of such animals. This lien exists even though such animals are permitted to be taken out of the possession of the one claiming such lien even if the contract has not yet terminated for the lien. 

Wisconsin

   

Wyoming

   
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