§ 4-1-42. Care of neglected animals by Department Forfeiture of owner's rights Expenses.
(a) The director of environmental management, or any veterinarian employed by the department of environmental management ("department"), may lawfully take charge of any animal found abandoned or neglected or hazardously accumulated as defined in § 4-1-1, or that, in the opinion of the department, is aged, maimed, disabled, lame, sick, diseased, injured, unfit for the labor it is performing, or cruelly treated, and shall give notice to the owner, if known, or his or her agents, and may provide suitable care.
(b) Every owner, guardian, or agent, upon conviction, entry of a guilty plea, or plea of nolo contendere, of abandonment, neglect, hazardous accumulation as defined in § 4-1-1, or otherwise cruel treatment of any animal taken charge of by the department under this section, forfeits the right to ownership or control of that animal to the department for disposition in any manner deemed suitable for that animal.
(c) Whenever the department lawfully takes charge of any animal under this section, all reasonable expenses for the care and treatment of the animal(s), while in the custody of the department during this time, shall be paid for by the owner, guardian, or his or her agent, upon conviction, a plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere. The department has the authority to commence a civil action for damages against the owner or his or her agent thirty (30) days after written demand for payment of the expense of the suitable care of that animal has been sent and no payment received.
(P.L. 2014, ch. 261, § 2; P.L. 2014, ch. 321, § 2; P.L. 2017, ch. 439, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 444, § 1.)