Maine Revised Statutes

§3919-B. Disposition of pet when owner is institutionalized

Notwithstanding sections 3913 and 3919-A and except as provided in Title 17, section 1021, when a person brings a pet to an animal shelter because the owner of that pet is incarcerated or hospitalized, that person shall provide the animal shelter with the name and address of the pet's owner and the name and address of the facility where the person is incarcerated or hospitalized. The person bringing the pet to the shelter shall also provide the shelter with that person's name and address and that person's relationship to the owner or the official capacity in which that person is acting to enforce the animal welfare laws. The animal shelter may accept the pet unless the shelter is in quarantine. An animal shelter accepting a pet under this section shall comply with the provisions of this section. [2003, c. 405, §9 (NEW).]

1. Notice.  An animal shelter that accepts a pet under this section shall within 24 hours of receiving the pet send a notice by mail, return receipt requested, to the owner of the pet at the owner's last known address. The notice must inform the owner of the provisions of this section.
[ 2009, c. 343, §12 (AMD) .]
2. Release of pet.  Upon payment of costs incurred for food, shelter and veterinary care, an animal shelter shall release a pet accepted under this section to its owner or to a person who is designated in a letter signed by the owner as acting on the owner's behalf.
[ 2003, c. 405, §9 (NEW) .]
3. Transfer of ownership; disposition of pet.  If an owner fails to arrange for release of a pet in accordance with subsection 2 within 10 days of the pet's acceptance by the shelter, ownership of the pet is vested with the animal shelter upon expiration of the 10-day period and the animal shelter may:
A. Except for a wolf hybrid, offer the pet for adoption or sell or give away the pet; or [2011, c. 100, §8 (AMD).]
B. Dispose of the pet humanely in accordance with Title 17, chapter 42, subchapter 4. [2003, c. 405, §9 (NEW).]
An animal shelter may not sell or give a pet to a research facility. An animal shelter may not sell, give away or offer for adoption a wolf hybrid. Ownership of a wolf hybrid may be transferred only in accordance with section 3921-B, subsection 3.
[ 2011, c. 100, §8 (AMD) .]
4. Claims.  When an owner does not arrange for the release of a pet under subsection 2, the animal shelter is entitled to receive from the department $4 a day for food and shelter for the pet for a maximum of 10 days.
[ 2003, c. 405, §9 (NEW) .]
5. Immunity.  A person who brings a pet to an animal shelter in accordance with this section is not civilly liable to the owner for the loss of that pet resulting from the release, transfer or disposition of the pet in accordance with subsection 2 or 3. A veterinarian, a humane agent, an animal control officer or an animal shelter, including a person employed by an animal shelter, is not civilly liable to the owner for the loss of that pet resulting from the release, transfer or disposition of the pet in accordance with subsection 2 or 3.
Nothing in this subsection grants to an animal shelter or person any immunity from liability arising from the gift, sale or other transfer of a pet to a research facility in violation of subsection 3.
[ 2003, c. 405, §9 (NEW) .]
SECTION HISTORY
2003, c. 405, §9 (NEW). 2009, c. 343, §12 (AMD). 2011, c. 100, §8 (AMD).

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