(a) The law enforcement officer or agent of the county or municipality may provide for the dog or cat until either the dog or cat is returned to the owner by the court, or the court refuses to return the dog or cat to the owner and implements one of the procedures pursuant to subsection (c).
(b) If the owner is adjudged by the court, with certification from a licensed veterinarian, to be able to provide adequately for and have custody of the dog or cat, the dog or cat shall be returned to the owner.
(c) If the court determines that the owner of the dog or cat is unable, unwilling, or unfit to adequately provide for, protect, and have custody of the dog or cat, the court may implement the following by court order:
(1) Upon the testimony of the person taking custody, a licensed veterinarian, or another qualified witness that the dog or cat requires destruction or other disposition for humane reasons or is of no commercial value, order the dog or cat destroyed or remanded directly to the custody of the dog or cat control, humane shelter, or similar facility designated by the county or the municipality or other appropriate person to be disposed of by the facility or person in a humane manner.
(2) Upon proof of the costs incurred by the agent or agency having custody of the dog or cat, order that the owner pay any costs incurred for the care of the dog or cat and for any costs incurred in destroying the dog or cat. A separate hearing may be held by the judge of the district court on the assessment of costs, which assessment shall include all costs of notice and hearing. In the event the court finds the owner innocent of charges, the owner shall not be charged with costs of the care of the dog or cat in custody.
(d) If the court determines that the owner is unable, unwilling, or unfit to adequately provide for and protect any other dog or cat in the custody of the owner that was not originally seized by the agency, agent, or other person when the dog or cat in custody was seized, the court may enjoin the owner of further possession or custody of the unseized dog or cat.
Last modified: May 3, 2021