The Law Regarding Abandoned Animals Left at a Vet’s Office

Some of you folks reading this blog are interested in what will happen to Zero.  She’s still at the vet’s office and has made a home for herself there for the time being.  Monday, July 12, 2010, is the 10th day in our care.  I found online the law in the state of SC regarding animals that are abandoned at a vet’s office.

Yesterday, I bought Zero a pink collar.  Today, I emailed sad pictures of her when she first came to us to the rescue group, Maranatha Farm, who has network ties to other rescue groups.  It looks like the legal system will work in our favor and that she can be re-homed.

The South Carolina Legislative Council is offering access to the unannotated South Carolina Code of Laws on the Internet as a service to the public. The unannotated South Carolina Code on the General Assembly’s website is now current through the 2009 session. The unannotated South Carolina Code, consisting only of Code text and numbering, may be copied from this website at the reader’s expense and effort without need for permission.

The Legislative Council is unable to assist users of this service with legal questions. Also, legislative staff cannot respond to requests for legal advice or the application of the law to specific facts. Therefore, to understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult your own private lawyer regarding all legal questions.

While every effort was made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the unannotated South Carolina Code available on the South Carolina General Assembly’s website, the unannotated South Carolina Code is not official, and the state agencies preparing this website and the General Assembly are not responsible for any errors or omissions which may occur in these files. Only the current published volumes of the South Carolina Code of Laws Annotated and any pertinent acts and joint resolutions contain the official version.

Please note that the Legislative Council is not able to respond to individual inquiries regarding research or the features, format, or use of this website. However, you may notify Legislative Printing, Information and Technology Systems at regarding any apparent errors or omissions in content of Code sections on this website, in which case LPITS will relay the information to appropriate staff members of the South Carolina Legislative Council for investigation.

(Scroll down to the section regarding abandoned animals…)

SECTION 40-69-280. Abandoned animals; notice to owner.

(A) An animal is considered abandoned when the animal has been placed in the custody of a licensed veterinarian for boarding, treatment, or other care and is unclaimed by its owner or the owner’s agent and the owner or the owner’s agent has not paid the charges for the boarding, treatment, or other care within ten days of notice of these charges being provided to the owner or the owner’s agent in accordance with this section and no other payment agreement with the owner or the owner’s agent has been reached.

(B) The notice required in subsection (A) must be given to the owner of the animal or the owner’s agent at his last known address by registered mail or by certified mail, return receipt requested, and must contain a statement that if the animal is not claimed and if the charges are not paid within ten days after receipt of the notice, the animal may be sold, donated, turned over to the nearest humane society or animal shelter or otherwise disposed of as the person having custody of the animal considers proper.

(C) The owner of an abandoned animal is deemed to have relinquished all rights and claims to the animal by virtue of the abandonment.

(D) Providing notice to the owner or the owner’s agent pursuant to this section relieves the custodian of the animal of any liability for the sale, donation, euthanasia, or other disposal of the animal.

SECTION 40-69-285. Liens for payment of fees. 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.


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2 Responses to “The Law Regarding Abandoned Animals Left at a Vet’s Office”

  1. Linda Smith Says:

    You go Girl!!! and Zero too!


    • ruthrawls Says:

      The registered letter was sent today. Still no word from the owner. How do you like the name “Zoey”? She has learned to sit for a treat.
      She is heartworm positive. I started her on the slow-kill method today.


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