68-17. Impounding livestock at large; right to recover costs and damages; abandoned livestock.

(a) Any person may take up any livestock running at large or straying and impound the same; and such impounder may recover from the owner the reasonable costs of impounding and maintaining the livestock as well as damages to the impounder caused by such livestock, and may retain the livestock, with the right to use with proper care until such recovery is had. Reasonable costs of impounding shall include any fees paid pursuant to G.S. 68-18.1 in order to locate the owner.

(b) Livestock is deemed to be abandoned when (i) it is placed in the custody of any other person for treatment, boarding, or care; (ii) the owner of the livestock does not retake custody of the animal within two months after the last day the owner paid a fee to the custodian for the treatment, boarding, or care of the livestock; and (iii) the custodian has made reasonable attempts to collect any past-due fees during the two-month period. If, after the end of the two-month period, the custodian of the abandoned livestock has been unsuccessful in collecting the past-due fees and the owner of the livestock has not retaken custody of the livestock, the custodian may sell or transfer the livestock by executing an affidavit that identifies the buyer or transferee of the livestock and certifies compliance with the criteria and requirements of this subsection. If the custodian is unable to sell or transfer the livestock, the custodian may, but shall not be required to, otherwise humanely dispose of the abandoned livestock. A custodian shall provide written notice of the provisions of this subsection in conspicuous type to the owner of livestock at the time the livestock is delivered for treatment, boarding, or care as follows: "Pursuant to N.C. General Statutes 68-17(b), the owner of this facility is entitled to sell, transfer, or otherwise humanely dispose of any livestock abandoned at this facility." (Code, s. 2186; Rev., s. 1679; C.S., s. 1850; 1951, c. 569; 1971, c. 741, s. 1; 1991, c. 472, s. 3; 2017-108, s. 4.)