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(a) Subject to the exceptions provided in subsections (b), (c), and (d), the Department, or any agency the Department may designate to take possession of animals for the purposes of impounding, shall hold impounded animals for a minimum of seven days, unless the owner redeems the animal sooner, during which time reasonable means shall be used to facilitate their return to the rightful owners. The owner of any animal impounded in any animal control center may, at any time during visiting hours at the animal control center, and before the sale or other disposal as provided in this chapter, redeem such animal by paying the required fees or charges and, in the case of an unlicensed animal, by complying with the license requirements. The seven-day holding period shall not apply to an animal relinquished by its owner to the Department under owner signature authorizing the Department to make immediate disposition of the animal at its discretion, nor shall any required holding period apply to an animal received for impounding in obviously critical physical condition or for which immediate euthanasia shall be deemed proper for humane reasons by the Executive Director or the Executive Director's designee.
(b) Any impounded animal of unknown ownership that remains unredeemed after three days shall be the property of the Department. The Executive Director may allow the adoption or transfer of any animal of unknown ownership after three days of impoundment, or any other disposition of the animal after five days of impoundment. In the event the Executive Director determines that an animal of unknown ownership suffers from severe behavioral issues, the Executive Director may allow any disposition of the animal after three days impoundment. Wild animals which are noxious by their very nature, such as wild rats and undomesticated rodents, may be euthanized at once following an examination for zoonotic diseases.
(c) The Executive Director may allow the immediate adoption, or immediate transfer to an animal shelter or similar facility, of: (1) any impounded cat of unknown ownership; and (2) any impounded litter of puppies aged four months or younger of unknown ownership, as well as their mother, if she is present. The Executive Director also may allow the immediate transfer or other disposition of any impounded unweaned neonate animal of unknown ownership.
(d) The Executive Director shall have the authority to adopt rules necessary for the administration of this section.
(Prior code § 98-3.3; Amend Coun. J. 12-4-02, p. 99026, § 4.1; Amend Coun. J. 11-12-14, p. 96630, § 1; Amend Coun. J. 11-16-16, p. 37901, Art. I, § 9; Amend Coun. J. 11-21-17, p. 61755, Art. XII, § 5)