45-6-329. Disposition of property and proceeds of sale. (1) If the court finds that property seized pursuant to the theft of a commonly domesticated hoofed animal or illegal branding or altering or obscuring a brand was not used for the purpose charged or that the property listed in 45-6-328(1) was used without the knowledge or consent of the owner, it shall order the property released to the owner of record as of the date of the seizure.
(2) If the court finds that the property was used for the purpose charged and that the property listed in 45-6-328(1) was used with the knowledge or consent of the owner, the property must be disposed of as follows:
(a) If proper proof of the claim is presented at the hearing by the holder of a security interest, the court shall order the property released to the holder of the security interest if the amount due the holder of the security interest is equal to or in excess of the value of the property as of the date of seizure. If the amount due the holder of the security interest is less than the value of the property, the property, if it is sold, must be sold at public auction by the department of livestock in the same manner provided by law for the sale of property under execution or the department of livestock may return the property to the holder of the security interest without proceeding with an auction. The property may not be sold to an officer or employee of the department of livestock or to a person related to a department officer or employee by blood or marriage.
(b) If no claimant exists and the department of livestock wishes to retain the property for its official use, it may do so. If the property is not to be retained, it must be sold as provided in subsection (2)(a).
(c) If a claimant who has presented proper proof of a claim exists and the department of livestock wishes to retain the property for its official use, it may do so if it compensates the claimant in the amount of the security interest outstanding at the time of the seizure.
(3) In making a disposition of property under this section, the court may take any action to protect the rights of innocent persons.
(4) Whenever property is seized, forfeited, and sold under the provisions of this section, the net proceeds of the sale must be distributed as follows:
(a) to the holders of security interests who have presented proper proof of their claims, if any, up to the amount of their interests in the property; and
(b) the remainder, if any, to the credit of the department of livestock to be used in enforcement activities related to the theft of commonly domesticated hoofed animals and illegal branding or altering or obscuring a brand.