House Bill No. 435

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act requiring that certain information be provided upon the sale of a cat or dog by pet shops; requiring the spaying or neutering of certain cats and dogs that are adopted from or sold by a humane society, animal shelter, or public animal pound; providing a penalty for failure to spay or neuter; and allowing cooperative agreements to provide spaying or neutering services."

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

NEW SECTION. Section 1.  Sale of cat or dog -- information required. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), the following information must be provided by any pet shop operator who makes a cat or dog available for sale:

(a) age, sex, and weight of the animal;

(b) breed of the animal;

(c) a record of vaccinations and veterinary care and treatment the animal has received;

(d) a record of surgical sterilization of the animal or notice of the lack of surgical sterilization, as applicable;

(e) name and address of the breeder of the animal; and

(f) name and address of any person who owned or harbored the animal between its birth and the time of sale.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a cat or dog offered for sale by a humane society or publicly operated animal pound or shelter.

NEW SECTION. Section 2.  Adoption of cat or dog from animal shelter or humane society -- spay or neuter required -- deposit -- penalty. (1) Except as provided in subsections (6) and (7), a humane society or animal shelter or pound may not offer for adoption, sale, or trade any cat or dog that has not been redeemed by the owner unless:

(a) the animal has been spayed or neutered; or

(b) the person to whom the animal is released agrees in writing to have the animal spayed or neutered and a deposit for spaying or neutering the animal has been paid. The deposit must be in an amount determined by the humane society, animal shelter, or pound to be comparable to the lowest fee for spaying or neutering that is charged by veterinarians in the locale.

(2) Upon payment of the deposit required in subsection (1), the person who is adopting the animal must receive a certificate for spaying or neutering, to be presented to a licensed veterinarian, who shall complete the certificate when the spaying or neutering is done. Upon receipt of the completed certificate verifying that the animal has been spayed or neutered, the humane society, animal shelter, or pound shall forward the deposit to the veterinarian who performed the procedure.

(3) The deposit must be forfeited if the spaying or neutering is not done:

(a) within 30 days if the cat or dog is more than 6 months old at the time of adoption; or

(b) by the time the animal reaches the age of 6 months if the animal is less than 6 months old at the time of adoption, or within 30 days of the adoption, whichever is longer.

(4) A deposit forfeited pursuant to subsection (3) may be used only for the following purposes:

(a) a public education program designed to prevent the overpopulation of cats and dogs;

(b) a program to spay or neuter cats and dogs; and

(c) costs incurred in the enforcement of this section, including a follow-up program to ensure that animals adopted, sold, or traded by the humane society, animal shelter, or pound are spayed or neutered.

(5) Failure to fulfill the terms of an agreement entered into pursuant to subsection (1)(b) may result in:

(a) seizure and reimpoundment of the animal by the humane society, animal shelter, or pound; and

(b) at the discretion of the county attorney, filing of a misdemeanor charge punishable by a fine of not more than $500.

(6) The provisions of this section do not apply to an animal for which a licensed veterinarian verifies in writing that spaying or neutering would be injurious to the animal's health.

(7) The provisions of this section do not apply to an animal adopted for breeding purposes if the person adopting the animal pays an additional adoption fee of at least $100.

NEW SECTION. Section 3.  Additional spaying or neutering requirements not precluded -- cooperative agreements. (1) Humane societies, animal shelters, and public animal pounds may enter into cooperative agreements with each other and with licensed veterinarians in carrying out the provisions of [section 2].

(2) [Section 2] does not preclude humane societies, animal shelters, and public animal pounds from engaging in activities set forth in their charters as long as the activities are not inconsistent with [section 2].

(3) Humane societies, animal shelters, and public animal pounds may establish spaying and neutering requirements in addition to the requirements set out in [section 2], such as:

(a) shorter timeframes for compliance with spaying and neutering requirements;

(b) arranging an appointment for spaying or neutering with a licensed veterinarian; and

(c) delivering the animal to a licensed veterinarian for surgery prior to releasing the animal to the adopting person.

NEW SECTION. Section 4.  Codification instruction. [Sections 1 through 3] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 7, chapter 23, and the provisions of Title 7, chapter 23, apply to [sections 1 through 3].