A. Any person who finds a stray animal may attempt to locate and, if located, notify the owner where the animal may be found. If the owner is unknown or cannot be located, or the person elects not to locate or notify the owner, the person shall notify the department and the department shall follow procedures pursuant to this section.
B. A livestock officer or inspector who finds or is notified of a stray animal shall attempt to locate the owner and, if located, notify the owner where the animal may be found. If the owner does not take immediate possession of the animal, or if the owner or claimant is unknown or cannot be located, the livestock officer or inspector shall hold the stray animal for at least seven days, but shall hold the stray animal up to fourteen days at the request of any person or organization, and sell it at public auction to the highest bidder for cash, after giving at least five days’ notice of the sale.
C. The department shall cause notice to be posted in three public places in the justice precinct where the stray animal is held stating:
1. That the stray animal will be sold at public auction for cash to the highest bidder.
2. The location where the stray animal will be held and the location where the animal will be sold.
D. The owner of a stray animal may take possession of the animal at any time prior to sale by proving ownership and paying the inspection fee and all expenses incurred in keeping and caring for the animal.
E. If the owner of the stray does not claim the animal before the day of sale, or if the owner is unknown or cannot be located, the livestock officer or inspector shall sell the animal pursuant to the notice, and shall deliver an invoice of sale or a livestock inspection certificate to the purchaser. The owner of an animal sold may take possession of it at any time before the purchaser sells it by paying to the purchaser the purchase price paid at the sale, together with the expense of keeping and caring for the animal from the date of sale to the time the owner takes possession of the animal.
F. Livestock that is received at auction markets without proper documentation but with no evidence of criminal intent by the shipper may be sold, but the director shall impound the proceeds of the sale in the livestock custody trust fund established by section 3-1377. On presentation of proper documentation of ownership, the director shall pay the proceeds, less any charges incurred, to the person who is entitled to the proceeds.
G. The director may contract with any person to handle, feed and care for stray animals taken into custody under this section. This state is not liable for the injury or death of any person or stray animal or damage to property due to performance of the contract.