Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

CHAPTER 346. STRAY ANIMALS; COMPANION ANIMALS

Table of Sections
SectionHeadnote

ESTRAYS

346.01WHO MAY TAKE UP.
346.02FINDER TO GIVE NOTICE; PENALTY.
346.03APPRAISEMENT.
346.04CHARGES FOR KEEPING.
346.05SALE OF ESTRAY.
346.06MONEY, HOW DISPOSED OF.
346.07REMOVAL OF ESTRAY; NEGLECT TO GIVE NOTICE.

ANIMALS DOING DAMAGE

346.08DISTRAINT OF ANIMALS DOING DAMAGE.
346.09ANIMALS DOING DAMAGE.
346.10APPRAISEMENT; PROCEDURE.
346.11TENDER BY OWNER; EFFECT.
346.12IMPOUNDMENTS.
346.13POUNDMASTER; CUSTODY; SALE; TIME; NOTICE.
346.14SALE OF ANIMAL NOT IMPOUNDED.
346.15REDEMPTION.

POSSESSING REGULATED ANIMALS

346.155POSSESSING REGULATED ANIMALS.

ANIMALS AT LARGE

346.16RUNNING AT LARGE; DEFINED; PROHIBITED; TREBLE DAMAGES.
346.17PROCEEDS OF SALE.
346.18TAKING DISTRAINED BEASTS A MISDEMEANOR.
346.19Repealed, 2001 c 21 s 1
346.20Renumbered 343.20
346.21Renumbered 343.21
346.215Renumbered 343.22
346.216Renumbered 343.23
346.22Renumbered 343.24
346.23Renumbered 343.25
346.24Renumbered 343.26
346.25Renumbered 343.27
346.26Renumbered 343.28
346.27Renumbered 343.29
346.28Renumbered 343.30
346.29Renumbered 343.31
346.30Renumbered 343.32
346.31Renumbered 343.33
346.32Renumbered 343.34
346.33Renumbered 343.35
346.34Renumbered 343.36

PET AND COMPANION ANIMAL WELFARE ACT

346.35CITATION.
346.36DEFINITIONS.
346.37GENERAL PROVISIONS.
346.38EQUINES.
346.39DOGS AND CATS.
346.40PET BIRDS.
346.41RODENTS.
346.42OTHER ANIMALS.
346.43FARM ANIMALS EXCLUDED.
346.44PENALTIES.

DOGS; CATS; ANIMAL SHELTERS; RESEARCH ANIMALS

346.50DOGS; IDENTIFICATION.
346.51BITES.
346.52LOCAL PROGRAMS.
346.53PENALTIES.
346.54NOTIFICATION OF OWNERS.
346.55CIVIL LIABILITY.
346.56UNAUTHORIZED RELEASE OF ANIMALS.
346.57DOGS AND CATS IN MOTOR VEHICLES.
346.58DOGS AND CATS; BEST MANAGEMENT STANDARDS FOR CARE BY DEALERS, COMMERCIAL BREEDERS, AND BROKERS.

ESTRAYS

346.01 WHO MAY TAKE UP.
No person shall take up any estray, except horses or mules, unless such estray shall be found
on lands owned or occupied by the person in the town wherein the person resides.
History: (7267) RL s 2769; 1986 c 444
346.02 FINDER TO GIVE NOTICE; PENALTY.
A person who finds an estray and knows who owns it shall notify the owner within seven
days after finding the estray and request the owner to pay all reasonable charges and take such
estray away. A finder who does not know who owns the estray shall within ten days file a notice
with the town clerk. The clerk shall transmit a copy thereof to the county recorder, who shall
record the same in a book designated "estray book." The finder shall give posted notice of the
finding of the estray in said town. The notice shall briefly describe the estray, giving its marks,
natural and artificial, as nearly as practicable, naming the residence of the finder, and specifying
the town, section, and time when taken up. For failure to give such notice, the finder shall be liable
to the owner of the estray in double the amount of damages sustained by the owner thereby.
History: (7268) RL s 2770; 1976 c 181 s 2; 1984 c 543 s 31; 1986 c 444
346.03 APPRAISEMENT.
Every finder of an estray of the value of $10 or more at the time of taking up shall, within
one month, have it appraised by a county or municipal judge. The certificate of appraisement shall
be filed with the town clerk. The finder shall pay 50 cents for the certificate and six cents per mile
for each mile necessarily traveled to make the appraisal.
History: (7269) RL s 2771; 1983 c 359 s 34
346.04 CHARGES FOR KEEPING.
The person entitled to the possession of any estray, at any time within one year after notice
is filed with the town clerk, may have it restored upon proving the right to it and paying all
lawful charges that occur in relation to it. If the person and the finder cannot agree as to the
amount of the charges, or upon what should be allowed for the use of the estray, either party, on
notice to the other, may apply to a district court judge to settle the disagreement. The judge may
examine witnesses on oath. If any amount is owed to the finder, over the value of the use of the
estray, the money, with costs, shall be a lien upon the estray. The costs of the adjudication shall
be allocated by the judge.
History: (7270) RL s 2772; 1983 c 359 s 35; 1986 c 444; 1998 c 254 art 2 s 33
346.05 SALE OF ESTRAY.
If no claimant for such estray shall cause its return to the claimant as before provided, and if
such estray shall not have been appraised at more than $10, the finder shall thereupon become the
owner thereof; but, if such appraised value exceeds $10, the estray shall be sold at public auction
by any peace officer of the county on the request of the finder. Notice thereof shall be given and
the sale conducted and the same fees allowed as in case of sales upon justice's execution. The
finder may bid at such sale, and at the time thereof shall deliver to such officer a statement, in
writing, of the finder's charges. After deducting such charges, if reasonable, and the costs of sale,
the officer shall deposit the remainder of the money, together with the written statement and a
statement of the costs of sale, with the county treasurer, taking the treasurer's receipt therefor. If
the finder of any such estray shall fail to cause the sale to be made, the finder shall pay to the town
the value of the estray, to be recovered in an action by the town.
History: (7271) RL s 2773; 1986 c 444; 2005 c 10 art 2 s 2
346.06 MONEY, HOW DISPOSED OF.
If the money so deposited be not claimed by the former owner of the estray within one year
after such sale, the same shall be paid by the county treasurer into the public school fund.
History: (7272) RL s 2774
346.07 REMOVAL OF ESTRAY; NEGLECT TO GIVE NOTICE.
If any person, without the consent of the finder, shall take away any estray taken up pursuant
to this chapter, without first paying all lawful charges incurred in relation to the same, the person
shall be liable to the finder for the value of the estray; and, if any person taking up the estray
shall neglect to comply with the provisions of this chapter, that person shall be precluded from
acquiring any right of property in such estray and from receiving any charges or compensation in
relation thereto.
History: (7273) RL s 2775; 1986 c 444

ANIMALS DOING DAMAGE

346.08 DISTRAINT OF ANIMALS DOING DAMAGE.
The owner or occupant of lands may distrain any beast doing damage thereon, either while
upon the premises or upon immediate pursuit of such beast escaping therefrom, and before
returning to the enclosure or immediate care of the owner or keeper, and keep such beast upon
the distrainer's premises, or in some public ground in the distrainer's town, until the damages
shall be appraised, as hereinafter provided.
History: (7274) RL s 2776; 1986 c 444
346.09 ANIMALS DOING DAMAGE.
    Subdivision 1. Notice; appraisers. The person distraining shall give notice to the owner
of the beast, if known to the distrainer, within 24 hours if the owner resides in the same town,
and within 48 hours if the owner resides in another town in the same county, Sundays excepted.
The notice shall specify the time when and the place where distrained, the number of beasts, and
the place of their detention, and that at a time and place stated therein, which shall not be less
than 12 hours after the service of the notice, nor more than three days after the distress, the
distrainer will apply to a designated judge of the county for the appointment of appraisers to
appraise the damages. If the owner is unknown or does not reside in the county, the distraining
person shall apply for the appointment of appraisers within 24 hours after the distress without
notice. After the application, the judge shall appoint three disinterested residents of the town to
appraise the damages.
    Subd. 2. Owners right to appraisal. If the distraining person fails to apply for appointment
of appraisers within the time designated in subdivision 1, the owner of the beasts distrained may
in the same manner apply for appointment of appraisers.
History: (7275) RL s 2777; 1953 c 8 s 1; 1983 c 359 s 36; 1986 c 444; 2006 c 260 art 5 s 7
346.10 APPRAISEMENT; PROCEDURE.
The appraisers, immediately after their appointment, shall be sworn and view the damage
done. They may take the evidence of any witnesses of the facts and circumstances necessary to
enable them to ascertain the extent of such damage, and the insufficiency of any line fence on
the premises where the damage was done, if any dispute shall arise touching the same, and may
administer oaths to such witnesses. They shall certify, under their hands, the amount of such
damages, and the costs of keeping such beasts to that time, with their fees, not exceeding $1 per
day each; and their determination as to such damages, and the sufficiency of such fence, if in
dispute, shall be conclusive.
History: (7276) RL s 2778
346.11 TENDER BY OWNER; EFFECT.
At any time before proceedings are begun for such appraisement, or before action is brought
for the recovery of damages, the owner or the owner's agent may tender, to the person aggrieved
by the depredation of such animal, the amount of damages which such owner may believe has
been sustained. If the tender be accepted, no further damages shall be recovered in any way; if
refused, and the person aggrieved fails to substantiate or recover as damages a sum greater than
that tendered, no costs, disbursements, or expenses shall be collected or recovered in the aggrieved
person's favor, but the aggrieved person shall pay the costs and disbursements of such owner.
History: (7277) RL s 2779; 1986 c 444
346.12 IMPOUNDMENTS.
Unless the damages so ascertained, together with the fees of the appraisers and justice, shall
be paid within 24 hours after appraisal, the person distraining shall cause the beasts to be put into
the nearest pound of the same town, if there be one; and, if not, then in some secure enclosure
therein, where the same shall remain until sold, as hereinafter directed, or until the damages,
fees, and the costs of keeping the beasts after appraisal shall be paid, or until otherwise seized
or discharged according to law. From the time of seizure until discharged or sold, such beasts
shall be furnished with suitable food, the expense of which, after the appraisal, shall be added
thereto as additional costs; and, if the beasts be put in a pound, the certificate of appraisal shall
be delivered to the keeper thereof.
History: (7278) RL s 2780
346.13 POUNDMASTER; CUSTODY; SALE; TIME; NOTICE.
The poundmaster shall receive and keep in the public pound any beasts so delivered to the
poundmaster; and, unless seized or discharged according to law within six days, shall sell the
same or as many as shall be necessary to pay such damages, fees, and costs, at public auction,
giving three days' posted notice thereof, and posting one such notice on the pound.
History: (7279) RL s 2781; 1986 c 444
346.14 SALE OF ANIMAL NOT IMPOUNDED.
If, by reason of there being no pound within such town, such beasts shall be kept within
some other enclosure, and shall not be discharged therefrom in the manner hereinbefore provided
within six days after being placed therein, the sheriff of the county shall sell such beasts, or so
many as may be necessary to pay such damages, fees, and costs of keeping, upon the same notice
as is required in sales of personal property, on execution.
History: (7280) RL s 2782; 2005 c 10 art 2 s 4
346.15 REDEMPTION.
The purchaser of any animal sold under sections 346.13 and 346.14 shall keep the same at
least two months, during which time the owner may redeem such animal by paying all costs
and charges of keeping, and the amount paid therefor at the sale, with interest thereon at 12
percent per annum.
History: (7281) RL s 2783

POSSESSING REGULATED ANIMALS

346.155 POSSESSING REGULATED ANIMALS.
    Subdivision 1. Definitions. (a) The definitions in this subdivision apply to this section.
(b) "Person" means any natural person, firm, partnership, corporation, or association,
however organized.
(c) "Wildlife sanctuary" means a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that:
(1) operates a place of refuge where abused, neglected, unwanted, impounded, abandoned,
orphaned, or displaced wildlife are provided care for their lifetime;
(2) does not conduct any commercial activity with respect to any animal of which the
organization is an owner; and
(3) does not buy, sell, trade, auction, lease, loan, or breed any animal of which the
organization is an owner, except as an integral part of the species survival plan of the American
Zoo and Aquarium Association.
(d) "Possess" means to own, care for, have custody of, or control.
(e) "Regulated animal" means:
(1) all members of the Felidae family including, but not limited to, lions, tigers, cougars,
leopards, cheetahs, ocelots, and servals, but not including domestic cats or cats recognized as a
domestic breed, registered as a domestic breed, and shown as a domestic breed by a national or
international multibreed cat registry association;
(2) bears; and
(3) all nonhuman primates, including, but not limited to, lemurs, monkeys, chimpanzees,
gorillas, orangutans, marmosets, lorises, and tamarins.
Regulated animal includes any hybrid or cross between an animal listed in clause (1), (2),
or (3) and a domestic animal and offspring from all subsequent generations of those crosses
or hybrids.
(f) "Local animal control authority" means an agency of the state, county, municipality, or
other governmental subdivision of the state that is responsible for animal control operations in
its jurisdiction.
(g) "Bodily harm," "substantial bodily harm," and "great bodily harm" have the meanings
given them in section 609.02.
    Subd. 2. Possession of regulated animals. (a) Except as provided in this section, it is
unlawful for a person to possess a regulated animal.
(b) A person who possesses a regulated animal on January 1, 2005, has 90 days to come
into compliance with regulations promulgated by the United States Department of Agriculture
for regulated animals under the Animal Welfare Act, Public Law 89-544, and its subsequent
amendments, and the regulations adopted under that act relating to facilities and operations,
animal health and husbandry, and veterinary care for regulated animals.
(c) Except as provided in paragraph (e), a person must not take possession of a regulated
animal after January 1, 2005.
(d) Except as provided in paragraph (e), a person must not allow regulated animals in their
possession to breed after January 1, 2005.
(e) Except as provided in paragraph (g), a person who possesses a valid United States
Department of Agriculture license and is in compliance with the United States Department of
Agriculture Animal Welfare Act regulations and standards on January 1, 2005, may breed,
purchase, or otherwise acquire new regulated animals after January 1, 2005, in order to:
(1) maintain the operating inventory of regulated animals possessed on January 1, 2005;
(2) sell regulated animals to other United States Department of Agriculture licensed and
compliant facilities within Minnesota for replacement purposes as provided in clause (1);
(3) sell regulated animals outside Minnesota; or
(4) sell regulated animals to persons eligible under paragraph (f). Offspring under six months
of age shall not be counted for the purpose of determining the number of replacement animals
that can be possessed under this paragraph.
(f) Except as provided in paragraph (g), a person who does not hold a United States
Department of Agriculture license for regulated animals, possesses a regulated animal on January
1, 2005, and has properly registered the animal may replace the regulated animal if it dies, but
may replace it only once.
(g) If a regulated animal dies of neglect or cruelty, is seized pursuant to subdivision 5, or if
the person is involved in illegal activities, the person cannot acquire a replacement animal.
    Subd. 3. Registration. (a) Within 60 days after January 1, 2005, a person who possesses a
regulated animal must notify in writing the local animal control authority using a registration
form prepared by the Minnesota Animal Control Association and approved by the Board of
Animal Health. The notification shall include the person's name, address, telephone number, and a
complete inventory of each regulated animal that the person possesses. The inventory shall
include the following information: number and species of each regulated animal; the microchip
number and manufacturer for each regulated animal if available; the exact location where each
regulated animal is kept; and age, sex, color, weight, scars, and any distinguishing marks of
each regulated animal.
(b) If a person who possesses a regulated animal has a microchip implanted in the animal
for identification, the name of the microchip manufacturer and the identification number of
the microchip must be provided to the local animal control authority. If a regulated animal is
sedated for any reason and the animal does not have a microchip implanted, a microchip must be
implanted in the regulated animal. Within 30 days after the microchip is implanted, the name of
the microchip manufacturer and the identification number of the microchip must be provided to
the local animal control authority. A person selling or transferring ownership of offspring under
six months of age as provided in subdivision 2, paragraph (e), is encouraged to have a microchip
implanted in the animal prior to the sale or transfer. Within 30 days of acquisition, a person
acquiring ownership of an offspring with a microchip implanted shall comply with microchip
information reporting requirements under this section.
(c) If a local animal control authority performs an initial site inspection, a fee of up to $50
may be charged. An annual fee of $25 per animal to register regulated animals up to a maximum
of $250 annually per person may be charged. The local animal control authority may charge an
additional site inspection fee of $50 if the person acquires and possesses another type of regulated
animal. A certificate of registration must be issued by the local animal control authority to the
person upon payment of the fee.
    Subd. 4. Requirements. (a) A person who possesses a regulated animal must maintain health
and ownership records on each animal and must maintain the records for the life of the animal.
If possession of the regulated animal is transferred to another person, a copy of the health and
ownership records must accompany the animal.
(b) A person who possesses a regulated animal must maintain an ongoing program of
veterinary care which includes a veterinary visit to the premises at least annually.
(c) A person who possesses a regulated animal must notify the local animal control authority
in writing within ten days of a change in address or location where the regulated animal is kept.
The notification of change in address or location form must be prepared by the Minnesota Animal
Control Association and approved by the Board of Animal Health.
(d) A person with a United States Department of Agriculture license for regulated animals
shall forward a copy of the United States Department of Agriculture inspection report to the local
animal control authority within 30 days of receipt of the inspection report.
(e) A person who possesses a regulated animal shall prominently display a sign on the
structure where the animal is housed indicating that a dangerous regulated animal is on the
premises.
(f) A person who possesses a regulated animal must notify, as soon as practicable, local law
enforcement officials of any escape of a regulated animal. The person who possesses the regulated
animal is liable for any costs incurred by any person, city, county, or state agency resulting from
the escape of a regulated animal unless the escape is due to a criminal act by another person or
a natural event.
(g) A person who possesses a regulated animal must maintain a written recovery plan in the
event of the escape of a regulated animal. The person must maintain live traps, or other equipment
necessary to assist in the recovery of the regulated animal.
(h) A person may not move a regulated animal from its location unless the person notifies the
local animal control authority prior to moving the animal. The notification must include the date
and the location where the animal is to be moved. This paragraph does not apply to a regulated
animal transported to a licensed veterinarian.
(i) If a person who possesses a regulated animal can no longer care for the animal, the person
shall take steps to find long-term placement for the regulated animal.
    Subd. 5. Seizure. (a) The local animal control authority, upon issuance of a notice of
inspection, must be granted access at reasonable times to sites where the local animal control
authority has reason to believe a violation of this chapter is occurring or has occurred.
(b) If a person who possesses a regulated animal is not in compliance with the requirements
of this section, the local animal control authority shall take possession of the animal for custody
and care, provided that the procedures in this subdivision are followed.
(c) Upon request of a person possessing a regulated animal, the local animal control authority
may allow the animal to remain in the physical custody of the owner for 30 days, during which
time the owner shall take all necessary actions to come in compliance with this section. During
the 30-day period, the local animal control authority may inspect, at any reasonable time, the
premises where the animal is kept.
(d) If a person who possesses a regulated animal is not in compliance with this section
following the 30-day period described in paragraph (c), the local animal control authority shall
seize the animal and place it in a holding facility that is appropriate for the species for up to
ten days.
(e) The authority taking custody of an animal under this section shall provide a notice of
the seizure by delivering or mailing it to the owner, by posting a copy of it at the place where
the animal is taken into custody, or by delivering it to a person residing on the property. The
notice must include:
(1) a description of the animal seized; the authority for and purpose of the seizure; the
time, place, and circumstances under which the animal was seized; and a contact person and
telephone number;
(2) a statement that a person from whom a regulated animal was seized may post security to
prevent disposition of the animal and may request a hearing concerning the seizure and that failure
to do so within five business days of the date of the notice will result in disposition of the animal;
(3) a statement that actual costs of the care, keeping, and disposal of the regulated animal are
the responsibility of the person from whom the animal was seized, except to the extent that a court
or hearing officer finds that the seizure or impoundment was not substantially justified by law; and
(4) a form that can be used by a person from whom a regulated animal was seized for
requesting a hearing under this subdivision.
(f) If a person from whom the regulated animal was seized makes a request within five
business days of the seizure, a hearing must be held within five business days of the request to
determine the validity of the seizure and disposition of the animal. The judge or hearing officer
may authorize the return of the animal to the person from whom the animal was seized if the
judge or hearing officer finds:
(1) that the person can and will provide the care required by law for the regulated animal; and
(2) the regulated animal is physically fit.
(g) If a judge or hearing officer orders a permanent disposition of the regulated animal, the
local animal control authority may take steps to find long-term placement for the animal with a
wildlife sanctuary, persons authorized by the Department of Natural Resources, or an appropriate
United States Department of Agriculture licensed facility.
(h) A person from whom a regulated animal is seized is liable for all actual costs of care,
keeping, and disposal of the animal, except to the extent that a court or hearing officer finds that
the seizure was not substantially justified by law. The costs must be paid in full or a mutually
satisfactory arrangement for payment must be made between the local animal control authority
and the person claiming an interest in the animal before return of the animal to the person.
(i) A person from whom a regulated animal has been seized under this subdivision may
prevent disposition of the animal by posting security in the amount sufficient to provide for the
actual costs of care and keeping of the animal. The security must be posted within five business
days of the seizure, inclusive of the day of the seizure.
(j) If circumstances exist threatening the life of a person or the life of any animal, local
law enforcement or the local animal control authority may seize a regulated animal without an
opportunity for hearing or court order, or destroy the animal.
    Subd. 6. Disposal of animals. Upon proper determination by a Minnesota licensed
veterinarian, any regulated animal taken into custody under this section may be immediately
disposed of when the regulated animal is suffering and is beyond cure through reasonable
care and treatment. The authority taking custody of the regulated animal may recover all costs
incurred under this section.
    Subd. 7. Exemptions. This section does not apply to:
(1) institutions accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association;
(2) a wildlife sanctuary;
(3) fur-bearing animals, as defined in section 97A.015, possessed by a game farm that is
licensed under section 97A.105, or bears possessed by a game farm that is licensed under section
97A.105;
(4) the Department of Natural Resources, or a person authorized by permit issued by the
commissioner of natural resources pursuant to section 97A.401, subdivision 3;
(5) a licensed or accredited research or medical institution; or
(6) a United States Department of Agriculture licensed exhibitor of regulated animals while
transporting or as part of a circus, carnival, rodeo, or fair.
    Subd. 8. License transfer. Nothing in this section precludes a person who holds a valid
United States Department of Agriculture license from selling or transferring the entire business
and the regulated animals covered by that license to another person who holds a valid United
States Department of Agriculture license.
    Subd. 9. Report to Board of Animal Health. By July 1 each year, a local animal control
authority shall report to the Board of Animal Health on regulated animals registered with the local
animal control authority. The report shall include all registration information submitted to the
local animal control authority under subdivision 3, paragraph (a), and information on enforcement
actions taken under this section.
    Subd. 9a. Confinement and control. A person violates this subdivision who possesses a
regulated animal and negligently fails to control the animal or keep it properly confined and as a
result the animal causes bodily harm, substantial bodily harm, or great bodily harm to another
person.
    Subd. 10. Penalty. (a) A person who knowingly violates subdivision 2, 3, paragraph (b) or
(c), or 4 is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) A person who knowingly violates subdivision 3, paragraph (a), is guilty of a gross
misdemeanor.
(c) A person who violates subdivision 9a, resulting in bodily harm is guilty of a misdemeanor
and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 90 days or to payment of a fine of not
more than $1,000, or both.
(d) A person who violates subdivision 9a, resulting in substantial bodily harm is guilty of
a gross misdemeanor and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to
payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.
(e) A person who violates subdivision 9a, resulting in great bodily harm or death is guilty of
a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than two years or to payment of a
fine of not more than $5,000, or both, unless a greater penalty is provided elsewhere.
History: 2004 c 264 s 1; 2006 c 260 art 1 s 5-9

ANIMALS AT LARGE

346.16 RUNNING AT LARGE; DEFINED; PROHIBITED; TREBLE DAMAGES.
The herding of any animal of the species of cattle, horse, ass, mule, sheep, swine, or goat
upon any land over the protest and against the will of the owner shall be deemed a running at large.
It shall be unlawful for any owner or any person having the control of any such animal to
permit the same to run at large in the state.
Any person who shall knowingly permit the running at large of any such domestic animal
shall be liable to the person aggrieved for treble damages sustained by the aggrieved person, to be
recovered in a civil action brought for that purpose.
History: (7295, 7296, 7297) 1913 c 459 s 1-3; 1986 c 444
346.17 PROCEEDS OF SALE.
From the proceeds of such sale the person making it shall retain sales fees, which shall be the
same as are allowed on execution sales, and the costs of keeping such beasts, and shall pay to the
distrainer the damages so certified, with fees of the appraisers and justice; and the surplus, if any,
shall be paid to the owner of the beasts, if known. If no one appears at the time of the sale, or
within one week thereafter, who claims such surplus, the same shall be paid to the treasurer of the
town, to be paid to the owner of the beasts, if claimed within one year after the distress. If not
applied for within one year, the money shall be applied to the use of the town.
History: (7282) RL s 2784; 1986 c 444; 2005 c 10 art 2 s 4
346.18 TAKING DISTRAINED BEASTS A MISDEMEANOR.
If any person, without authority of law, and without first paying the damages and costs,
takes any distrained beast out of the possession of the person making the distress, or that of the
sheriff or poundmaster, as the case may be, without the possessor's consent, the taker shall be
guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall also be liable to the person injured in double the amount
of the damage done by such beasts.
History: (7283) RL s 2785; 1986 c 444; 2005 c 10 art 2 s 4
346.19 [Repealed, 2001 c 21 s 1]
346.20 [Renumbered 343.20]
346.21 [Renumbered 343.21]
346.215 [Renumbered 343.22]
346.216 [Renumbered 343.23]
346.22 [Renumbered 343.24]
346.23 [Renumbered 343.25]
346.24 [Renumbered 343.26]
346.25 [Renumbered 343.27]
346.26 [Renumbered 343.28]
346.27 [Renumbered 343.29]
346.28 [Renumbered 343.30]
346.29 [Renumbered 343.31]
346.30 [Renumbered 343.32]
346.31 [Renumbered 343.33]
346.32 [Renumbered 343.34]
346.33 [Renumbered 343.35]
346.34 [Renumbered 343.36]

PET AND COMPANION ANIMAL WELFARE ACT

346.35 CITATION.
Sections 346.35 to 346.44 may be cited as the "Pet and Companion Animal Welfare Act."
History: 1983 c 358 s 1
346.36 DEFINITIONS.
    Subdivision 1. Scope. Sections 346.35 to 346.44 shall only apply to veterinarians, animal
boarding facilities, and commercial animal facilities. As used in sections 346.35 to 346.44 the
terms defined in this section have the meanings given them.
    Subd. 2. Abuse. "Abuse" means intentionally causing unnecessary pain, injury, suffering,
or harassment to a pet or companion animal.
    Subd. 3. Cruelty. "Cruelty" means causing or allowing unnecessary pain, suffering, or
unjustifiable injury or death to a pet or companion animal.
    Subd. 4. Expert opinion. "Expert opinion" means the opinion of at least one licensed
Minnesota veterinarian selected by an investigating officer.
    Subd. 5. Neglect. "Neglect" means failure to provide the minimum care required for the
health and well-being of a pet or companion animal.
    Subd. 6. Pet or companion animal. "Pet" or "companion animal" means a nonhuman
mammal, bird, or reptile impounded or held for breeding, or possessed by, cared for, or controlled
by a person for the present or future enjoyment of that person or another.
    Subd. 7. Shelter; confinement area. "Shelter" or "confinement area" means an enclosure
provided to protect or confine a pet or companion animal when it is not in transit.
History: 1983 c 216 art 2 s 14; 1983 c 358 s 2
346.37 GENERAL PROVISIONS.
    Subdivision 1. Abandoned animals. (a) If an animal is left with a veterinarian, boarding
facility, or commercial facility pursuant to a written agreement with the owner or person in
possession of the animal and the owner or lawful possessor of the animal has not claimed
the animal within ten days after notice in accordance with paragraph (b) or (d), the animal is
abandoned and the owner has no further rights or claim to the animal.
(b) The notice required under paragraph (a), must be given by the veterinarian, boarding
facility, or commercial facility to the owner or the owner's agent at the person's last known
address by certified mail, return receipt requested, or may be served upon the owner or owner's
agent in the manner that a summons is served in a civil court action in the district courts. The
notice must notify the owner or owner's agent that the animal may be redeemed by paying all
prior expenses incurred within ten days or the animal is abandoned and will be disposed of in
accordance with this subdivision.
(c) If the animal is not claimed within ten days, the veterinarian, boarding facility, or
commercial facility becomes the owner of the animal and the animal may be disposed of by
the veterinarian, boarding facility, or commercial facility as they consider proper. Upon the
veterinarian, boarding facility, or commercial facility becoming the owner of the animal, the
veterinarian, boarding facility, or commercial facility is relieved of any liability for disposal of
the animal.
(d) If the notice under paragraph (c) is not given to the owner or owner's agent, or if the
address of the owner or owner's agent is not known, notice must be given by the veterinarian,
boarding facility, or commercial facility by publishing one notice in a legal newspaper circulated
in the county where the animal was delivered to the veterinarian, boarding facility, or commercial
facility not less than ten days before the animal is to become the property of the veterinarian,
boarding facility, or commercial facility under paragraph (c). The published notice must contain
the information required in paragraph (b).
(e) Each veterinarian, boarding facility, or commercial facility shall warn its patrons of the
provisions of this subdivision by a conspicuously posted notice or by conspicuous type in a
written document delivered to the owner or the owner's agent.
    Subd. 2. Good Samaritans. A person is not liable for rendering humane assistance to an
injured pet or companion animal.
    Subd. 3. Cruel training or handling. A person may not inflict cruelty on a pet or companion
animal by the use of a cruel training or handling device or method.
    Subd. 4. Health care. Adequate health care, including parasite and pest control, must be
provided to each pet or companion animal.
    Subd. 5. Interpretation of terms. A dispute as to the meaning of "abuse," "cruelty," or
"neglect" shall be resolved by an expert opinion.
    Subd. 6. Reports of abuse, cruelty, or neglect. A veterinarian must report known or
suspected cases of abuse, cruelty, or neglect to peace officers and humane agents as provided in
343.12 and 343.29.
History: 1983 c 358 s 3; 1987 c 394 s 10; 1994 c 401 s 1
346.38 EQUINES.
    Subdivision 1. Definition. "Equines" are horses, ponies, mules, and burros.
    Subd. 2. Food. Equines must be provided with food of sufficient quantity and quality
to allow for normal growth or the maintenance of body weight. Feed standards shall be those
recommended by the National Research Council.
    Subd. 3. Water. Equines must be provided with clean, potable water in sufficient quantity to
satisfy the animal's needs or supplied by free choice. Snow or ice is not an adequate water source.
    Subd. 4. Shelter. Equines must be provided a minimum of free choice protection or
constructed shelter from adverse weather conditions, including direct rays of the sun in extreme
heat or cold, wind, or precipitation. Natural or constructed shelters must be of sufficient size to
provide the necessary protection. Constructed shelters must be structurally sound, free of injurious
matter, maintained in good repair, and ventilated. Outside exercise paddocks for equines do
not require separate constructed shelter where a shelter is accessible to the equine on adjacent
or other accessible areas of the property provided that equines are not kept in outdoor exercise
paddocks during adverse weather conditions.
    Subd. 5. Space and cleanliness requirements. Constructed shelters except for tie stalls
must provide space for the animal to: (1) roll with a minimum danger of being cast; or (2) easily
stand, lie down, and turn around. Stalls must be cleaned and kept dry to the extent the animal is
not required to lie or stand in fluids. Bedding must be provided in all stalls, kept reasonably clean,
and periodically changed. The nature of the bedding must not pose a health hazard to the animal.
    Subd. 6. Exercise. Equines must be provided opportunity for periodic exercise, either
through free choice or through a forced work program, unless exercise is restricted by a licensed
veterinarian.
    Subd. 7. Hoof care. All equines must have their hooves properly trimmed periodically
to prevent lameness.
    Subd. 8. Transportation. A vehicle used to transport an equine must have a floor capable
of supporting the animal's weight safely. Floors must be of nonskid construction or of nonskid
material sufficient to provide the animal with traction while in transport. A minimum of 12 inches
must be allowed between the withers of the largest equine and the structure above the animal
while it is in a natural standing position. Sturdy partitions must be provided at a minimum of
approximately every ten feet inside the vehicle. Interior compartments of transporting vehicles
must be of smooth construction with no protruding or sharp objects and must provide ventilation.
Food and water must be provided in sufficient quantities to minimize stress and maintain
hydration.
History: 1983 c 358 s 4; 1986 c 444; 1998 c 402 s 3,4
346.39 DOGS AND CATS.
    Subdivision 1. Food. Dogs and cats must be provided with food of sufficient quantity and
quality to allow for normal growth or the maintenance of body weight. Feed standards shall be
those recommended by the National Research Council.
    Subd. 2. Water. Dogs and cats must be provided with clean, potable water in sufficient
quantity to satisfy the animal's needs or supplied by free choice. Snow or ice is not an adequate
water source.
    Subd. 3. Transportation and shipment. When dogs or cats are transported in crates or
containers, the crates or containers must be constructed of nonabrasive wire or a smooth, durable
material suitable for the animals. Crates and containers must be clean, adequately ventilated,
contain sufficient space to allow the animals to turn around, and provide maximum safety and
protection to the animals. Exercise for 20 to 30 minutes and water must be provided at least once
every eight hours. Food must be provided at least once every 24 hours or more often, if necessary,
to maintain the health and condition of the animals.
    Subd. 4. Shelter size. A confinement area must provide sufficient space to allow each animal
to turn about freely and to easily stand, sit, and lie in a normal position. Each confined animal
must be provided a minimum square footage of floor space as measured from the tip of its nose to
the base of its tail, plus 25 percent, expressed in square feet. The formula for computing minimum
square footage is: (length of animal plus 25 percent) times (length of animal plus 25 percent),
divided by 144. A shaded area must be provided sufficient to protect the animal from the direct
rays of the sun at all times during the months of May to October.
    Subd. 5. Exercise. All dogs and cats must be provided the opportunity for periodic exercise,
either through free choice or through a forced work program, unless exercise is restricted by a
licensed veterinarian.
    Subd. 6. Group housing and breeding. Animals housed together must be kept in compatible
groups. Animals must not be bred so often as to endanger their health.
    Subd. 7. Temperature. Confinement areas must be maintained at a temperature suitable for
the animal involved.
    Subd. 8. Ventilation. An indoor confinement area must be ventilated. Drafts, odors, and
moisture condensation must be minimized. Auxiliary ventilation, such as exhaust fans, vents,
and air conditioning, must be used when the ambient temperature rises to a level that may
endanger the health of the animal.
    Subd. 9. Lighting. An indoor confinement area must have at least eight hours of illumination
sufficient to permit routine inspection and cleaning.
    Subd. 10. Confinement and exercise area surfaces. Where applicable, the interior surfaces
of confinement and exercise areas, including crates or containers, must be constructed and
maintained so that they are substantially impervious to moisture and may be readily cleaned. They
must protect the animal from injury and be kept in good repair.
    Subd. 11. Drainage. Where applicable, a suitable method must be used to rapidly eliminate
excess fluids from confinement areas.
    Subd. 12. Sanitation. Food and water receptacles must be accessible to each animal and
located so as to minimize contamination by excreta. Feeding and water receptacles must be kept
clean. Disposable food receptacles must be discarded when soiled. Measures must be taken to
protect animals from being contaminated with water, wastes, and harmful chemicals. Wastes must
be disposed of properly. Where applicable, flushing methods and a disinfectant must be used
periodically. Bedding, if used, must be kept clean and dry. Outdoor enclosures must be kept
clean and base material replaced as necessary.
History: 1983 c 358 s 5
346.40 PET BIRDS.
    Subdivision 1. Food. Birds must be fed at least once each day except as otherwise required to
provide adequate health care. The food must be wholesome, palatable, and of sufficient quantity
and nutritive value to meet the normal daily requirements for the condition and size of the bird,
and must be free from contamination.
    Subd. 2. Water. Except for birds in shipment for less than four hours, all birds must be
provided with clean, potable water in sufficient quantity to satisfy the bird's needs or supplied
by free choice. Snow or ice is not an adequate water source.
    Subd. 3. Transportation. Birds may be transported only in containers constructed of a
smooth, durable material. Containers must:
(a) be suitable for the species being shipped;
(b) be constructed to prevent escape or chewing of the container by the bird that may be
injurious to the health of the bird;
(c) have ventilation on only one side to prevent cross drafts;
(d) provide enough space for the bird to stand up, turn around, and obtain necessary food,
water, and roosting space;
(e) have fresh food and water available to the bird at all times if the shipping period exceeds
four hours.
    Subd. 4. Shelter or cage construction. A shelter or cage for a bird must be constructed of
materials that are impervious to moisture and can be readily cleaned. Perches or other space must
be provided to allow the bird to roost without physical harassment from other birds.
    Subd. 5. Exercise. Room must be provided for a bird to obtain exercise to maintain itself
in good health.
    Subd. 6. Temperature. A confinement area must be maintained at a temperature suitable
for the bird involved.
    Subd. 7. Ventilation. A bird shelter or cage must provide ventilation with minimized drafts,
odors, and moisture condensation.
    Subd. 8. Lighting. Shelters or cages for birds must have at least eight hours of either natural
or artificial light to allow for intake of food and water. Lighting must be of sufficient intensity and
distribution to permit routine inspection and cleaning on a regular basis.
    Subd. 9. Sanitation. Excreta must be removed from the bottom of a bird cage on a regular
basis to prevent the contamination of the caged bird. The cage, perches, and food and water
receptacles must be cleaned on a regular basis.
History: 1983 c 358 s 6
346.41 RODENTS.
    Subdivision 1. Food. Food must be made available to every pet rodent at least once a day.
This food must be fresh, wholesome, palatable, free from contamination, and of sufficient
nutritive value to meet the normal daily requirements necessary to maintain the health and
condition of the animal.
    Subd. 2. Water. A pet rodent must be provided with clean, potable water in sufficient
quantity to satisfy the animal's needs or supplied by free choice. Snow or ice is not an adequate
water source.
    Subd. 3. Transportation. Rodents may be transported only in containers constructed of a
smooth, durable material. Containers must:
(a) be constructed so as to prevent escape or injury by chewing;
(b) provide fresh air to each contained animal and yet prevent exposure to injurious drafts;
(c) provide enough space for each animal to stand up, turn around, and obtain necessary
food and water;
(d) have fresh food and water available to each animal during all shipping periods exceeding
six hours. Food and water requirements may be met by providing vegetables or fruits sufficient to
meet an animal's food and water needs.
    Subd. 4. Shelter and cage construction. Shelters or cages must be constructed in a manner
that allows cleaning of the entire surface area. The materials used must be of sufficient strength to
prevent escape or injury by chewing and to protect the animal from predators.
A shelter or cage with a solid bottom must be constructed of materials that are impervious
to moisture. A shelter or cage with a wire or mesh bottom must be constructed to allow excreta
to pass through the spaces in the wire or mesh. The wire or mesh floor must be constructed to
prevent injury to the feet and legs of the animals.
Outdoor confinement areas must provide sufficient shade to protect the animal from the
direct rays of the sun and shelter the animal from rain or snow.
    Subd. 5. Exercise. A shelter or cage must be of sufficient height and have sufficient floor
space to allow the caged animals to obtain proper exercise and maintain good health.
    Subd. 6. Temperature. A confinement area must be maintained at a temperature suitable for
the confined animal.
    Subd. 7. Ventilation. A shelter or cage must provide ventilation to the confined animals. It
must be constructed to minimize drafts, odors, and moisture condensation. Additional ventilation
must be provided when the ambient temperature rises to a level that may endanger the health of
the animal.
    Subd. 8. Lighting. Lighting of sufficient intensity and distribution must be available to
permit routine inspection and regular cleaning.
    Subd. 9. Sanitation. A shelter or cage must be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent the
accumulation of excreta, hair, contaminated or wet litter, and uneaten or contaminated food. If the
shelter or cage has a solid floor, the floor must be covered with clean, dry bedding which must
be changed at least once a week. If the shelter or cage has a wire or mesh floor, the catch pans
or troughs under the cage must be cleaned at least once a week. If the cage or shelter becomes
soiled or wet to a degree that may be harmful to the caged animals due to water leakage, dead
animals, or spoiled foods, the animals must be transferred to clean, dry quarters as soon as
possible after discovery of the condition. The shelter or cage, and food and water receptacles,
must be regularly cleaned.
    Subd. 10. Chewing materials. A rodent must be provided with materials that allow
necessary chewing to prevent detrimental overgrowth of the animal's teeth.
History: 1983 c 358 s 7
346.42 OTHER ANIMALS.
Animals not covered in detail in sections 346.38 to 346.41 must be maintained in accordance
with a general standard of care necessary for the species as determined by an expert opinion.
History: 1983 c 358 s 8
346.43 FARM ANIMALS EXCLUDED.
Sections 346.35 to 346.44 do not apply to the care or treatment of an agricultural or farm
animal which is used for food or other products or any other agricultural use.
History: 1983 c 358 s 9
346.44 PENALTIES.
Except where otherwise indicated, a person found guilty of failure to comply with a
provision of sections 346.36 to 346.42 is guilty of a misdemeanor.
History: 1983 c 358 s 10

DOGS; CATS; ANIMAL SHELTERS; RESEARCH ANIMALS

346.50 DOGS; IDENTIFICATION.
An owner or custodian of a dog who permits the dog to be uncontrolled off the owner's or
custodian's premises shall have the dog identified in one of the following ways:
(1) by a device, tag, or plate attached to the dog by a collar, harness, or device giving the
name, address, and telephone number of the current owner;
(2) by an electronically activated identification device within or attached to the body of the
dog through which the owner can be promptly identified;
(3) by a number legibly tattooed on the thigh, abdomen, or ear of the dog through which the
owner can be promptly identified using information from official dog registries, city or county
registries, veterinary hospital registries, or driver's license records;
(4) by an official license tag of a city or county through which the owner can be promptly
identified; or
(5) by a current rabies vaccination tag or other identification device of a city, a county, or a
veterinarian through which the owner can be promptly identified.
History: 1985 c 294 s 1
346.51 BITES.
An owner or custodian of a dog which does not have an appropriate antirabies vaccination
and which bites or otherwise exposes a person to rabies virus may be penalized under section
346.53.
History: 1985 c 294 s 2
346.52 LOCAL PROGRAMS.
Sections 346.50 to 346.54 do not prohibit or restrict a local governmental unit from imposing
an identification or rabies control program with more restrictive provisions or prohibiting dogs
from running uncontrolled.
History: 1985 c 294 s 3
346.53 PENALTIES.
Violation of sections 346.50 and 346.51 is a petty misdemeanor.
History: 1985 c 294 s 4
346.54 NOTIFICATION OF OWNERS.
Animal shelter personnel who receive animals shall check for identification on each animal,
identify the owner by the identification whenever possible, and promptly notify the owner of the
location of the animal by the most expedient means.
History: 1985 c 294 s 5
346.55 CIVIL LIABILITY.
    Subdivision 1. Penalty. The transfer by a person other than the owner of a dog or cat to a
dealer, the possession of a dog or cat by a dealer without the permission of the owner, or the
transfer of a dog or cat by a dealer to an institution without the permission of the owner is
prohibited. Nothing in this section prohibits the transfer of a dog or cat to a dealer if the dog or
cat is removed from a property by or at the request of a person in possession of the property.
For the purpose of this subdivision, "dealer" and "institution" have the meanings given them in
section 347.31.
A person who transfers or possesses a dog or cat without claim of right with intent to deprive
the owner permanently of possession of the dog or cat violates this section and is liable for a civil
penalty of up to $1,000 per dog or cat for each violation. In bringing a civil action under this
section the charging attorney shall consider, and in imposing a fine the court shall consider:
(1) the history of previous violations;
(2) the number of violations;
(3) the degree of willfulness of the violation;
(4) the good faith of the dealer;
(5) the good faith of the person delivering the dog or cat to the dealer; and
(6) the gravity of the violation.
A fine paid by the defendant in a criminal action that arose from the same violation may not
be applied toward payment of the civil penalty under this subdivision.
    Subd. 2. Jurisdiction. The district court may hear, try, and determine actions started under
this section. Trials under this section must be to the court, sitting without a jury.
    Subd. 3. Appearances. Notwithstanding section 8.01, county or city attorneys may appear
for the board of animal health in civil actions started under this section at the request of the
attorney general. Actions under this section may be brought in the name of the state of Minnesota
with the consent of the Board of Animal Health or directly by a city or county attorney at the
request of a person filing a complaint.
    Subd. 4. Venue. Civil actions under this section may be started in any county in which the
animal in question was transferred or possessed, or from which the dog or cat was removed
without the permission of the lawful owner.
    Subd. 5. Fines. Fines collected under this section must be disposed of as follows:
(a) If the violation occurs in the county, and the county attorney appears in the action, 50
percent to the county and 50 percent to the state.
(b) If the violation occurs within the municipality, and the city attorney appears in the action,
50 percent to the city and 50 percent to the state.
(c) If the attorney general appears in the action, all penalties imposed and fines collected
must be credited to the general fund in the state treasury.
History: 1987 c 380 art 3 s 1; 1998 c 254 art 2 s 34
346.56 UNAUTHORIZED RELEASE OF ANIMALS.
    Subdivision 1.[Repealed, 1989 c 55 s 3]
    Subd. 2. Liability for damages. A person who without permission releases an animal
lawfully confined for science, research, commerce, or education is liable:
(1) to the owner of the animal for damages, including the costs of restoring the animal to
confinement and to its health condition prior to release;
(2) for damage to personal and real property caused by the released animal;
(3) if the release causes the failure or interruption of an experiment, for all costs of repeating
the experiment, including replacement of the animals, labor, and materials; and
(4) for any other damage the person causes to property in the facility from which the
animal was released.
    Subd. 3. Amount of damages. A person who is damaged under subdivision 2, clause (3) or
(4), is entitled to recover a minimum of $5,000 or three times the actual damages incurred by
that person under subdivision 2, clause (3) or (4), whichever is greater, and punitive damages,
costs, and reasonable attorney fees.
    Subd. 4. Third party liability; presumption. A person or organization who plans or
assists in the development of a plan to release, without permission, an animal lawfully confined
for science, research, commerce, or education, or who otherwise aids, advises, hires, counsels,
or encourages another to commit the act is jointly and severally liable for all damages under
subdivision 3. There is a rebuttable presumption that a person or organization who claims
responsibility for the act is liable under this subdivision.
History: 1988 c 535 s 1; 1989 c 55 s 1; 1999 c 216 art 6 s 14
346.57 DOGS AND CATS IN MOTOR VEHICLES.
    Subdivision 1. Unattended dogs or cats. A person may not leave a dog or a cat unattended
in a standing or parked motor vehicle in a manner that endangers the dog's or cat's health or safety.
    Subd. 2. Removal of dogs or cats. A peace officer, as defined in section 626.84, a humane
agent, a dog warden, or a volunteer or professional member of a fire or rescue department of a
political subdivision may use reasonable force to enter a motor vehicle and remove a dog or cat
which has been left in the vehicle in violation of subdivision 1. A person removing a dog or a
cat under this subdivision shall use reasonable means to contact the owner of the dog or cat to
arrange for its return home. If the person is unable to contact the owner, the person may take
the dog or cat to an animal shelter.
    Subd. 3. Petty misdemeanor. A person who violates subdivision 1 is subject to a fine of $25.
History: 1988 c 711 s 6
346.58 DOGS AND CATS; BEST MANAGEMENT STANDARDS FOR CARE BY
DEALERS, COMMERCIAL BREEDERS, AND BROKERS.
The commissioner of agriculture shall consult with interested persons, including but not
limited to persons representing dog and cat dealers, breeders, and brokers, the Minnesota
Federated Humane Society, the Minnesota Council for Dog Clubs, the American Dog Owners
Association, the Board of Animal Health, the Minnesota Purebred Dog Breeders Association,
the Minnesota Citizens for Animal Care, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the
Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association. The commissioner shall issue an order containing
best management standards of care for dogs and cats by dealers, commercial breeders, and
brokers. The commissioner shall urge dealers, commercial breeders, and brokers to follow the
standards issued in the order.
History: 1994 c 642 s 8; 1997 c 187 art 3 s 31