Can I consider a pig left by a lady as abandoned in Montana?

Full Question:

I have a lady who dropped off her mini potbelly pig with me back in November of 2016 and has not seen her or asked about her since January of 2017—I have been caring for and feeding her--has not provided food or money since January--is this considered abandonment of this animal?
06/07/2017   |   Category: Abandoned Property   |   State: Montana   |   #39395

Answer:

Per Montana statute if a person knowingly or negligently subjects an animal to mistreatment or neglect by abandoning any helpless animal or abandoning any animal on any highway, railroad, or in any other place where it may suffer injury, hunger, or exposure or become a public charge, commits the offense of cruelty to animals without justification.
Statutes in this regard are given below:
45-8-211, MCA 
Cruelty to animals -- exceptions.
(1) A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals if, without justification, the person knowingly or negligently subjects an animal to mistreatment or neglect by:
     (a) overworking, beating, tormenting, torturing, injuring, or killing the animal;
     (b) carrying or confining the animal in a cruel manner;
     (c) failing to provide an animal in the person's custody with:
         (i) food and water of sufficient quantity and quality to sustain the animal's normal health;
         (ii) minimum protection for the animal from adverse weather conditions, with consideration given to the species;
         (iii) in cases of immediate, obvious, serious illness or injury, licensed veterinary or other appropriate medical care;
     (d) abandoning any helpless animal or abandoning any animal on any highway, railroad, or in any other place where it may suffer injury, hunger, or exposure or become a public charge; or
     (e) promoting, sponsoring, conducting, or participating in an animal race of more than 2 miles, except a sanctioned endurance race.
(2)  (a) A person convicted of the offense of cruelty to animals shall be fined an amount not to exceed $ 1,000 or be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not to exceed 1 year, or both. A person convicted of a second or subsequent offense of cruelty to animals or of a first or subsequent offense of aggravated animal cruelty shall be fined an amount not to exceed $ 2,500 or be sentenced to the department of corrections for a term not to exceed 2 years, or both.
     (b) If the convicted person is the owner, the person may be required to forfeit any animal affected to the county in which the person is convicted. This provision does not affect the interest of any secured party or other person who has not participated in the offense.
     (c) For the purposes of this subsection (2), when more than one animal is subject to cruelty to animals, each act may comprise a separate offense.
(3) In addition to the sentence provided in subsection (2), the court:
     (a) shall require the defendant to pay all reasonable costs incurred in providing necessary veterinary attention and treatment for any animal affected, including reasonable costs of care incurred by a public or private animal control agency or humane animal treatment shelter;
     (b) may require the defendant to pay all reasonable costs of necessary care of the affected animal that are incurred by a public or private animal control agency or humane animal treatment shelter; and
     (c) shall prohibit or limit the defendant's ownership, possession, or custody of animals, as the court believes appropriate during the term of the sentence.
(4) This section does not prohibit:
     (a) a person humanely destroying an animal for just cause;
     (b) the use of commonly accepted agricultural and livestock practices on livestock;
     (c) rodeo activities that meet humane standards of the professional rodeo cowboys association;
     (d) lawful fishing, hunting, and trapping activities;
     (e) lawful wildlife management practices;
     (f) lawful scientific or agricultural research or teaching that involves the use of animals;
     (g) services performed by a licensed veterinarian;
     (h) lawful control of rodents and predators and other lawful animal damage control activities; or
     (i) accepted training and discipline methods.
70-9-805, MCA 
Rules for taking custody.
Except as otherwise provided in this part or by other statute of this state, property that is presumed abandoned, whether located in this or another state, is subject to the custody of this state if:
     (1) the last-known address of the apparent owner, as shown on the records of the holder, is in this state;
     (2) the records of the holder do not reflect the identity of the person entitled to the property and it is established that the last-known address of the person entitled to the property is in this state;
     (3) the records of the holder do not reflect the last-known address of the apparent owner and it is established that:
         (a) the last-known address of the person entitled to the property is in this state; or
         (b) the holder is domiciled in this state or is a government or governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of this state and has not previously paid or delivered the property to the state of the last-known address of the apparent owner or other person entitled to the property;
     (4) the last-known address of the apparent owner, as shown on the records of the holder, is in a state that does not provide for the escheat or custodial taking of the property and the holder is domiciled in this state or is a government or governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of this state;
     (5) the last-known address of the apparent owner, as shown on the records of the holder, is in a foreign country and the holder is domiciled in this state or is a government or governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of this state;
     (6) the transaction out of which the property arose occurred in this state, the holder is domiciled in a state that does not provide for the escheat or custodial taking of the property, and the last-known address of the apparent owner or other person entitled to the property is unknown or is in a state that does not provide for the escheat or custodial taking of the property; or
     (7) the property is a traveler's check or money order purchased in this state or the issuer of the traveler's check or money order has its principal place of business in this state and the issuer's records show that the instrument was purchased in a state that does not provide for the escheat or custodial taking of the property or do not show the state in which the instrument was purchased.