Code Section Group

Civil Code - CIV

DIVISION 3. OBLIGATIONS [1427 - 3273.16]

  ( Heading of Division 3 amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 160, Sec. 14. )


  ( Part 4 enacted 1872. )

TITLE 3. DEPOSIT [1813 - 1881.2]

  ( Title 3 enacted 1872. )

CHAPTER 2. Deposit for Keeping [1833 - 1867]

  ( Chapter 2 enacted 1872. )

ARTICLE 2. Gratuitous Deposit [1844 - 1847]
  ( Article 2 enacted 1872. )


Gratuitous deposit is a deposit for which the depositary receives no consideration beyond the mere possession of the thing deposited.

(Enacted 1872.)


An involuntary deposit is gratuitous, the depositary being entitled to no reward. However, an involuntary depositary of any live animal may accept advertised rewards or rewards freely offered by the owner of the animal.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 752, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 1999.)


(a) A gratuitous depositary must use, at least, slight care for the preservation of the thing deposited.

(b) A gratuitous depositary of a living animal shall provide the animal with necessary and prompt veterinary care, adequate nutrition and water, and shelter, and shall treat it humanely and, if the animal has any identification, make reasonable attempts to notify the owner of the animal’s location. Any gratuitous depositary that does not have sufficient resources or desire to provide that care shall promptly turn the animal over to an appropriate care facility.

(c) If the gratuitous depositary of a living animal is a public animal shelter, shelter operated by a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or humane shelter, the depositary shall comply with all other requirements of the Food and Agricultural Code regarding the impounding of live animals.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 7, Sec. 2. (AB 1553) Effective January 1, 2020.)


The duties of a gratuitous depositary cease:

(a) Upon restoration by the depositary of the thing deposited to its owner.

(b) Upon reasonable notice given by the depositary to the owner to remove it, and the owner failing to do so within a reasonable time. But an involuntary depositary, under subdivision (b) of Section 1815, may not give notice until the emergency that gave rise to the deposit is past. This subdivision shall not apply to a public animal shelter, a shelter operated by a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or a humane shelter. The duty to provide care, as required by Section 1846, continues until the public or private animal shelter is lawfully relieved of responsibility for the animal.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 7, Sec. 3. (AB 1553) Effective January 1, 2020.)

CIVCivil Code - CIV2.