University of Vermont AAHS

Wisconsin Livestock Laws

 

 

WEST'S WISCONSIN STATUTES ANNOTATED
FENCES
CHAPTER 90. FENCES


90.01. Fence viewers
The supervisors in their respective towns, the alderpersons of cities in their respective aldermanic districts, and the trustees of villages in their respective villages shall be fence viewers.


90.02. Legal fences; space between ground and bottom
(1) In this section, "high tensile wire" means wire with a tensile strength of 1,235 to 1,450 mega pascals or 179,000 to 210,000 pounds per square inch.
(1m) The following and none other are legal and sufficient fences:
(a) A fence of strong woven wire not less than 26 inches wide with 3 barbed wires or 3 high tensile wires above.
(b) A fence of strong woven wire not less than 30 inches wide with 2 barbed wires or 2 high tensile wires above.
(c) A fence of strong woven wire not less than 46 inches wide with one barbed wire or one high tensile wire above.
(d) A fence of strong woven wire not less than 50 inches wide.
(e) A fence of boards firmly fastened to posts well set, not more than 8 feet apart, the space between the boards to the height of 30 inches to be not more than 6 inches and at no point to be more than 10 inches.
(f) A fence of 2 boards with 3 barbed wires or 3 high tensile wires above, firmly fastened to sufficient posts well set not more than 8 feet apart, the space between the boards to be not more than 6 inches.
(g) A fence of 3 or more wires not less than No. 12, with pickets not less than 4 feet long properly woven in or fastened thereto, and set not more than 6 inches apart.
(h) All fences consisting of rails, boards, wires or walls, or any combination thereof, and all brooks, rivers, ponds, creeks, ditches, or hedges, which shall, in the judgment of the fence viewers, be equivalent to either of the fences before mentioned.
(i) The following minimum requirements shall constitute a standard electric fence and shall be a legal fence when agreed to in writing by the adjoining property owners. Such a fence shall consist of 2 strands of strong, tightly stretched wire, charged by a standard approved electric or battery fencer, and the top wire not over 36 inches and not less than 34 inches from the ground, measured at the post, and firmly fastened with insulators to sufficient post, firmly set, and not over 2 rods apart.
(j) A fence not less than 48 inches high of 4 or more barbed wires or high tensile wires spaced evenly on a steel post of any diameter or on a wood post at least 3 inches in diameter. Existing fences of a lesser standard are legal until they are rebuilt, repaired or replaced.

(2) The strands of woven wire shall not be smaller than No. 12 wire and the cross wires shall not be smaller than No. 16 wire; the strands shall not be more than 8 inches apart, and the cross wires not more than 12 inches apart. All wires must be tightly stretched and securely fastened to sufficient posts firmly set not more than 16 feet apart, except as provided in sub. (1m)(f) or (i) and except that the posts may be set not more than 20 feet apart if the wire is high tensile wire. The space between barbed wires or high tensile wires shall not exceed 8 inches; and the space between the top board or upper edge of woven wire and the bottom barbed wire or high tensile wire shall not exceed 6 inches.

(3) Fences shall not be less than 50 inches high, and the bottom of the fence shall be not more than 4 inches from the ground, measurements to be made at the posts.


90.03. Partition fences; when required
The respective occupants of adjoining lands used and occupied for farming or grazing purposes, and the respective owners of adjoining lands when the lands of one of such owners is used and occupied for farming or grazing purposes, shall keep and maintain partition fences between their own and the adjoining premises in equal shares so long as either party continues to so occupy the lands, except that the occupants of the lands may agree to the use of markers instead of fences, and such fences shall be kept in good repair throughout the year unless the occupants of the lands on both sides otherwise mutually agree.


90.035. Public fences
Where the 2 parties, one of whom is the state or a subdivision thereof, agree that a fence is reasonably necessary, the duty to erect and maintain partition fences shall apply equally to the state, as provided in s. 90.03, and its subdivisions as occupants of lands whenever such lands are bounded by privately owned agricultural or grazing lands.


90.04. Effect of fences on action for trespass by animals
Owners of lands who do not maintain and keep in repair lawful partition fences may not recover any damages for trespasses by the animals of owners of any adjoining lands with whom partition fences might have been maintained if such lands had been enclosed; but the construction of such a fence does not relieve the owner of swine, horses, sheep or goats from liability for any damage they commit upon the enclosed premises of an adjoining owner.


90.05. How partition made
(1)(a) Every partition of a fence or of the line upon which partition fences are to be built between owners of adjoining lands, after being recorded in the town clerk's office, obligates the owners, their heirs and assigns to build and maintain the fence in accordance with the partition, if any of the following conditions is met:
1. The partition is made by the owners of the adjoining lands and is in writing, signed and sealed by the owners and witnessed by 2 witnesses.
2. The partition is made by fence viewers in the manner provided under this chapter and is in writing under their hands.
(b) A partition made in accordance with par. (a) shall remain in effect so long as the adjoining land on each side respectively remains in the same ownership, and after a severance of ownership until a new partition of the fence is made.
(c) An owner, or the owner's heirs or assigns, are not obligated to build or maintain any part of a partition fence during any time when none of the adjoining lands is occupied for farming or grazing.

(2) If a fence is constructed by a subdivider under a town ordinance adopted under s. 60.23(19) and the land adjoining the subdivision is not subdivided, the partition under sub. (1) shall require that an undivided one-half of the fence be maintained by the owner of the adjoining land not subdivided and one- half of the fence divided into equal shares be maintained by all of the owners of the adjoining subdivided land.


90.06. Relocation of fence
(1) When any owner or occupant of land builds a fence before a boundary line has been located between that land and any adjoining land and the location of the boundary line establishes that the fence is located on the adjoining land, the person who built the fence or that person's grantee, devisee or heirs shall be the owner of the fence. The owner of the fence shall relocate the fence to the boundary line within 30 days after service of written notice of the location of the fence upon the owner of the fence by the owner or occupant of the land upon which the fence is located.

(2) The notice under sub. (1) shall be served personally on the fence owner or by leaving a copy of the notice at the fence owner's usual place of abode with some member of the fence owner's family who is of suitable age and discretion. If the notice is left with a family member, the family member shall be informed of the contents of the notice.

(3) If the relocation of the fence is not made within 30 days after service of the notice under sub. (2), the party who served or caused the notice to be served may relocate the fence to the boundary line and recover the expense of doing so from the fence owner. However, no fence that is subject to relocation under this section shall be relocated by the party giving the notice during a time when annual crops will be damaged unless the owners or occupants of the adjoining lands mutually agree.


90.07. Division of partition fence
(1) A division of a partition fence, or the line upon which a partition fence between adjoining lands shall be built, may be made by fence viewers in the following cases:
(a) When a division of a partition fence, or the line upon which a partition fence between adjoining lands shall be built, shall not have been made in the manner prescribed by s. 90.05, either of the owners of adjoining lands may have the line between that person's land and the adjoining land of any other person divided, and the portion upon which the respective owners shall erect their share of the partition fence assigned, regardless of whether that person's land be enclosed or not and regardless of whether such adjoining land be enclosed or not.
(b) When any lands belonging to different persons in severalty shall have been occupied in common or without a partition fence between them and one of the occupants shall be desirous to occupy that occupant's part in severalty, and the other shall refuse or neglect, on demand, to divide with the desiring occupant the line where the fence ought to be built or to build a sufficient fence on the part of the line belonging to the other occupant when divided, the occupant desiring it may have the same divided and the share of each assigned.
(c) When any controversy shall arise about the right of the respective occupants in partition fences or their obligation to maintain the same, either party may have the line divided and the share of each assigned.

(2) In either such case application may be made to 2 or more fence viewers of the town where the lands lie or to 2 or more fence viewers of 2 towns, if the lands lie in 2 towns, who, after 8 days' notice in writing to each party to be served as a summons is in a civil action in a court of record or by registered mail with return receipt requested in the case of a party who does not reside in this state, shall, in writing, divide the partition fence or line and assign to each owner or occupant that party's share thereof; and in each of said cases they shall also therein direct the time within which each party shall build or repair, as may be proper, that party's share of the fence, having regard to the season of the year, and shall file such decision in the town clerk's office, who shall record the same. If either party refuses or neglects to build or repair within the time so assigned that party's part of the fence the other may, after having completed his or her own part, build or repair such part and recover the expense thereof as provided in s. 90.11.

(3) Whenever practicable, in determining the division of a new line fence, when facing a farm, going around the farm to the right, the first one-half of the line fence belongs to the farm faced.


90.08. Partition of fences in water
Where a partition fence running into the water is necessary to be made the same shall be done in equal shares unless otherwise agreed by the parties, and in case either party shall refuse or neglect to make or maintain the share belonging to that party similar proceedings shall be had as in case of other fences and with the like effect.


90.09. Partition when land bounded by water
(1) When the boundary line between enclosed lands owned by different persons is a river, brook, pond or creek, which of itself is not a sufficient fence, and it is impracticable, without unreasonable expense, for a partition fence to be built on the true boundary line, and either owner or occupant refuses to join in making a partition fence on either side of the river, brook, pond or creek, or they disagree respecting making a partition fence, either party may apply to 2 or more fence viewers of the town, who, after giving notice as provided in s. 90.07, shall proceed to view the river, brook, pond or creek.

(2) If the fence viewers determine that the river, brook, pond or creek is not a sufficient fence and that it is impracticable, without unreasonable expense, to build a fence on the true boundary line, the fence viewers shall, in writing under their hands, determine how or on which side of the river, brook, pond or creek the fence shall be built or whether the fence shall be built partly on one side and partly on the other side. The fence viewers shall assign to each owner or occupant that owner's or occupant's share of the fence and the time within which the respective parties shall build the fence. The fence viewers shall file their determination in the office of the town clerk, who shall record the determination.

(3) If either party refuses or neglects to build that party's part of the fence within the time assigned by the fence viewers, the other party may, after having completed his or her own part, build the other party's part and recover the expense of building the other party's part of the fence as provided under s. 90.11.

(4) If the fence viewers determine that it is impracticable, either from the formation of the banks of the river, brook, pond or creek or for any other reason, to maintain any fence along or near the boundary line, they shall give written notice to the parties of that determination.


90.10. Compulsory repair of fence
If any person neglects to repair or rebuild any partition fence that by law that person is required to maintain, the aggrieved party may complain to 2 or more fence viewers of the town, who, after giving notice as provided in s. 90.07, shall examine the fence. If the fence viewers determine that the fence is insufficient, they shall inform the delinquent party of the insufficiency and direct the delinquent party to repair or rebuild the fence within a time that the fence viewers determine is reasonable. If the fence is not repaired or rebuilt within the time fixed by the fence viewers, the complainant may repair or rebuild the fence and recover the expense of repairing or rebuilding the fence as provided under s. 90.11.


90.11. Cost of repairs
(1)(a) Whenever any owner or occupant of land has built, repaired or rebuilt any fence, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, that the adjoining owner or occupant has been lawfully directed by fence viewers to build, repair or rebuild but has failed to do within the time prescribed, the owner or occupant who built, repaired or rebuilt the fence may complain to any 2 or more fence viewers of the town.
(b) The fence viewers complained to under par. (a) shall, after having given notice to the defaulting adjoining owner or occupant as provided in s. 90.07, examine the fence and ascertain the expense of building, repairing or rebuilding the fence. If the fence viewers adjudge the fence sufficient they shall give to the complaining party a certificate under their hands of their decision and of the amount of the expense of building, repairing or rebuilding the fence and of the fees of the fence viewers.
(c) Upon receipt of the fence viewers' certificate, the complaining party may demand the amount of the expense determined by the fence viewers, together with the fence viewers' fees, from the defaulting, adjoining owner or occupant. If the adjoining owner or occupant fails to pay the expenses and fees for one month after the complaining party has demanded payment, the amount of expenses and fees together with interest at the rate of 1% per month shall constitute a special charge and lien against the adjoining owner's or occupant's lands and may be recovered in the manner provided in sub. (2).

(2)(a) The complaining party may file the certificate executed and delivered to him or her under sub. (1)(b) with the clerk of the town in which the lands charged with the expense and fees set forth in the certificate are located. Upon the filing of the certificate, the town clerk shall issue a warrant for the amount of the listed expenses and fees upon the town treasurer payable to the person to whom the certificate was executed and delivered.
(b) The amount paid by the town treasurer under par. (a) together with interest at the rate of 1% per month shall be included by the town clerk in the next tax roll as a special charge against the lands charged with the expense and fees. The special charge shall be collected by the town treasurer with the other taxes in the town. Any special charge under this paragraph remaining unpaid shall be added to the list of delinquent taxes returned to the county treasurer. The county treasurer shall collect the delinquent special charge or sell the land as for delinquent taxes. All proceedings in relation to the sale of land for a delinquent special charge shall be the same in all respects as in the case of land sold for other delinquent taxes. Every county treasurer who shall collect or receive any moneys on account of delinquent charges under this subsection shall pay the moneys received to the treasurer of the proper town.


90.12. Apportionment of cost of fence
When, in any controversy that may arise between occupants of adjoining lands as to their respective rights in any partition fence, it shall appear to the fence viewers that either of the occupants had, before any complaint made to them, voluntarily erected the whole fence, or more than that occupant's just share of the same, or otherwise become proprietor thereof, the other occupant shall pay for so much as may be assigned to him or her to repair or maintain; the just value thereof which the other occupant ought to pay shall be ascertained by proceeding as prescribed in s. 90.11.


90.13. Partition fence on newly enclosed land
(1) When any previously unenclosed land is enclosed, the owner or occupant of the newly enclosed land shall pay for 50% of each partition fence standing upon the line between that owner's or occupant's land and the enclosure of any other owner or occupant, unless the line has been previously divided. If the line has been previously divided, the owner or occupant of the newly enclosed land shall pay the value of the fence on the part of the line previously assigned to that owner or occupant. In either case, the value of the fence at the time shall be ascertained on the application of either adjoining owner or occupant as provided in s. 90.11, if the parties do not agree.

(2) If the responsible owner or occupant fails to pay the value for 60 days after the value has been ascertained and demand made, the proprietor of the fence may recover the value with the fence viewers' fees and costs.


90.14. Fence on town line
In all cases where the line upon which a partition fence is to be made or to be divided is the boundary line between towns or partly in one town and partly in another a fence viewer shall be taken from each town; and divisions of such fences by them or by agreement of the parties shall be recorded in the office of the clerk of each town.


90.15. Fees of viewers; neglect of duty
A fence viewer is entitled to the following fees and expenses for services rendered under this chapter: daily employment, mileage, service of notice or process and folios written. The rate of pay for the fees and expenses shall be set by the viewer's city, village or town. The fees and expenses shall be paid equally by the parties to the controversy, and if any of them neglect to pay the same within 30 days after the services are performed, each fence viewer may recover from delinquent parties jointly double the amount of the fees and expenses. A fence viewer who neglects to perform his or her duties shall forfeit $5 and be liable to the injured party for damages. Fence viewers may administer oaths for purposes of this chapter.


90.16. Record of partition
Every partition of a division fence or line made by fence viewers, signed and recorded as hereinbefore provided, and the record or a certified copy thereof, shall be presumptive evidence of the regularity of all the proceedings prior to the making thereof.

 

POLICE REGULATIONS
CHAPTER 170. STRAYS AND LOST CHATTELS


170.01. Who may take up strays
No stray, except horses and mules, shall be taken up by any person not a resident of the town in which it is found nor unless it is found upon land owned or occupied by the person.


170.02. Finder to give notice; penalty
(1) Every finder of a stray shall, within 7 days after finding the stray, notify the owner of the stray, if known to the finder, and request the owner to pay all reasonable charges and take the stray away. If the owner is unknown to the finder, the finder shall, within 10 days after finding the stray, file a notice with the town clerk , who shall transmit a copy to the county clerk.

(2) The finder of a stray shall publish notice, if the value of the stray exceeds $50, as a class 3 notice, under ch. 985, in the county. The notice shall contain all of the following:
(a) A brief description of the stray , giving its marks, natural or artificial, as near as practicable.
(b) The name and residence of the finder, specifying the section and town.
(c) The time when the stray was taken up.

(3) If the finder neglects or refuses to publish the notice required under sub. (2), the finder of the stray shall be liable in double the amount of damages sustained by the owner of the stray. If the finder neglects or refuses for one year to publish the notice required under sub. (2), the finder of the stray shall be liable for the full value of the stray, to be recovered by an action in the name of the town. The amount recovered shall be apportioned in the same manner as tax revenues collected by the town for schools under s. 60.33 (9) (d).


170.03. Appraisal
Every finder of a stray of the value of $10 or more, at the time of such taking up, shall within one month cause the stray to be appraised by the chairperson of the town, and a certificate of the appraisal, signed by the chairperson, shall be filed in the town clerk's office. The finder shall pay the town chairperson 50 cents for the certificate and 10 cents per mile for each mile necessarily traveled to make the same.


170.04. Charges for keeping
The owner or person entitled to the possession of the stray at any time within one year after the notice is filed with the town clerk may have the stray restored to him or her upon proving his or her right to the stray and paying all lawful charges. If the claimant and the finder cannot agree as to the amount of the charges or upon what should be allowed for the use of the stray either party, on notice to the other, may apply to the chairperson of the town to settle the dispute, who for that purpose may examine witnesses on oath. If any amount is found due the finder, over the value of the use of the stray, the amount, with the costs, shall be a lien upon the stray and costs of the adjudication shall abide the decision of the town chairperson. If either  party refuses to accept the decision of the town chairperson, action may be brought in circuit court.


170.05. Sale of stray
If no claimant for the stray requests its return under s. 170.04 and if the stray has not been appraised at more than $10 the finder shall become the absolute owner; but if the appraised value exceeds $10 the stray shall be sold at public auction by the sheriff or any constable of the county on the request of the finder. Notice thereof shall be given and the sale shall be conducted and the same fees allowed therefor as in case of sales under ch. 815. The finder may bid at the sale and shall at the time of sale deliver to such officer a statement in writing of the finder's charges, which shall be filed by the officer with the town treasurer; and after deducting the charges, if just and reasonable, and the costs of the sale the officer shall pay one-half of the remaining proceeds to the finder and within 10 days thereafter the other half to the treasurer of the town for its use. If the finder of the stray neglects or refuses to cause the sale to be made when required by law the finder shall pay to the town the value of the stray, to be recovered in an action by the town.



170.06. Removal of stray; neglect to give notice, etc.
If any person shall, without the consent of the finder, take away any stray taken up pursuant to this chapter without first paying all the lawful charges incurred in relation to the same the person shall be liable to the finder for the value of such stray; and if any finder shall neglect to give, file or publish the notices or have the appraisal made or do any other act prescribed by this chapter the finder shall be precluded from acquiring any right of property in such stray and from receiving any charges or expenses relative thereto.



170.065. Exemption
Sections 170.01 to 170.06 do not apply to a humane officer appointed under ch. 173 or a law enforcement officer who takes custody of an animal under ch. 173 or other applicable law.



170.07. Lost chattels, notice
Except as provided in ss. 170.105 and 170.12, if a person finds $25 or more or any goods having a value of at least $25 but less than $100, and if the owner of the money or goods is unknown, the finder shall, within 5 days after finding the money or goods, give a written notice of the found money or goods to the law enforcement agency of the city, village or town in which the money or goods are found. That law enforcement agency shall post a notice of the found money or goods in 2 public places in the city, village or town.



170.08. Notice and appraisal
Except as provided in ss. 170.105 and 170.12, the finder of lost goods having a value of $100 or more shall give a written notice of the found goods to the law enforcement agency of the city, village or town in which the goods are found within 15 days after finding the goods and cause a class 2 notice under ch. 985 of the found goods to be published in the county. If no person who is entitled to the goods appears to claim the goods, the finder shall, within 2 months after finding the goods and before using the goods to their injury, procure an appraisal of the goods by the law enforcement agency of the finder's city, village or town. The appraisal shall be certified by the head of the law enforcement agency and filed in the office of the law enforcement agency of the city, village or town.



170.09. Restitution
If the owner of lost money or goods appears within 90 days after notice is given to the law enforcement agency of the city, village or town under s. 170.07 or 170.08 and makes out his or her right to the money or goods, he or she shall have restitution of the money or goods or the value of the money or goods upon his or her paying all the costs and charges on the money or goods, including a reasonable compensation to the finder for the finder's trouble.



170.10. Payment to town
If no owner of lost money or goods appears within 90 days after notice is given to the law enforcement agency of the city, village or town under s. 170.07 or 170.08, the finder of the money or goods shall be the owner of the lost money or goods.

 

POLICE REGULATIONS
CHAPTER 172. ANIMALS DISTRAINED OR DOING DAMAGE
SUBCHAPTER I. ANIMALS DISTRAINED


172.01. Animals not to run at large
No stallion over one year old, nor bull over 6 months old, nor boar, nor ram, nor billy goat over 4 months old shall run at large. If the owner or keeper of an animal described in this section, for any reason, permit the animal to run at large, the owner or keeper shall forfeit $5 to the person taking up the animal and shall be liable in addition for all damages done by the animal while at large, regardless of whether the animal's escape was the fault of the owner or keeper. The construction of any fence enumerated in s. 90.02 does not relieve an owner or keeper from liability for any damage committed by an animal described in this section upon the enclosed premises of an adjoining owner.


172.012. Exemption
This chapter does not apply to a humane officer appointed under ch. 173 or a law enforcement officer who takes custody of an animal under ch. 173 or other applicable law.



172.015. Livestock on highways; penalty
No livestock shall run at large on a highway at any time except to go from one farm parcel to another. If the owner or keeper of livestock knowingly permits livestock to run at large on a highway, except when going from one farm parcel to another, and after notice by any peace officer fails to remove the livestock from the highway, the owner or keeper may be fined not more than $200.



172.02. Taking up animal; notice
Any person finding any animal described in s. 172.01 running at large may take it up, but shall within 7 days after taking up the animal notify the owner, if known to the person, and request the owner to pay all reasonable charges for the animal's keeping, together with the forfeiture required under s. 172.01 for taking up, and take the animal away within 5 days after being so notified.



172.03. Notice, if owner unknown
If the owner of an animal taken up under s. 172.02 is unknown, the finder shall, within 10 days after taking up the animal, file a notice with the clerk of the town in which the animal is taken up and, if the value of the animal exceeds $50, shall publish in the county a class 3 notice, under ch. 985. The notice shall briefly describe the animal, by marks natural or artificial, as near as practicable, and give the name and residence of the finder and the time when the animal was taken up. A copy of the notice shall be sent immediately by the town clerk to the county clerk, who shall file the notice.



172.04. Appraisal of animals
The finder of animals taken up under s. 172.02 shall, within one month from taking them up, if the animals are of the value of $10 or more, apply to the town chairperson, village president or city mayor of the municipality where found for the appointment of a disinterested appraiser. A certificate of the appraisal shall be signed by the appraiser and filed in the municipal clerk's office. The finder shall pay the appraiser $3 for the certificate and 10 cents per mile for every mile necessarily traveled by the appraiser.


172.05. Restoring an animal to its owner
The owner or person entitled to the possession of an animal taken up under s. 172.02, at any time within 90 days after notice is filed with the municipal clerk under s. 172.03, may have the animal restored upon proving rights to the animal and paying all lawful charges incurred. If the claimant and the finder cannot agree as to the amount of the charges or for the use of the animal either party upon notice to the other may apply to the town chairperson, village president or city mayor or manager of the municipality to settle the dispute, who for that purpose may examine witnesses on oath. Any amount found to be due the finder over the value of the use of the animal, together with the costs of adjudication, shall be a lien upon the animal.


172.06. Ownership by finder; sale
If no claimant for an animal taken up under s. 172.02 causes its return, and if the animal has not been appraised for more than $10, the finder shall become the absolute owner of the animal. If the appraised value of the animal exceeds $10, the animal shall be sold at public auction by the sheriff or any constable of the county on the request of the finder. Notice of the sale shall be given and the sale shall be conducted and the same fees allowed as in the case of sales upon execution under ch. 815. The finder may bid at the sale and shall at the time of sale deliver to the officer conducting the sale a statement in writing of the finder's charges, which shall be filed by the officer with the municipal treasurer. After deducting the finder's charges, if just and reasonable, and the costs of the sale, the officer shall pay one- half of the remaining proceeds to the finder and, within 10 days after the sale, the other half to the treasurer of the municipality for its use. If the finder of any stray neglects or refuses to cause a sale to be made when required by law, the finder shall pay to the municipality the value of the stray, to be recovered in an action by the municipality.



172.07. Penalties
If any person, without the consent of the finder, takes any animal lawfully taken up from the finder's possession, without the payment of the finder's lawful charges incurred in relation to the animal, the person taking the animal shall be liable to the finder for the value of the animal. If the finder neglects to give the notices, procure the appraisals or perform any of the duties required of the finder, the finder shall be precluded from acquiring any right of property in the animal or receiving any charges or damages relative to the animal.


172.51. Animals distrained; proceedings
(1) The owner or occupant of any lands may distrain any beast doing damage on the premises, either while upon the premises or upon immediate pursuit of the beasts escaping from the premises and before returning to the enclosure of or to the immediate care of the owner or keeper. The person distraining the beasts may keep the beasts upon the premises or in a public pound in the person's town, city or village of residence until the person's damages are appraised.

(2) If the owner of the beasts is known to the person distraining the beasts and resides within the same county, the person distraining the beasts shall give written notice to the owner in accordance with whichever of the following applies:
(a) If the owner resides within the same town, city or village as the person distraining the beasts, notice shall be given within 24 hours, Sundays excepted, after the animal is distrained.
(b) If the owner does not reside in the same town, city or village as the person distraining the beasts, notice shall be given within 48 hours, Sundays excepted.

(3) The notice under sub. (2) shall specify all of the following:
(a) The time when and the place where the beasts were distrained.
(b) The number of beasts distrained and the place of their detention.
(c) That at a time , which shall not be less than 12 hours after the serving of the notice nor more than 3 days after distraining the beasts, and place designated in the notice the person distraining will apply to the town chairperson, village president or city mayor or manager of the municipality where the beasts were found for the appointment of 3 disinterested freeholders of the town, city or village to appraise the damages.

(4) If the owner of the beasts is unknown or does not reside in the same county as the person distraining the beasts, the person distraining the beasts shall, in accordance with sub. (3) (c), apply for the appointment of appraisers without notice and within 24 hours after distraining the beasts.

(5) Upon application, the town chairperson, village president or city mayor or manager shall appoint in writing 3 disinterested freeholders of the town, city or village to appraise the damages. The appraisers shall receive 50 cents for the appointment.


172.52. Appraisal
The freeholders appointed as appraisers under s. 172.51 shall be immediately notified and shall immediately repair to the place damaged by the animals and view the damages done. The appraisers may take evidence of any witnesses of the facts and circumstances necessary to enable them to ascertain the extent of the damages and the sufficiency of any line fence on the premises where the damage was done, if any dispute arises regarding the damages or line fence. The appraisers may administer oaths to the witnesses. The appraisers shall certify under their hands the amount of damages, the cost of keeping the beasts to that time, their fees for services as appraisers not exceeding $1 per day each, and their determination as to the sufficiency of the line fence, if in dispute. The appraisers' decision as to damages and sufficiency of the fence is conclusive.



172.53. Impounding; care; expense
(1) Unless the damages determined under s. 172 .52, together with the fees of the appraisers and chairperson, president or mayor, have been paid within 24 hours after the appraisal, the person distraining the beasts shall cause the beasts to be confined in accordance with whichever of the following applies:
(a) The beasts shall be put into the nearest pound in the distraining person's town, city or village of residence, if there is a pound.
(b) If there is no pound in the distraining person's town, city or village of residence, the beasts shall be put in some other secure enclosure.

(2) The beasts shall remain confined until sold under ss. 172.54 to 172.56, until the damages, fees and costs of keeping the beasts after appraisal are paid or until they are otherwise seized or discharged according to law. The confined beasts shall be furnished with suitable food from the time of seizure until they are discharged or sold. The expense of feeding the beasts, after the appraisal, shall be added to the amount determined under s. 172.52 and paid as additional costs. If the beasts are put in a pound, the certificate of appraisal shall be delivered to the keeper of the pound.



172.54. Time and notice of sale
The poundmaster of any pound shall receive and keep any beasts delivered to the poundmaster under s. 172.53. Unless the beasts are seized or discharged according to law within 6 days, from the time of their delivery to the pound, the poundmaster shall sell at public auction the beasts or so many of them as is necessary to pay the damages, fees and costs enumerated under ss. 172.52 and 172.53. The poundmaster shall give 2 days' notice of the sale by notice posted upon the pound and at 3 public places in the town, city or village in which the pound is located.


172.55. Sale of animal not impounded
If in consequence of there being no pound within the distraining person' s city, town or village of residence the beasts distrained under s. 172.51 are kept in some other enclosure and the beasts are not discharged in the manner provided under this chapter within 6 days after being placed in the enclosure, the sheriff or any constable of the county shall sell the beasts or so many of them as shall be necessary to pay the damages, fees and costs of keeping, upon the same notice as is required in case of a constable's sale of personal property taken by execution.



172.56. Proceeds of sale
(1) From the proceeds of the sale under s. 172.54 or 172.55, the person making the sale shall retain his or her fees, which shall be the same as are allowed to constables upon sales of personal property on execution, and the cost of keeping the beasts. The person making the sale shall pay to the person who distrained the beasts the damages certified under s. 172.52, with the fees of the appraisers and chairperson, president or mayor.

(2) Any surplus remaining after distribution of the proceeds under sub. (1) shall be paid to the owner of the beast, if known. If no owner appears at the time of sale or within one week after the sale, and claims the surplus, it shall be paid to the treasurer of the distraining person's town, city or village of residence. If the money is not applied for within one year after the sale, the treasurer shall place the money in the town treasury. If the owner applies for the surplus and gives proper proof of ownership within 6 years after its receipt by the treasurer , the surplus, less a 2% deduction for fees, shall be paid over to the owner.


172.57. Damaging, or taking animal from, pound
Any person who wilfully damages any pound maintained or supported by any town, city, village or county or wrongfully and forcibly takes, drives or releases from the pound any animal lawfully confined in the pound shall forfeit not more than $50.


Reviewed by AAHS in December 2001.


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