2010 Wyoming Statutes
Title 11 - Agriculture, Livestock And Other Animals
Chapter 24 - Estrays

CHAPTER 24 - ESTRAYS

 

11-24-101. Definitions.

 

(a) As used in this act:

 

(i) "Animal" means any bovine animal, horse, mule, ass or sheep;

 

(ii) "Estray" means any animal found running at large upon public or private lands, fenced or unfenced, in Wyoming whose owner is unknown in the territory where found or the owner of which cannot with reasonable diligence be found, or that is branded with two (2) or more brands the ownership of which is disputed, neither party holding a bill of sale. An estray includes any animal for which there is no sufficient proof of ownership found upon inspection;

 

(iii) "Range" means all unfenced lands or fenced allotments in Wyoming of a grazing nature. Range includes all highways outside of private enclosures and used by the public whether formally dedicated to the public or not;

 

(iv) "Disposal" means to sell, send to slaughter or destroy the animal;

 

(v) "Livestock" means as defined in W.S. 23-1-102(a)(xvi);

 

(vi) "This act" means W.S. 11-24-101 through 11-24-115.

 

11-24-102. Taking up estrays; generally.

 

(a) No person shall take up and retain possession of an estray except in the county where he resides and is a freeholder, nor unless the animal is found on lands owned, leased, or controlled by him or his duly authorized agents. When any person takes up an estray he shall immediately notify an inspector who shall inspect or cause to be inspected the estray for brands and other evidence of ownership and make a diligent effort to learn or determine ownership of the animal. The inspector may cause any estray to be held for not more than ten (10) days after the inspection to enable him to complete his investigation of ownership. If the estray is claimed by an owner, the bill for feed and care incurred by the inspector must be paid by the claimant. If the rightful owner cannot be found, or when found, refuses or fails to pay the charges for feed and care of the estray, the inspector shall order the estray be disposed of. Incurred charges for feed and care by the inspector and reasonable shipping and disposal expense shall be paid from the proceeds of the disposal. The net proceeds, if any, received from the disposal of the estray after deduction of authorized expenses, shall be forwarded to the estray fund of the board or its agency. The board or agency shall hold the proceeds in a special fund known as estray fund until paid to the rightful owner of the estray or otherwise disposed of according to law.

 

(b) If the proceeds of the disposal of any estray are insufficient to pay all legitimate expenses, the deficiency shall be paid by the board or its agency.

 

(c) The board may enter into agreements with licensed meat processing plants to process meat from livestock disposed of by slaughter. The processed meat shall be sold to:

 

(i) Wyoming state institutions or to nonprofit organizations for no more than the board's cost for disposal, processing and delivery; or

 

(ii) For profit entities at market cost for the processed meat.

 

11-24-103. Taking up estrays; penalties.

 

Any person who takes up or retains possession of any estray without the owner's knowledge or consent, or who in any manner restrains from liberty for the purpose of using or making use of any estray without the knowledge and consent of the owner, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than ten dollars ($10.00) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100.00), imprisoned for not exceeding sixty (60) days, or both.

 

11-24-104. Stallions and jacks generally.

 

If any horse or ass not gelded, two (2) years old or upwards, is found running at large, it is lawful for any person to take up the horse or ass and give notice to the owner or keeper if known. If the owner or keeper does not appear within six (6) days thereafter and pay thirty dollars ($30.00) to the person possessing the animal, the person shall advertise the horse or ass and the same proceedings shall be had as provided in the case of estray animals, or the person possessing the animal may after the expiration of thirty (30) days from the time of advertising, geld or have the horse or ass gelded, at the risk and expense of the owner, except when the horse or ass is in the owner's herd, or in care of the owner's herder.

 

11-24-105. Unclaimed horses; permit for gathering; disposal.

 

 

(a) Any person desiring to gather unclaimed horses from the ranges within Wyoming must obtain written permission before commencing to do so. The permit must be obtained from the person who has ownership or control of the surface rights of the range whereon the unclaimed horses are to be gathered. The permit shall be presented to an inspector and used for the basis for issuance of any brand inspection permit for removal of the unclaimed horses from the county wherein the unclaimed horses are gathered. The form of the permit shall be prescribed by the board.

 

(b) Unclaimed horses shall be disposed of under the laws pertaining to estrays.

 

11-24-106. Unclaimed horses; penalties.

 

Any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of W.S. 11-24-105 shall be punished as provided in W.S. 11-1-103.

 

11-24-107. Liability for death.

 

If any estray dies while in the possession of the person taking it up, he is not liable for the loss unless its death was the result of mistreatment or willful neglect.

 

11-24-108. Stock at large or picketed on public highways; penalties for violations; impoundment and disposition; fees; proceeds from disposition thereof; removal of dead or injured animals.

 

(a) No owner or person having custody or charge of livestock shall permit the livestock to run at large in any fenced public highways in Wyoming as defined in W.S. 31-1-101. Livestock shall not be picketed on a public highway right-of-way from one (1) hour before sundown to one (1) hour after sunrise. If livestock are picketed on a public highway and escape, the owner or person having custody or charge of the livestock is deemed to have permitted the livestock to run at large in violation of this section. No livestock shall be picketed on an interstate or national defense highway as defined in W.S. 31-18-801(a)(xvi).

 

(b) Any person or corporation violating this section shall be fined not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor more than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750.00) and in addition shall pay all damage done by the livestock. The provisions of this section do not apply to livestock drifting into lanes or fenced roads in going to or returning from their accustomed ranges.

 

(c) Any sheriff, deputy sheriff, livestock brand inspector, or officer or trooper of the Wyoming highway patrol, after notification to the owner of livestock described in subsection (a) of this section, if known, shall within four (4) hours remove the livestock from the public highway, impound the same in the nearest convenient place where feed and water are available and immediately notify the owner, if known, of the action. If ownership is not known, the impounding officer shall report his action to an inspector. The inspector shall make a diligent effort to ascertain ownership of the impounded livestock, and for this purpose may hold the livestock not more than ten (10) days. If unable to determine ownership, the inspector shall dispose of the impounded livestock. Reasonable transportation and disposal expenses shall be paid from the proceeds of the disposal, if any.

 

(d) A removal fee of not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00) per head shall be allowed for the expense incurred in removing livestock from any public highway and an impounding fee of not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00) per day per head shall be allowed the person responsible for feed and care of the livestock removed. The inspector is responsible for collection and payment to the rightful claimants of removal and impounding fees when impounded livestock is surrendered to the owner. Upon disposal, the total amount of removal and impounding fees shall be made known to the selling agency at the market or slaughter plant by the inspector and shall constitute a first claim on the net proceeds of the livestock after shipping and disposal expenses have been paid, and shall be forwarded by the selling agency to the claimant.

 

(e) Should the proceeds of the disposition of any impounded animal be insufficient to pay all legitimate shipping and disposal expenses and the removal and impounding fees approved by the inspector, the deficiency shall be paid by the board or its agency.

 

(f) The net proceeds, if any, from the disposition of the impounded livestock after deduction of removal, impounding, trucking and disposal expenses, shall be forwarded to the estray account of the board. The board shall hold the proceeds until paid to the rightful owner of the livestock or otherwise disposed of according to law.

 

(g) A peace officer may remove, destroy or otherwise dispose of an animal injured on a state highway after a reasonable attempt to locate the owner of a salvageable animal or a game warden in the case of a wild animal. If reasonably possible, the peace officer shall contact the brand inspector before removing, destroying or disposing of livestock. The carcass of an animal killed on a state highway shall be disposed of by highway maintenance crews. If the owner desires, he may claim the carcass from the maintenance crew. The crews shall report to the inspector brands, marks, tags or other identification. The inspector shall endeavor to establish ownership of the animal and notify the owner in writing or notify the local game warden as may be appropriate.

 

11-24-109. Record to be kept of estrays found in shipments in transit of cattle or horses.

 

All inspectors shall keep a record of all estrays found in any shipment of cattle or horses in transit from this state, and shall take a receipt for the estrays from the shipper, or in default of a receipt, shall take the estray from the shipment, giving the shipper a receipt for the estrays on behalf of the livestock board.

 

11-24-110. Monthly report of inspector; board to keep public record.

 

The inspector shall make a report every thirty (30) days of all estrays not otherwise reported to the livestock board, giving a description of the estrays, stating any brands or other marks by which the estrays may be identified. The board shall keep a record of all estrays reported, which shall at all times be open to the public for inspection.

 

11-24-111. Disposition of proceeds; remission to board.

 

All persons shipping estrays shall immediately remit to the livestock board the proceeds received for each and every estray disposed of, a receipt for which was given to an inspector. If any inspector sells an estray from this state, he shall immediately remit the proceeds to the livestock board.

 

11-24-112. Deposition of proceeds; payment to owner on proof of ownership; unclaimed proceeds generally.

 

If the lawful owner of any estray disposed of is found within one (1) year after the disposal of the estray, the net amount received from the disposal shall be paid to the owner upon his proving ownership to the satisfaction of the board or agency. If at the end of one (1) year the proceeds from the disposal of any estray remains unclaimed, the proceeds shall be disposed of as provided by law.

 

11-24-113. When shipping prohibited.

 

It is unlawful for any person to drive or ship, or cause to be driven or shipped, or to consign or cause to be consigned, without authority from the owner, any estray from any place within this state, except through or to a point or place where an inspector or inspectors are located by the livestock board.

 

11-24-114. Publication of list of unclaimed estrays.

 

The executive officer of the livestock board shall annually, during the last week of December, send two (2) lists of unclaimed estrays for which he has received payments, to the county clerk of each county, who shall post one (1) copy in a conspicuous place in the courthouse and place one (1) copy on file in his office. The executive officer shall also cause to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in each county from which any estray included in the list was shipped, a notice to the public that the list of estrays is available for examination.

 

11-24-115. Disposition of unclaimed proceeds to state treasurer to credit of inspection account.

 

On the first Monday in January of each year, all estray monies remaining unclaimed for more than one (1) year after the publication of the notices of posting of lists of unclaimed estrays, shall be paid to the treasurer of the state, and be placed to the credit of the inspection account.

 

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