Section 3-2-4

Publication and posting of notice as to estrayed animal where owner not located; return to owner or sale of estray generally; procedure for sale of unclaimed estray and disposition of proceeds thereof.

(a) If the owner of an estrayed animal seized as provided under Section 3-2-2 is not found after an investigation is conducted by the Department of Agriculture and Industries for the purpose of locating the owner thereof, a notice fully describing the estrayed animal shall be posted by the Department of Agriculture and Industries in at least three conspicuous public places in or near the vicinity where the animal was seized and such a notice shall also be published one time in a newspaper with general circulation in the county where the animal was seized. The posted and published notices of the estrayed animal shall describe such animal by kind, size, sex, markings, brands, color, stature and age.

(b) If the owner of the estrayed animal does not file a claim for possession of the animal with the Department of Agriculture and Industries within 15 days after publication of the notice, the Department of Agriculture and Industries shall dispose of the estrayed animal by sale as provided in subsection (c) of this section. If the owner of the estrayed animal files a claim for return of the animal with the Department of Agriculture and Industries within a 15 day period and satisfactorily establishes his claim of ownership, the Department of Agriculture and Industries shall direct the seizor to return the animal to such owner upon payment to the seizor the actual cost for keeping the animal and the amount he may have suffered as actual damages by reason of the animal being upon his premises. The owner shall also pay to the Department of Agriculture and Industries the actual cost of publication of the estray notice.

(c) In the event no claim is filed with the Department of Agriculture and Industries within a 15 day period after notice and publication, the animal shall be delivered or caused to be delivered by the Department of Agriculture and Industries to the nearest public livestock market where the animal shall be sold. The proceeds received by the livestock market from the sale of the estrayed animal shall be applied to the costs of the sale, publication of the newspaper notice and to satisfy the seizor's lien for keeping the animal and any damages he may have suffered, if any; provided, however, that the total sum paid to the seizor for keep of the animal and damages, if any, shall not exceed 25 percent of the proceeds of the sale after deducting the sales commission, hauling charge and advertising expense. The remainder of the proceeds of the sale of the estrayed animal shall be held by the livestock market in trust for payment to the owner, in the event such owner establishes his right of ownership with the Department of Agriculture and Industries. If the owner fails to establish his right thereto within 90 days from the date of sale, the remainder of the sale price shall be paid by the livestock market to the Department of Agriculture and Industries for deposit in the State Treasury to the credit of the Agricultural Fund. No amounts shall be disbursed under this subsection by the livestock market unless approval in writing is given by the Department of Agriculture and Industries.

(Acts 1959, No. 258, p. 821, 4.)