Section 3-5-12

Proceedings for recovery of livestock or animal by owner; determination of validity of seizure, amount of damages, etc., where owner unknown, etc.; fees and costs of district court judge and officer making seizure; appeals from judgment of district court.

(a) The owner of any livestock or animal which has been seized shall have the right to possession of the same by paying such judgment and the costs thereof or, if no judgment has been entered, by paying such damages as may be agreed upon together with fees and costs and expenses due on account of such seizure to the person or officer so seizing such livestock or animal or to the person who may at the time of such payment have such livestock or animal in his possession and by paying to the court the costs of the court incurred to the time of such payment.

Should the parties be unable to agree upon the amount of damages, fees, costs and expenses due, either party shall have the right to go before any district court judge within the county where said livestock or animal is seized or taken up and have the issue tried after first giving the opposite party one day's notice thereof on the day following or as soon thereafter as may be practicable on a written statement or complaint setting forth in substance the facts of such seizure, and said issue shall involve the validity of such seizure and the amount of damages, fees, costs and expenses under the provisions of this chapter and the judgment of the district court judge shall have all the force and effect of a judgment in any other civil action and shall be executed in the same manner as any other judgment of a district court is enforced. When the owner of such livestock or animal so taken up gives bond in double value of the same, payable to the person so taking up said property and approved by the district court judge before whom the proceedings are pending, conditioned to deliver such property to the constable or other legal officer having the right of execution or order of sale within five days after such judgment to satisfy such judgment as to damages and costs, such livestock or animal shall be released to the owner.

If upon the trial it is shown that the owner of said livestock or animal tendered to the plaintiff full and fair compensation for damages before the institution of the action and such party pays the same into court, then the action shall be dismissed at the cost of plaintiff. On the trial of such issues the party taking up such livestock or animal shall be the plaintiff in the action.

If such livestock or animal is taken up upon the public lands, highways, roads or streets in the State of Alabama by any member of the state highway patrol or by the sheriff of any county or the constable of any precinct or by the law enforcement officer of any municipality, such livestock or animal shall be released to its owner upon the payment of the fee of $1.00 to the officer taking up such animal or the additional fee as provided in Section 3-5-5, together with damages, if any, suffered by any person, which shall be paid to such person and the actual cost of feeding such livestock or animal during the period held by such officer or by any person acting in behalf of himself or under the direction of such officer. Upon such payment being made there shall be prepared a receipt in duplicate on forms prepared by the Attorney General of the State of Alabama, one copy of which shall be delivered to the owner upon payment of such fee, costs and damages, if any, and one copy of which shall be retained by the officer to whom payment is made. At the time of delivering such livestock or animal to the owner, the owner shall be furnished with an itemized account of the damage done, if any, and of the cost of keeping such livestock or animal during such detention and a duplicate of such statement and a statement of the amount collected shall be retained by the officer to whom payment is made; provided, that the amount for keeping and feeding shall not exceed the actual cost of feeding and caring for such livestock or animal and, in no case shall exceed $.50 per day per head.

(b) In case the owner is unknown or, if known, cannot be located, the judge of the district court shall determine the validity of the seizure and the amount of damages, fees, costs and expenses under the provisions of this chapter from such evidence as shall be adduced before him.

(c) From any judgment entered by the judge of the district court under the provisions of this chapter an appeal may be taken to the circuit court in such county within 14 days from the entry of such judgment or denial of a post trial motion, whichever is later, in the same manner as appeals are taken from judgments of the district court in other cases.

(Acts 1939, No. 368, p. 487; Code 1940, T. 3, 88.)