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Rhode Island

West's General Laws of Rhode Island Annotated. Title 4. Animals and Animal Husbandry. Chapter 14. Damage by Animals

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: Gen. Laws, 1956, 4-14-1 - 20

Citation: RI ST 4-14-1 - 20


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 12/2013

Summary:   This chapter deals with responsibilities and liability for livestock at large. No horse, bull, boar, ram, or goat shall be permitted to run at large and if the owner or keeper of these, for any reason suffers any animals to do so he or she shall upon conviction be fined not in excess of one hundred dollars ($100) and be liable in addition for all damages done by the animal while so at large. The chapter also specifies procedures for impounding animals found at large.


Statute in Full:

§ 4-14-1. Animals at large-Civil liability-Penalty

§ 4-14-2. Animals breaking into enclosure-Action for damages-Impoundment

§ 4-14-3. Appraisal of damages for recovery by impoundment

§ 4-14-4. Notice to owner of impoundment

§ 4-14-5. Sale of impounded animals

§ 4-14-6. Disposition of proceeds of sale

§ 4-14-7. Feeding of impounded animals-Collection of fees

§ 4-14-8. Impoundment fees

§ 4-14-9. Action for damages after impounded animals returned to owner

§ 4-14-10. Replevin to recover impounded animals

§ 4-14-11. Procedure in replevin

§ 4-14-12. Replevin bond

§ 4-14-13. Judgment in replevin

§ 4-14-14. Disposition of replevied animals returned to defendant

§ 4-14-15. Judgment for plaintiff in replevin 

§ 4-14-16. Appeal in replevin

§ 4-14-17. Actions beyond jurisdiction of district court

§ 4-14-18. Appraisal in action for damages against owner of animals

§ 4-14-19. Right of action where animals break division fence

§ 4-14-20. Use of the terms owner or guardian

 

§ 4-14-1. Animals at large--Civil liability--Penalty

No horse, bull, boar, ram, or goat shall be permitted to run at large and if the owner or keeper of these, for any reason suffers any animals to do so he or she shall upon conviction be fined not in excess of one hundred dollars ($100) and be liable in addition for all damages done by the animal while so at large, although the animal escapes without the fault of the owner or keeper. The construction of any lawful fence shall not relieve the owner or keeper from liability for any damage committed by an animal of the enumerated class upon the enclosed premises of an adjoining owner.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1954, ch. 3317, § 1; P.L. 1974, ch. 231, § 1.

 

§ 4-14-2. Animals breaking into enclosure--Action for damages--Impoundment

If any neat-cattle, horses, sheep, or hogs breaks through a lawful fence into the enclosure of any person, the person aggrieved may recover his or her damages either by action against the owner of the trespassing beasts or by impounding the beasts.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 1; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 1; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 1; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 1.


§ 4-14-3. Appraisal of damages for recovery by impoundment

The party aggrieved, in order to be entitled to recover damages by impounding, shall, within two (2) days after the beasts break into his or her enclosure, get two (2) qualified electors of the city or town where the trespass is committed, to appraise the damage and give a statement, in writing, under their hands, and lodge the statement with the poundkeeper.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 2; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 2; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 2; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 2.


§ 4-14-4. Notice to owner of impoundment

Whenever beasts are impounded, the poundkeeper shall, within forty-eight (48) hours, give notice, in writing, to the owner, if the owner is known to him or her and resides within six (6) miles from the pound. The notice shall be delivered to the owner or left at his or her place of abode, and shall contain a description of the beasts and a statement of the time and cause of impounding and in case the owner is not known, or resides more than six (6) miles from the pound, the person impounding shall post the notice in three (3) public places in the town in which the beasts are impounded.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 3; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 3; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 3; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 3.


§ 4-14-5. Sale of impounded animals

If the owner of impounded beasts shall not, within ten (10) days after the impounding, pay and satisfy the damages appraised and the charges of impounding and feeding those beasts, or shall not replevy those beasts, the poundkeeper shall cause them to be sold by public auction in the city or town where they are impounded, first advertising the sale by giving personal notice to the owner of the beasts, if he or she be known, and if he or she be not known, by posting notices of the sale at least three (3) days before the sale in three (3) public places in the city or town in which the beasts are impounded.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 4; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 4; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 4; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 4.


§ 4-14-6. Disposition of proceeds of sale

The proceeds of sale, after paying all the damages, costs, and expenses, with the costs of advertising and selling the beasts, shall be paid into the city or town treasury, for the use of the owner of those beasts, if he or she substantiates his or her claim within two (2) years from sale.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 5; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 5; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 5; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 5.


§ 4-14-7. Feeding of impounded animals--Collection of fees

The poundkeeper shall feed the impounded beasts at the charge of the owner, and he or she shall not deliver them to the owner until the owner pays the fees, together with the sum demanded for damages and all other legal costs and expenses.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 6; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 6; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 6; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 6.


§ 4-14-8. Impoundment fees

The poundkeeper shall be allowed as his or her fee for impounding, for each neat-beast or horse, twenty-five cents (25¢); for each hog or sheep, five cents (5¢); and for each notification set up, or notice given to the owner, twenty-five cents (25¢); and ten cents (10¢) per mile for travel in giving personal notice, to be computed from the pound to the place of service.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 7; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 7; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 7; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 7.


§ 4-14-9. Action for damages after impounded animals returned to owner

If the owner of the impounded beasts within two (2) days after they are impounded, demand of and receive from the poundkeeper those impounded beasts and pay the charges, and if the person impounding has not lodged with the poundkeeper a statement of damages, he or she may have his or her action for those damages, provided he or she performs all the requisitions and proceedings mentioned in § 4-14-3.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 8; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 8; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 8; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 8.


§ 4-14-10. Replevin to recover impounded animals

Any person whose beasts are impounded may, if he or she sees cause, maintain a writ of replevin, to be sued out and prosecuted before the district court having jurisdiction in the city or town where they were impounded.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 9; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 9; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 9; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 9.


§ 4-14-11. Procedure in replevin

The writ shall be sued out, served and returned, and the cause heard and determined in like manner as other civil actions before a district court in all particulars in which a different course is not prescribed.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 10; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 10; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 10; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 10.


§ 4-14-12. Replevin bond

The writ shall not be served unless the plaintiff or some one in his or her behalf executes and delivers to the officer a bond to the defendant, with sufficient sureties, to be approved by the officer, in a penalty double the value of the beasts to be replevied, with condition to prosecute the replevin to final judgment and to pay any damages and costs as the defendant shall recover against him or her, and also to return the beasts in case that is the final judgment, which bond the officer shall return with the writ, to be left with the court for the use of the defendant.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 11; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 11; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 11; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 11.

 

§ 4-14-13. Judgment in replevin

If it appears that the beasts were lawfully impounded, the defendant shall have judgment for any sum as shall be found due from the plaintiff for the damages for which the beasts were impounded, together with all the legal fees, costs, charges, and expenses and the costs of the action of replevin, or instead of this judgment the court may, in its discretion, enter judgment for a return of the beasts to the defendant, to be held by him or her irrepleviable by the plaintiff and for defendant's damage for the taking by the replevin and for his or her costs of suit. In case the plaintiff in replevin shall not enter his or her suit in replevin, the defendant may file his or her complaint before the court and have judgment against the plaintiff as provided.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 12; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 12; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 12; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 12.


§ 4-14-14. Disposition of replevied animals returned to defendant

Whenever the beasts are returned to the defendant pursuant to a judgment under § 4-14-13, they shall be held and disposed of in like manner as if they had not been replevied.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 13; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 13; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 13; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 13.


§ 4-14-15. Judgment for plaintiff in replevin

If it appears, upon the default of the defendant or otherwise, that the beasts were taken without sufficient or justifiable cause, the plaintiff shall have judgment for his or her damages caused by the unjust taking and detaining of the beasts, and for his or her costs of suit.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 14; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 14; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 14; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 14.


§ 4-14-16. Appeal in replevin

Either party may, in the district court, claim an appeal in the action brought pursuant to § 4-14-13, in the same manner and with the same effect as is by law provided in other civil actions in a district court.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 1929, ch. 1331, § 4.

 

 4-14-17. Actions beyond jurisdiction of district court

Whenever the sum demanded for damages exceeds five thousand dollars ($5,000) or whenever the ownership in the beasts is in question and their value exceeds that sum, the action shall be brought before the superior court for the same county, and whenever this fact appears of record or in evidence in any action brought in the district court, the district court shall proceed no further; but shall certify the action to the superior court for that county, which shall proceed to try the action as if it had originally been brought there.

CREDIT(S)

Court & Practice Act (1905), § 1124; P.L. 1929, ch. 1331, § 4; P.L. 1969, ch. 239, § 47.

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 16; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 16; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 16; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 16.


§ 4-14-18. Appraisal in action for damages against owner of animals

If the aggrieved person proceeds by action against the owner or keeper of the trespassing beasts, he or she shall get two (2) disinterested inhabitants of the city or town where the trespass was committed to appraise the damages and to give him or her a certificate, in writing, under their hands, which certificate shall be attached to his or her writ and makes an essential part of the writ; and under no circumstances shall he or she recover from the defendant in the action, unless the appraisal and certificate are made within ten (10) days after the time the trespass was committed, nor then to a greater amount of damages than the amount named in the certificate.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 17; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 17; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 17; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 17.


§ 4-14-19. Right of action where animals break division fence

Nothing in this chapter contained shall be construed as to impair the right of any proprietor or occupant of land to recover all the damages which he or she sustains by any cattle, sheep, horses, or hogs breaking into his land through that part of the division fence between him or her and the adjoining owner which it is the right and duty of that adjoining owner to repair, if that part of the division fence at the time is out of repair or not conformable to law.

CREDIT(S)

Codifications: G.L. 1896, ch. 129, § 18; G.L. 1909, ch. 155, § 18; G.L. 1923, ch. 185, § 18; G.L. 1938, ch. 642, § 18.

 

§ 4-14-20. Use of the terms owner or guardian 

Wherever the word “owner” shall appear in this chapter it shall also mean and may be interchanged with the word “guardian” as defined in § 4-1-1.

CREDIT(S)

P.L. 2001, ch. 72, § 7.

 

 



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