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Wisconsin

West's Wisconsin Statutes Annotated. Police Regulations. Chapter 170. Strays and Lost Chattels.

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: W. S. A. 170.01 - 12

Citation: WI ST 170.01 - 12


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 10/2013

Summary:   These statutes comprise Wisconsin's lost property provisions.


Statute in Full:

 

170.01. Who may take up strays

170.02. Finder to give notice; penalty

170.03. Appraisal

170.04. Charges for keeping

170.05. Sale of stray

170.06. Removal of stray; neglect to give notice, etc.

170.065. Exemption

170.07. Lost chattels, notice

170.08. Notice and appraisal

170.09. Restitution

170.10. Payment to town

170.105. Chattels found by public officials, employees or agents

170.11. Penalty for neglect

170.12. Sunken logs on submerged state lands [text omitted]

 

 

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.

Source:
R.S.1849, c. 36, § 1.
R.S.1858, c. 43, § 1.
L.1869, c. 54.
R.S.1878, § 1608.
St.1898, § 1608.
L.1923, c. 291, § 3.
St.1923, § 170.01.
1993 Act 482, § 118, eff. June 11, 1994.
 

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).

Source:
R.S.1849, c. 36, §§ 2, 3.
R.S.1858, c. 43, §§ 2, 3.
L.1869, c. 54.
R.S.1878, § 1609.
St.1898, § 1609.
L.1923, c. 291, § 3.
St.1923, § 170.02.
L.1965, c. 252, § 182.
1993 Act 482, § 119, eff. June 11, 1994.
1997 Act 254, § 20, eff. June 19, 1998.
 

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.

Source:
R.S.1849, c. 36, § 4.
R.S.1858, c. 43, § 4.
L.1869, c. 54.
R.S.1878, § 1610.
St.1898, § 1610.
L.1923, c. 291, § 3.
St.1923, § 170.03.
L.1945, c. 110.
L.1967, c. 276, § 39, eff. Jan. 13, 1968.
L.1969, c. 87, § 21, eff. July 15, 1969.
1989 Act 56, § 258, eff. Nov. 16, 1989.
 

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.

Source:
R.S.1849, c. 36, §§ 5, 6.
R.S.1858, c. 43, §§ 5, 6.
L.1869, c. 54.
R.S.1878, § 1611.
St.1898, § 1611.
L.1923, c. 291, § 3.
St.1923, § 170.04.
L.1945, c. 110.
L.1967, c. 276, §§ 39, 40, eff. Jan. 13, 1968.
L.1969, c. 87, § 22, eff. July 15, 1969.
L.1977, c. 449, § 236, eff. Aug. 1, 1978.
1989 Act 56, § 258, eff. Nov. 16, 1989.
 

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.

Source:
R.S.1849, c. 36, § 7.
R.S.1858, c. 43, § 7.
L.1869, c. 54.
L.1874, c. 167.
R.S.1878, § 1612.
St.1898, § 1612.
L.1923, c. 291, § 3.
St.1923, § 170.05.
L.1969, c. 87, § 23, eff. July 15, 1969.
L.1969, c. 241, § 28, eff. Dec. 3, 1969.
S.Ct. Order, dated Feb. 17, 1975, eff. Jan. 1, 1976.
L.1975, c. 218, § 18, eff. April 23, 1976.
 

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.

Source:
R.S.1849, c. 36, §§ 8, 9.
R.S.1858, c. 43, §§ 8, 9.
L.1869, c. 54.
R.S.1878, § 1613.
St.1898, § 1613.
L.1923, c. 291, § 3.
St.1923, § 170.06.
1993 Act 482, § 120, eff. June 11, 1994.
 

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.

Source:
1997 Act 192, § 6, eff. Dec. 1, 1999.

 

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.

Source:

R.S.1849, c. 36, § 10.
R.S.1858, c. 43, § 10.
R.S.1878, § 1614.
St.1898, § 1614.
L.1923, c. 291, § 3.
St.1923, § 170.07.
1991 Act 206, § 4, eff. May 5, 1992.
1995 Act 263, § 1, eff. May 7, 1996.

 

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.

Source:

R.S.1849, c. 36, § 11.
R.S.1858, c. 43, § 11.
R.S.1878, § 1615.
St.1898, § 1615.
L.1923, c. 291, § 3.
St.1923, § 170.08.
L.1945, c. 110.
L.1965, c. 252, § 183.
L.1967, c. 276, § 39, eff. Jan. 13, 1968.
L.1969, c. 87, § 24, eff. July 15, 1969.
1989 Act 56, § 190, eff. Nov. 16, 1989.
1991 Act 206, § 5, eff. May 5, 1992.
1995 Act 263, § 2, eff. May 7, 1996.

 

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.

Source:

R.S.1849, c. 36, § 12.
R.S.1858, c. 43, § 12.
R.S.1878, § 1616.
St.1898, § 1616.
L.1923, c. 291, § 3.
St.1923, § 170.09.
1991 Act 206, § 6, eff. May 5, 1992.
1995 Act 263, § 3, eff. May 7, 1996.

 

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.

Source:

R.S.1849, c. 36, § 13.
R.S.1858, c. 43, § 13.
R.S.1878, § 1617.
St.1898, § 1617.
L.1923, c. 291, § 3.
St.1923, § 170.10.
1991 Act 206, § 7, eff. May 5, 1992.
1995 Act 263, § 4, eff. May 7, 1996.

 

170.105. Chattels found by public officials, employees or agents

(1) Notwithstanding ss. 170.07 and 170.08, if an official, employee or agent of the state or of a county, city, village or town finds $25 or more or any goods having a value of at least $25 while acting within the scope of his or her official duties, employment or agency, he or she shall transfer custody of the found money or goods to the agency in the city, village or town where the money or goods were found that is designated by the city, village or town governing body to receive found money or goods. That agency shall post a notice of the found money or goods in 2 public places in the city, village or town.

(2) If the owner of lost money or goods appears within 90 days after the notice is posted under sub. (1) and makes out his or her right to the found money or goods, he or she shall have restitution of the money or goods or the value of the money or goods upon paying all of the costs and charges on the money or goods. If no owner of lost money or goods appears within 90 days after the notice is posted under sub. (1), the found money or goods become the property of the state or county, city, village or town whose official, employee or agent found the lost money or goods.

1998 Main Volume

Source:
1995 Act 263, § 5, eff. May 7, 1996.
1999 Act 185, § 193(1), eff. Sept. 1, 2000.

 

170.11. Penalty for neglect

Except as provided in s. 170.12, if the finder of lost money or goods having a value of $3 or more fails to give notice of the found money or goods or otherwise to comply with the provisions of ss. 170.07 to 170.10, the finder shall be liable for the full value of the money or goods, one-half to the use of the town and the other half to the person who sues for the full value, and shall also be responsible to the owner for the money or goods.

Source:
R.S.1849, c. 36, § 14.
R.S.1858, c. 43, § 14.
R.S.1878, § 1618.
St.1898, § 1618.
L.1923, c. 291, § 3.
St.1923, § 170.11.
1991 Act 206, § 8, eff. May 5, 1992.
 
 


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